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How to do your own media relations on a budget

29Jan Posted by Alex Cook

What is ‘media relations’?

‘Media relations’, a key part of Public Relations, is the process by which your business gains exposure in printed media and online media outlets. This means getting your company, your product/service or spokesperson featured in an article or blog post, to secure a third party endorsement of your company’s actions or expertise.

Why media relations?

Whether your business is ‘B2B’ or ‘B2C’, media endorsement has the potential to boost exposure, influence sentiment, generate sales leads and increase customer conversion and retention. Positive exposure of your company in the media can also help create brand ambassadors out of your employees and customers as they want to promote your business and refer you to others by word of mouth. Remember:

·        Audiences view earned media as the most authentic form of marketing

·        In a PR Newswire study, earned media was rated as "More effective" or "As effective as" paid media by  81% of small firm marketers and 73% of large firms

·        96% of B2B buyers want content with more input from industry thought leaders

Nielsen, 2015

How can you ‘DIY’?

And this doesn’t have to be something you need a big agency to do. In fact when you are starting out, it can be preferable to become self-sufficient in this area so that you can tell your own story; journalists and influencers will see an approach as more authentic coming directly from the source.

The two hardest parts are knowing which media targets to ‘pitch’ ideas for an article or an interview, and how to pitch them.

Who to contact

As so often in life, the best things are free. So it is when it comes to connecting with journalists. ‘Freemium’ resources such as JournoRequests and ResponseEnquiry are available so that you receive daily updates on what stories journalists are writing. An even better way to reach out is to research articles already written in the area you want to be featured in and see what journalists are writing on these topics. Very often you can easily find the contact details for the author of the article on the publication’s website. If you’ve done your research and they seem like a really good fit, it’s not unreasonable to call up the switchboard and ask for the journalist directly.

How to approach them

The most powerful way to connect with the media, once you have the right contacts, is to use your expertise in your field and link it to a wider trend. For example if your business is a property platform start up, being able to provide comment to a journalist on the government’s latest budget and its effect on the housing crisis or an analysis of millennial vs baby boomer home ownership trends with supporting statistics will be of real interest and give you an authoritative voice in your sector. The key is to provide value to the journalist and help them put together a story their readers would read, while softly making mention of your company, product/service or spokesperson.

At its core, media relations comes down to a case of ‘don’t ask, don’t get it’. If you have an interesting story, comment or spokesperson for a journalist and you can articulate why you think it would be of interest to them, you have a very strong chance of being featured in the media.

For a free consultation on how you can tell your own story and build the capacity to do your own PR, contact Tom Clive (tom.clive@sermelo.com) or Alex Cook (alexander.cook@sermelo.com) for more information. We can help develop the press list of contacts for you to approach and give you further guidance on how to conduct media relations in the age of digital storytelling.

Alex Cook
Alex Cook

Alex joined Sermelo in March 2017, having previously worked at the Chatham House. Chatham House engages governments, the private sector, civil society and its members in open debate and confidential discussion on the most significant developments in international affairs. While working there, he gained valuable relationship building skills and developed a nuanced understanding of the needs of corporate clients in guarding against political risk, which feeds directly into his current work in public affairs with Sermelo. Alex graduated from King’s College London with a BA in Classics in 2014. Alex enjoys football (watching and playing), volleyball, reading, theatre and politics.

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