Companies should welcome and encourage attention from the media. If you aren’t getting press coverage, you should be taking steps to increase your company’s brand visibility.

The process begins with establishing and maintaining good relations with reporters, editors and broadcasters – on and offline. Good media relations are not one-shot events. They are relationships that you carefully build and maintain over time.

Media relations can help your company gain marketplace attention, providing clarity and credibility to help move your customers and prospects to buy your products and services; news stories will reinforce a positive brand image of your company.

The goal of a media relations program is to build business in your markets by creating an image of your company as the best provider of your type of products and services.

Your company can generate a considerable amount of good will, customer loyalty and new business by a proactive, continuing media relations program. To achieve this, you should actively seek media coverage on an ongoing basis, and not wait for reporters to call your business. Under a proactive media relations program, you will initiate contacts with the media on a regular basis.

Media Relations Requires Commitment From Top Management

A proactive program requires the commitment and involvement of top management; they need to be available to the media and cooperate with your public relations (PR) staff or an outside agency in seeking out media opportunities.

A successful media relations program includes routine announcements of personnel changes and promotions, calling attention to community projects, and promoting operations and activities unique to your company. It also requires positioning your company’s top managers as thought leaders in the community and your industry by offering comments and reactions to events that affect your industry and company.

A proactive program will build lasting relationships with reporters and editors, so that they will get in touch with your company when preparing stories and needing an expert opinion.

The key to becoming a reporter’s source of news is to follow these four simple rules. Know –

• The publication, radio station or broadcast network that you are sending information to.
• The reporter who would be the most interested in receiving your information.
• When to call the reporter.
• How to pitch a good story.

Developing a solid and effective media relations plan requires –

• Researching past and current media coverage and public opinion of your company. You need to evaluate the overall market and factors that affect your organization.
• Identifying and developing your goals and objectives for your communication efforts.
• Determining your intended audience and what you want them to know.
• Developing your message before contacting a member of the media. Make sure your message is easily understood, pertinent and motivating.
• Knowing the right media source before you need them; this will allow you to reach your target audience.
• Keeping the press informed of what is happening at your company and supplying information that allows them to write newsworthy content.

Media Relations is a Year-round Responsibility

Good media relations take place year-round with you exchanging and providing relevant and newsworthy information about your company to the media.

You need to measure the results of your communications to determine its effectiveness and any needed improvements. Over time, media coverage and placements will build and create awareness of your company and have a positive effect helping to generate sales.

Developing and carrying out an effective media relations publicity program takes a lot of work, and requires constant attention, measurement and evaluation. Yet, it’s well worth it!