35 Tips for Media Relations

Photo Courtesy of rcbryan.com

PRSSA recently held an informative media panel with guests from Eastern Michigan University, EMU’s radio station-Eagle Radio, AnnArbor.com and a top PR firm. Here are some great tips we were given:

1. Learn how to write for broadcasting. It’s quite helpful when writing a pitch to someone in the radio industry.

2. PR Prospective of Journalism: Remember, when writing a pitch to a journalist, be mindful that they are looking for a news story with good content.

3. Know who your audience is, then pitch to them.

4. If you feel you made a good pitch, feel free to give that reporter a call to follow up.

5. Be respectful when calling reporters. Open with, “Hi, how are you? I have a story you might be interested in. Do you have a minute?”

6. It is cheaper to build relationships with reporters and cater news stories to these individuals than to send mass email pitches to 500 people, get two responses and follow up on the other 498.

7. A minute on the radio is considered a feature. In the radio industry, short and sweet is the best.

8. IMPACT IS EVERYTHING!

9. ALL PRESS RELEASES MUST HAVE: a) impact – negative or positive effect on society, b) something new or innovative, c) a trend or d) human interest.

10. Many companies believe they have a newsworthy story. PR companies have to find a new way to present it, if and only if, it truly isn’t as newsworthy as the companies think.

11. Make pitches individually and rely on good relationships with reporters to make it happen.

12. Adversity happens. Acknowledge the adversity, because the media’s coming.

13. It’s not always major media you need to tailor your story to. (Look up Domino’s scandal and how they used Youtube.)

14. REMEMBER – A cover up is ALWAYS worse than the bad news. Anticipate it. Acknowledge it and get comfortable.

15. Authenticity builds relationships.

16. Personality and how you deal with people play an important part in your success.

17. Be a good person…character really matters.

18. You have to follow through when the media has arrived. Give the reporters photographs to help them do their story (you can give them flash drives if they need it) and any information you feel they need to get their job done.

19. Be a news consumer yourself. By reading what makes news, you will learn how to successfully make your own.

20. When applying for a job interview, you may be asked to pitch a compelling story to an interviewer. It tests how you would act with a member of the media.

21. Three Questions at almost every job interview a) can you do the job, b) will you like the job and c) can you work well with our company culture?

22. Be funny, nice and show you have personality and people WILL notice.

23. For major events, it isn’t surprising that PR people will write bios about members of

Photo Courtesy of allurenewmedia.com

the media who are planning on making an appearance (that way their client is prepared to mingle and make a great first impression).

24. Try to learn and remember the names and faces of each journalist. This will make you look favorable.

25. Follow journalists on Twitter and initiate dialogue with them.

26. Certain journalists refuse to accept goodies, while some do accept them. Know what each journalist is like before embarrassing yourself. Never offer swag to a reporter who fancies him or herself on being a “guardian to the public.”

27. Please don’t put PR related messages and posts on newspaper’s online forums. It makes you and your company look bad.

28. When tweeting about something your client is doing, be sure to identify your ties with them.

29. Remember – damage control is a huge part of PR.

30. Here’s a cool website – reputation.com – it helps you protect your online reputation.

31. Always have a good crisis plan ready and prepared well in advanced. Keep it updated.

32. With crisis management, there is usually a team with members at each level of your company.

33. Independence is Important when it comes to creativity.

34. One of the most important things you need in this industry is the ability to be resilient.

35. STAY ETHICAL!

Scott Mullin
Vice President of Communications
EMU PRSSA
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