Daily Archives: December 1, 2017

Basics of Media Relations: The Bread & Butter of PR

By: Abby Cousineau

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The role of a PR practitioner has changed so much over the years, but one responsibility that has always remained ours is media relations. Media relations is the “bread and butter” of PR and has been our specialty since the days of Edward Bernays. While our jobs have certainly evolved to include various responsibilities associated with social media, marketing and advertising, we are still the ones responsible for earning space in the media.

Since media relations is so vital, we wanted to learn more, and we brought in an expert to teach us. Last month, Chris Austin, senior account executive at Identity Public Relations, ran a workshop about media relations for us. We learned about what media relations is and the role of the PR practitioner in the process. Here are the key highlights from Chris’ workshop:

The media room is shrinking every day. There is less money and reporters have more work to do than they did in the past. Reporters rely on media relations specialists to provide accurate and interesting information and story ideas.

While social efforts often grab most the attention today, the media is still important. The media provides thee important things to clients:

  1. Visibility/awareness
  2. Credibility
  3. Relationships

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Many different types of media coverage exist. Each client is different and may require unique media coverage to tell their story. You can learn more about the different types of coverage here. Some examples include:

  • Bylined column
  • Expert Source
  • Executive or company profile
  • In-studio TV or radio guest
  • On-site TV guest
  • Brief/press release pick-up

Pitching is how we give reporters story ideas. Pitching is usually done through email and is concise, interesting and informative. Chris offered the following tips for what the media looks for in a pitch:

  • Newsworthy content
  • Interesting to the reporter
  • A story their readers will want to read
  • Provides useful information
  • A story that can be written by their deadline
  • A story that applies to a broad spectrum of readers, listeners or viewers

And finally, he summarized what the news actually is:

  • Timely
  • Relevant
  • Useful/impactful
  • Controversial
  • Unusual

Are you interested in media relations? Did you think this summary was helpful? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

Abby Cousineau is a senior at EMU majoring in public relations and minoring in graphic design and marketing. She is currently serving as president of EMU PRSSA and is excited to be leading such a creative and dedicated group of individuals. You can usually find Abby outside anytime the weather is nice or otherwise spending her time behind a computer screen, working on one of her design projects. Connect with Abby on Instagram @abcattt.
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