Jen Allanson & Kiersten Becht | March 24, 2022
When we talk about a media relations strategy; often, it’s not what you know but who you know.
With earned media, the stakes are high, and competition is fierce. These tips will not only help to improve your media relations, but they may even land you some media coverage, as well.
No matter how punchy your pitch is, a journalist simply wants a good news story. So, what is news? And more importantly, what will a media outlet consider as news? Ask yourself these questions:
If you can craft a story that answers at least one of these questions, you have relevant news.
Before sending a pitch, check the contacts on your media lists and ensure they’re right for the story. Just as the media landscape is ever-changing, so are journalists’ beats and publications.
Due to smaller newsrooms, journalists are covering more news stories than ever before. They’ve got editors to impress, an audience to cater to, and an inbox filled with pitches from well-meaning PR professionals. Before sending a pitch, take a moment to acknowledge their work.
Today’s journalists are spread thin. With so much already on their plates, it isn’t realistic to expect them to respond to every pitch. Hence, following up is a great way to get back on their radar. When following up, aim to add more value to the original pitch. Be it an infographic or a quote from a thought leader, any extra information could be the key to landing earned media.
Nowadays, it seems there’s a holiday for every occasion! Check out the website National Today -- there’s National Sock Monkey Day, National Pizza Day, and Lost Sock Memorial Day, to name a few. These “holidays” serve as a fun excuse to celebrate the little things in life and present the opportunity to create media coverage on an otherwise ordinary day.
It’s one thing to pitch a journalist about how wonderful a product or company is, but it's another to let the facts speak for themselves. Offering to connect the journalist with thought leaders eliminates the need for him or her to inquire about quotes.
Media love to cover trending topics, but from their own angle. Is there a national story that’s trending; but you can offer a local angle? Pitch it! Journalists always welcome an opportunity to add a fresh perspective to a topic that’s already gaining traction.
Magazines plan their content annually, which means an issue is prepared anywhere from 3-6 months in advance. An editorial calendar includes upcoming issue themes, as well as submission deadlines. Staying on top of these deadlines is a foolproof way to make sure you’re pitching your product/service to the right place at the right time.
H.A.R.O., which stands for “Help a Reporter Out,” is a free service that “connects journalists seeking expertise to include in their content with sources who have that expertise.” These emails are a great way to discover media opportunities that directly align with your client’s product or service.
Your hard work paid off and you landed an awesome piece of media coverage. Congrats! Spread the love and reach out to the journalist who featured you. Whether it’s an e-card or snail-mail, gratitude can go a long way. Additionally, share the article and give the journalist a shout-out on your social media channels.
The best way to build media relations is an ever-changing dynamic. What works today may not work tomorrow. What matters most is that you’re open to new ideas and remain hungry to learn each day. Good luck!
Learn more about Falls’ Public Relations strategy services: https://fallsandco.com/services/communications-and-pr-agency
Jen Allanson & Kiersten Becht
Jen Allanson, managing director of the Communications Group at Falls & Co., has for nearly 30 years worked with marketing teams at some of the largest companies in the home and building products arena. She works to provide the best counsel and results for her clients to provide a significant return on their investment, and she will do whatever it takes to make that happen. She effortlessly cultivates relationships and knows that the best client and media connections go beyond marketing and public relations to become true friendships.
Kiersten Becht is an assistant account executive at Falls & Co. She has years of customer service experience and has interned for a public affairs firm, as well as a nonprofit organization. She enjoys writing and is a fervent supporter of the Oxford comma.