Almost everyone knows that a good PR cycle starts with excellent press releases: Understanding the details of the event/story, then finding the hook – the part that is interesting, that makes it a GOOD story. If you craft a really tight press release, it will capture the interest of the media, and all you do is sit back is wait to see your story on the front page of the paper or the morning show, right?
Um, not so much.
Before, after, and in between those excellent news releases, you should be engaged in Media Relations, which means building mutually respectful relationships with the PEOPLE in the media. Doing for them the same things you do for customers or clients or friends: little things that make their work lives easier and more pleasant.
Once you’ve hooked a reporter, follow up quickly when asked and jump in to coordinate interviews or brainstorm ideas for a “fatter” story. Chase down b-roll or stills, and send them properly formatted. Make sure that people, products, or places are available – you might need keys or permission for shoots scheduled off-hours or on secured sites. Make sure broadcast vans have close-in parking and any permits necessary. Arrive early to reassure clients, keep everyone on message, and help out with any last-minute needs. I once entertained the 6-year-old nephew of an interviewee whose babysitter cancelled last minute!
Afterward, when the piece appears, even if it’s not exactly what you’d hoped for, thank the reporter for their time and the coverage. Then, just stay in touch – and not just when you have something to “sell” them.
Media Relations is being present and actively helping media partners. It’s building relationships with other human beings and making everyone look good.
And, of course, it’s about telling a good story.
Layer Cake Creative is a strategic marketing agency specializing in communications, design, publicity and online marketing that enrich your brand and support your strategic and sales goals. This Denver marketing firm specializes in promoting professional services such as architecture, construction, engineering, law, finance, and real estate.
Bonnie Roman is Layer Cake’s non-profit marketing and publicity specialist. She maintains close relationships with the media that yield excellent story placements, and she further helps non-profit clients effectively “toot their own horn” using promotional tools such as media kits, sponsorship packages, and newsletters.