This past month, Ketner Group president Catherine Seeds and I had the pleasure of hosting a media relations strategy webinar with SoGal, a global platform for the education and empowerment of diverse entrepreneurs and investors. During this webinar, we provided attendees with key tactics and strategies to consider as they look to launch a media relations program.
- Why businesses across verticals should consider a media relations program
- The value of media coverage
- The key steps to launch a media relations program
The top takeaways:
- Do your research
- Get to know your media targets
- Personalize your conversation with each.
Here are some of the highlights from the webinar:
Why have a media relations program?
A media relations program can drive external awareness for your company through validated third-party sources. Let’s say your company just landed its first round of funding or launched a new product in the market. If you do not tell your story, someone else will.
By creating a media relations program, you have the ability to tell your story to a member of the media community and reach multiple audiences beyond your own network.
What’s more, a media relations program can help bolster your company’s cache among a particular audience. Let’s say your chief data officer is well-versed in a particular technology within the healthcare industry.
You can generate media coverage by having them provide commentary for a relevant story a reporter is working on. Securing exposure for him/her as an expert on related hot button conversations positions your company as trustworthy and informed. Ultimately, it helps elevate your brand recognition and brings a sense that you can solve tough challenges.
Last but not least, a media relations program can build your company’s digital breadcrumbs. Highly relevant coverage helps you to rise through the ranks of engine search algorithms for your business’ key terms.
Tactics for building the program
As you consider creating the program, you must decide whether to run the program in-house or work with a public relations agency. Depending on what path you choose, we always advise that your company dedicate a single in-house lead. That person, often the CMO, can make sure the agency and internal stakeholders work together seamlessly.
When budget is tight or you’re just starting out, there are many easy and free tools available to help. For media opportunities, HARO and Qwoted are two platforms where reporters look for sources for stories they are working on.
As well, Twitter is an important platform to keep in mind. Identify and follow relevant reporters and engage with them regularly. Plus, they often post to Twitter when they need sources for a story. Sometimes even better, Twitter lets you avoid annoying pitches by keeping up with what they vent about.
Three best practices to launch a media relations program
Once you’ve done your research, it’s time to begin. We often advise these top three best practices to get started:
- Identify your target audience
- Identify key conversations you want to drive
- Do your research and build your top 20 list of media contacts and publications you would like to work with
After that, it’s time to begin your outreach and prepare for interviews!
Get to know your media targets
Many attendees emphasized the value of not just tracking journalists, but building an effective relationship with them. Really, the art of media relations is all about differentiating your company in the eyes of the journalist.
Take the time to really personalize your outreach to each of the media members you connect with. And make sure that the story you offer is relevant. We can’t overstate how much this helps you build an effective relationship in the long run.
As Catherine best put it, “nurturing those relationships will always pay off in the end!”
To learn more, download the complete webinar presentation.