Media Relations - 3 Easy Ways to get on Reporters' Radars

Unlocking the Mystery of Media Relations: 3 Easy Ways to Get on Reporters’ Radars

February 21, 2014by Erin Elliott

I’m no fortune-teller, but let me try to guess a few things about you, dear reader. You work for an organization that would love (LOVE!) to get more positive mentions in the publications and on the websites that your target audiences read. You are never far from a device connecting you to your email. And you get dozens (maybe hundreds) of messages each day. So nine times out of 10, the ones you actually open are from people you know fairly well, like (at least a little!), trust—and who probably add value to either your personal or professional life.

No, it didn’t take a soothsayer or even a rocket scientist to make these generalizations. But do you realize that in describing today’s typical marketing/communication professional, we also solved the mystery of effective media relations? Because guess what? Reporters are actually people too. And busy ones at that. In today’s world, folks working in the media are being asked to do more than ever—but they’re given less time to do it all. That means they need to rely on trusted, credible sources to help them do their jobs. However, it’s tougher than ever for them to find the time to sift through all their messages to determine which ones are coming from people who might fit that bill.

In order to get the reporters you want writing about your organization to give you the kind of attention your brand needs, you first have to get their attention. And just as you are much more likely to open emails from people you know and trust to help you do your job, reporters are doing the exact same thing.

Here are 3 easy ways to excel in media relations and become a meaningful name in the “From” column of a reporter’s inbox:

  1. Follow journalists you may want to pitch on social media. Engage with them. Retweet them. Share their stories and give them credit for their genius. (Everyone loves a public pat-on-the-back!)
  2. Inject some of your personality into your communications with reporters. Remember they are word junkies and love a good twist of phrase, unique insight or witty comment. Obviously use good taste and know your audience, but a great way to get on their radars is to infuse your messages with something outside traditional PR speak.
  3. No one can resist Six Degrees of Separation, so don’t be afraid to name-drop people you have in common. Use your networking skills to find someone you know who has (successfully) connected with this reporter in the recent past—preferably on more than one occasion—and reference them in your subject line.

Not only will this approach help you generate more great coverage about your organization, but you’ll actually have fun doing it as well! As you get to know the work of these writers, you’ll get to know more about them as people too. At that point, they won’t just be intimidating names on a byline. They may actually become your friends. Very influential friends.

That is the power of a relationship. Go unleash it.

Read more with Hiebing PR and Social Media Senior Account Executive Holly Wachtendonk’s tips on Writing for Today’s Media: How to Create Digital-Ready Content.

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