How-To Begin Building Media Relations
The relationships you build with journalists and members of the media can be invaluable to your business growth and success.
Being in a position where the coverage opportunities come to you, where journalists are reaching out asking for your comment, your perspective on stories that are relevant to you and your business is kinda living the dream, right?
But it can feel like a distant dream, and nothing like reality when you’re first considering media engagement for your business.
As a solopreneur, with all the hats that you wear, something that feels overwhelming and more than a little intimidating is so easy to push to the bottom of the ‘to-do’ list, right?
BUT! Starting to build your media relationships doesn’t have to be scary. Here are 3 straightforward steps to help you find your media mojo.
STEP 1 – BUILD YOUR CONTACT LIST
To identify perfect-for-you media targets you need to ask yourself why you want the media coverage in the first place? I mean it’s always nice to see your name in lights, but let’s take it a bit deeper and look at some solid business outcomes.
Media coverage is an awesome way of reaching and connecting with your ideal clients/customers. It can increase your brand awareness, pump-up consideration and drive traffic to your properties, both physical and online.
It’s also a credibility booster – positioning you as a thought leader and authority in your industry, adding to your ‘social proof’ and lending veracity to your content and messages.
When you pick the right media target your coverage will deliver both of these results and the key is in knowing your ideal client/customer is.
Chances are, you’ll be able to rattle off a few magazines, online news sites, podcasts and other media outlets that your ideal client/customer would listen to without too much trouble. And that’s the best place to start.
Start by brainstorming those media outlets onto a piece of paper, then use these as a starting point and do some good old Google research to continue building your media list.
STEP 2 - DO YOUR RESEARCH
Once you’ve got a list of targeted media outlets you want to identify who, within that outlet, you’re best reaching out to.
Look at recent content they’ve published on your media angles – the topics or themes you focus on within your business. (If you’re not sure what your media angles are check out these previous posts – 3 Easy Steps to Kick-Start your PR, Nobody Cares about your Business)
Take note of who is writing about those topics, if one name pops up again and again then chances are that journo is going to be a great person for you to connect with.
This is a double investment in your time, because getting really familiar with your target media outlet is invaluable when it comes to creating your media assets and your pitch. The more tailored and targeted to that specific media outlet you can be, e.g using the same kind of tone, language, writing style and format that they prefer, the easier it is for the journalist or producer to say ‘Yes’ to your pitch.
STEP 3 - DO SOME MORE RESEARCH
It sounds so dry, I know, but research and being prepared really are your best friend when it comes to media relations. So once you’ve found a journalist or producer look into them a bit more.
Check out their online profiles, most journos are on Twitter and most are professionally active on there, meaning Twitter is a great place to start getting to know your target journo a little better.
Check out the articles they’re sharing, the topics they’re commenting on. What are they interested in? What have they been working on lately?
This can also be a great opportunity to begin to build a relationship – comment on something they’ve shared, re-Tweet an article they’ve written, start to engage in a casual conversation with them and begin to build a rapport.
HOWEVER – this comes with a giant proviso. If you are going to engage with a journo via social media it MUST be authentic. Do not just comment on anything. You can say ‘I loved this article’ but make sure you’ve actually read it. This is not about brown-nosing or ego boosting, it’s about building a legitimate relationship, which takes open, honest communication.
Establishing and building your media relationships does take time, but it’s a very worthwhile investment and one that can deliver fantastic business results.