Media relations can be defined as the process of building and maintaining positive relations of a company or organization with the media. The result of these activities is the creation of links with journalists and editors, and then passing on information that will reach important target groups in the company through them. In principle, this relationship is beneficial for both parties. The journalist gains easy access to information, expert commentary and other materials, and the company has the desired publicity and opportunity to appear in relevant titles. In a strict sense, media can be newspapers, magazines, radio, television and publications in the internet.
But one can ask whether formats such as blogs or YouTube channels of influencers also belong to this definition. Or do they form a discipline of their own? But that is not the point of the media relations definition here.
Media relations services communicate a newsworthy message, story or information addressing the appropriate media outlets. To do this successfully you need experience, knowledge, time and resources. There are countless contents and formats for media relations. However, it’s crucially important to work with and not against the media. Dialogue and the development of a strong relationship with the media will provide an organization or company with invaluable access to the public domain.
And this is the point: media relations are a powerful tool for influencing and changing the behaviour of your target group. As opposed to more direct forms of communications, such as advertising or direct marketing, it is more credible, because your contents are communicated via a third-party channel.
When is media relations needed?
Media relations is a PR tool that can effectively support the development of a company at almost any stage. It will help build brand recognition in a new market or strengthen its expert position in the eyes of the recipients to whom it is already known. Product information or test arrangement will in turn provide direct support for the marketing and sales department. Proper relations with the media are invaluable also during crisis situations. The journalists’ trust in the brand will give it a chance to present its point of view even in difficult situations.
In this respect, media relations is an essential service for any business, brand or organization looking to increase or manage its visibility in the media. Media relations agencies liaise closely with print, broadcast and online journalists in order to inform their readers or audiences of any relevant news from their clients.
Unlike paid-for advertising or other elements of marketing, media relations can be entirely focused upon achieving positive third-party endorsements from influential journalists and trusted media outlets.
The most successful media relations strategies are rooted in the development of genuinely newsworthy stories and effective editorial engagement. And while debates rage within the PR industry on how to measure the value to a client of a media relations campaign, the true value of earned media comes from the editorial integrity that is associated with an independent journalist or publication endorsing a client’s service, product or brand values.
Media relations tactics and activities
At the end of the day, the selection of the right media relations services is the decisive factor for success. Even though media relations best practices exist, each media relations campaign and each media relations tactic needs to be reviewed and adapted to each individual case. It’s a known fact that industries tick differently and their priorities differ. And even within an industry it is imperative to consider that a story is told differently depending on the channel, and by extension, very differently by blog, news release, tweet or other medium.
Our services include forging long term positive media relations; providing press office services; developing and distributing press releases; global media outreach; media relations training for in-house teams; dealing with fake news; training you to handle the press and make public announcements; managing press trips; and media monitoring, among others.
Developing the right media relations strategy
A media relations strategy is the planned deployment of activities, content and resources involving journalists and media outlets, to tell an organisation’s story. It is the process of coming up with a message and disseminating it to the right media sources – clearly both online and offline – to reach the target market. A strong media relations strategy will ensure that your message will get across to the right media with access to the people you need to reach and affected.
In today’s rapidly changing environment legacy mainstream journalism is challenged by the rise of individual operators on Twitter and other social media-driven platforms. Equally, post-Covid-19, mainstream media have themselves been forced to adapt to unprecedented changes both in the way they operate and in the way readers and consumers respond to them. Effective media strategies need to adapt to this new media context and be able to exploit what are fast-evolving developments.
Who need a media relation?
All organisations need effective media relations sooner or later, depending on their industry, type of activities and other considerations. Media relations can help increase an organisation’s visibility, provide useful information to the public, help promote its message and values and / or help ameliorate a potential reputation issue. A positive relationship with journalists can also help organisations consolidate their image as industry experts.
How is pricing determined?
The scope of our activities and their price depends on your needs and the effects you want to achieve. Media relations can mean both one-off actions as well as long-term, strategy-based campaigns. Each offer and valuation is prepared individually, after careful consideration. We work transparently and seek client approval for any budgets prior to starting work.
What are the most powerful tactics, tools and services for successful campaigns?
Strategy and story must work in tandem. The implementation via tactics, tools and services then needs an individual approach. And this is where we believe creativity becomes especially important – not all media relations agencies keep up with the times.
What industries do you focus on?
Because we are a group of agencies, rather than one agency with offices in various countries, we’re practically covering every possible industry out there. But we do excel in a number of industries which are particularly large in the Western Europe and East Asia. Automotive, aviation, B2B tech, consumer & lifestyle, energy & Cleantech, Fintech & financial services, food & drink are but a few that we can comfortably cover.
How do you measure the results for media relations campaigns?
Measuring results is of central importance in order to determine the return of investment (ROI). To be able to rate and evaluate results, we first define goals together with our customers. And, of course, we are familiar with – and make generous use of – relevant tools for monitoring and reporting for the digital campaigns we run.
Does media relations make sense if I conduct paid marketing activities?
Definitely, yes. Media relations activities can support your marketing and sales objectives or perform a completely different function and, for example, strengthen the position of experts by arranging their interviews or comments. It is also often the case that the effect of media relations are publications for which you would have to pay a lot of money through marketing and, after a long-term action, the journalists come to you with a request for a comment themselves.
What is the difference between media relations and public relations?
Generally speaking, public relations refers to a broad set of activities, skills and knowledge involving multiple disciplines, formats and media, whereas media relations focuses on the relationship of a brand with journalists, bloggers and information power houses. We employ public relations for everything from branding to digital marketing and reputation management, but we use media relations to ensure a brand’s voice and message reaches the right audience using offline and online media.
In short, public relations uses multiple channels to generate public exposure, media relations uses one — the media.
For how long does a media relations campaign normally runs for?
There is no standard response here. The duration of a media relations campaign can depend on numerous factors. What needs to be communicated? What are the objectives? Who is the target audience? What is the allocated budget etc. But one thing is clear: we do aim for quick success as well as for sustainable impact.
What are some of the biggest challenges for media relations campaigns?
Again, there can be no definite answer here. Media relations should follow a strategy. Only if there is a strategy and goals, only if processes and responsibilities are clearly defined, media relations can be implemented consequently, consistently and successfully. The role is media relations is, after all, to create a positive relationship of a brand with the media, but only insofar as it fulfills the end-goal, which is to reach the right audience with the right message.
There’s an art and a science to be able to do media relations to a level where the experience for the user is enhanced based on the expectations created or the perceived value.
So lacking a coherent strategy, lacking genuinely useful content, lacking the right tone of message and the necessary knowledge to make your service known can definitely be challenges for a large number of companies.
What is the modern PR industry ?
Media relations has always been an essential part of public relations. Whether it’s improving brand visibility, media planning, issuing & distributing press releases or pitching journalists with stories, Media relations services can provide exceptional with local teams but at a global scale.
The modern PR industry has grown and developed from a singular application of media relations and publicity campaigns into a much broader focus on paid, earned, shared and owned content. Yet it is achieving highly valuable earned content for clients through successful media relations campaigns that remains one of the core functions of contemporary public relations.