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Six Tips for Better Media Relations

Posted by Media Relations on Tuesday, May 29th, 2007 - Comments »

By Bill Arnovich, Media Relations Specialist.

Everyone in public relations knows that good publicity is the best advertising. A well placed article, a positive radio show or the right interview on TV are all what good publicists and media relations people dream about. It’s what clients hire public relations firms for.

When pitching the media, it’s important that you know something about who you are calling. If it’s a magazine read, not simply page through, a couple different issues and if it’s a radio show, listen to it.

I know this sounds simple, like what they teach you in PR 101, but I wish I had a nickel for every time that a News Editor, Producer or Reporter thanked me for doing my homework. I consistently hear from the media that PR folks about media relations people who not only don’t know, but don’t care to know, and simply call to get their pitch out.

Nothing boils the blood of any journalist or beat editor more than unknowledgeable media relations people. You not only hurt your chances of securing media coverage for clients, but you also make it harder for the rest of us who actually prepare themselves before they engage any media pitching assignment. It pays in the long run, and it’s a good practice.

With that in mind, here are 6 tips to building better relationships with the media:

  • Identify who you are and why you are calling.
  • Ask if this is a good time to talk. If it isn’t, ask the reporter to suggest the best time you should call back. Never ask a reporter to return your call. If it is a good time to talk, proceed to the next step.
  • Let the reporter know you are familiar with the publication or with stories she writes about.
  • Explain the idea in a sentence or two.
  • Explain quickly why readers will care.
  • Ask if the reporter is interested.

Following those simple six steps consistently can make all the difference in the world between a productive day and one that ends up empty handed.

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