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How Your Business Can Communicate Successfully with the Media

07 August, 2013

Pitching the media and developing a close relationship with media contacts is a skill that takes time to develop. You might fail many times in trying to foster closer media relations, but keep in mind that every mistake is a trial and error that gets you closer to finding a media relations campaign that does work. Most businesses realize the importance of tapping into the potential of their customers and the public through the use of public relations campaigns. However many businesses don't realize that they are missing out by not having a targeted and separate media relations campaign, designed to foster contacts with media outlets specifically, rather than the general public. The general idea of media relations is the same as public relations: to build a positive image and identity for your company and your brand. However, the approach is unique.

Media Relations is a Two Way Street

It is far too easy to get yourself caught up in focusing almost exclusively on what you want for your business. Of course you want loyal customers, a positive image, and lots of media coverage. So does every other single business out there. If you want to set yourself apart and catch the attention of either the public or the media, what you need to do is ask yourself what they want. Thinking of things from their perspective will help you catch their attention and hopefully set yourself apart from your competitors. If you only focus on the things that you want, you will never get the attention of any journalists.

What Are They Looking For?

Journalists and all media contacts essentially want the same thing. They are extremely busy people trying to find the next big scoop for a story or publication. Don't waste their time with stories that aren't worth writing about. They want newsworthy, interesting, and content-rich information. If it isn't something that is worth sharing or writing about, then you shouldn't waste their time pitching it to them. Furthermore, you should make sure that you are pitching the right stories to the right groups. If a publication has never written anything like the story or press release you are giving to them, then they are probably not the best fit for this particular pitch. Considering their interests ahead of your own is a great way to open the door to a long term relationship that benefits both you and them.

Customize Your Pitch

Once you are sure that you've got a story worth pitching, you should take the time to make sure you are approaching the right media contact in the right way. Do your research and find out what type of stories your journalism contacts typically write about, and don't stray too far outside their area of expertise. Your goal is to create an interesting pitch that will catch their attention. Everyone in the journalism industry receives many pitches and calls about stories that they just aren't interested in. Try to do your homework first and give them a pitch that shows that you understand their preferences and their needs. Not every pitch you make will be a success, but you will find your success rate will be much higher when you make targeted pitches based on an understanding of what your media contacts are looking for.

Media relations is largely a process of trial and error. You have to learn what strategies work and what strategies flop. However, if you can take the time to develop a close relationship with several journalists or reporters, you will have an amazing asset on your side that can help your business receive plenty of positive media attention.

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