Understanding the current trends in media/press relations in 2020 will help you expand your business reach and visibility. If you want greater exposure and a wider reach for your brand, you must master public relations.
And, in this article, we’re going to teach you how to do just that. We’ll help you understand what we mean by media/press relations, we’ll teach you how to find contacts, build networks, use specialist tools, and finally, we’ll round off with some advice about how to build and maintain these relationships.
What Is Public Relations (PR)?
Public relations is simply the management of a business’s (and sometimes an individual’s, e.g., celebrity’s) relationship with a range of other entities, including other businesses, the general public, and media outlets.
The aim is to create a favourable image of the business in other people’s minds. So, you can liken it to reputation and popularity management.
Businesses that have effective PR campaigns will be more successful than those who don’t. A good PR campaign will outline clearly how the business communicates with outsiders.
In this article, we will be focusing on a specific type of public relations: media/press relations.
What Is Media/Press Relations?
Media/press relations is simply the branch of PR that deals with a business’s relationships with the press and media. Therefore, it involves techniques and ways of communicating with different types of media professionals, including:
Further, it involves a range of media types, including:
- Digital media (E.g., websites, social media channels, news sites)
- Print media (E.g., magazines, newspapers, leaflets)
- Advertising (in both digital and print media)
It can be local, national and international, but it’s always about creating a two-way conversation. The conversation must be positive and make an impression.
Regardless of the size of the brand, all brands need some level of public relations, including media relations, because it makes people familiar with the brand. Consequently, this builds trust, and trust leads to greater engagement.
Think about it; would you rather buy a product/service from a brand you know and trust, or from a brand you know nothing about?
So, what’s going on in the world of Media/Press Relations In 2020? Let’s explore this now…
Media/Press Relations in 2020 – What You Need to Know
As I explained above media/press relations refers to relationship building between a brand and its customers via different types of media. But, before you reach that stage, you first need to create excellent relationships with the journalists, bloggers and editors who run these media/press publications.
The most important thing for any press relations strategy is to build good relationships between your brand and the people who run the media outlets you want to use.
The first step is to work out which media outlets make the most sense for your brand. For example, if you work in beauty marketing Cosmetic Design Europe is a reliable media outlet that reaches a wide audience. Other examples include social media influencers – a good tip here is to look for a niche influencer with around 10,000 followers because that seems to be the sweet spot for successful influencer marketing.
Once you’ve shortlisted some media outlets, you now need to find good contacts within that organisation. There are a few ways to do this:
1: Attend Networking Events
Networking events are a fantastic way to find contacts and build relationships with appropriate people. Many people find networking a little slow because it takes time to create trust and familiarity. Therefore, you shouldn’t expect to see results straight away. This is a lesson in pure relationship building – it’s a journey that requires time and effort.
Choose a mixture of networking events to find the ones that are most useful for you. A good tip if you know which journalist/blogger you want to connect with, is to follow their social media channel/website and see if they mention any networking events, and then sign up to those where possible.
In general, there are four different types of networking to consider:
Which Networking Events Work Best?
Local networking events: these are normally smallish groups comprising of local businesses. A good-sized group will have 25 or more businesses on its books. Via these local networks, you’ll be able to find people in the local area that work in local publications – they might not be part of the group, but someone usually knows them and can connect you.
National/county-wide networking events: there are numerous national networking events, or county-wide networking events, that can be useful. These are better suited to larger brands or brands that turn a large profit because they can be expensive. They’re worth it if you have the cash.
Specialist networking events: these are probably the best type of networking event to visit. Here, you’re much more likely to meet people who work within the media branch of your industry, so it’s perfect. Eventbrite is a good tool for finding specialist networking events within your niche. You simply use the search function to find relevant events. For example, if you work in beauty, use their search function to look for “beauty” and it will return a list of upcoming events that you can join. You can then choose events that suit your niche and budget.
Online networking: LinkedIn is the largest online networking platform and it is a fantastic tool for finding media professionals in your niche. Make sure that your profile looks professional and explain to the people you reach out to exactly why you are reaching out. Otherwise, it can feel a little spammy.
2. Use Specialist PR Tools
For your media/press relations 2020, there are some fantastic tools to help you connect with the right people and manage the ongoing relationship properly.
Muck Rack: This is a relatively new software that allows you to easily search for journalists to pitch your brand/news content to the right person. Here, you can target your search to find journalists by topic and location.
ANewsTip: This tool lets you find media influencers by topic. For example, if you have a particular product you want to sell, e.g., carbon-neutral makeup, you can search for that topic and discover the people who have written about it, and you can decide if they’ll be able to help you promote your brand. You are then able to connect with them via the software. This tool even has a free option, so it’s great for Start-Ups and small businesses, or just for those of you who want to try it out risk-free.
3. Keep Track of Trending Topics
Keeping track of trending topics will be great for your media/press relations in 2020. This is because, by knowing which topics are popular, and who is publishing them, you can find the people who are in a position to help you.
There are two decent tools that I like to use here:
Buzzsumo: this is a really simple tool to use, and it’s unbelievably useful. You put your topic of choice into the search bar and it shows you the most popular articles being read around the web. It tells you how many shares it’s had, on which platforms, and the volume of engagements.
This then helps you know which journalists are writing the best articles in your niche.
Google Alerts: here, you set up an alert on Google with a keyword or keyphrase, and then google notifies you when people use it. It allows you to find the trending topics around your products and services. Over time, you’ll spot patterns that will help your media/public relations by revealing which publications and journalists are popular and prolific.
How to Build and Maintain Relationships
Now that you have your “hit list” of relevant journalists, bloggers and media outlets, it’s time to start reaching out and building relationships.
The golden rule in building relationships is honesty and integrity. You must be yourself. This is how you build trust, and trust is essential in any relationship.
We’ve talked a lot about trust in other articles, and the same principles apply here.
People buy into people they trust. If your network trusts you, they’ll be much more likely to help, so always be upfront and honest, including in how you present your personality.
Do your research:
Make sure, when you approach journalists, bloggers or media outlets, that you understand what they are interested in and what sort of things they publish.
You need to present your white paper, blog, leaflet, etc. in a way that fits with their personality. For example, some may have specific needs in terms of word count, branding and tone.
You might have to ask them about this, but if the information is easily available (e.g. they have it on their site), it can make you appear less professional and that could become a black mark against your name.
With many publications, you’ll need to use a specific tone of voice and way of presenting your content. This may mean that you need to hone your writing and communication skills. We have numerous articles that can help you here.
Finally, understand how long it will take to publish your story, white paper, or whatever it is you want to publish. Different people and places have different lead times. Some may take your content on a Monday and post it the same day. Others may have lead times of as much as 3-months.
This highlights the importance of planning your year-ahead calendar. If you have a product launch in June, you’ll need to be establishing contact with media outlets within plenty of time.
Keep Engaging Regularly:
You don’t want to be annoying and hassle people regularly, but you should try to maintain some contact on a fairly regular basis with useful contacts.
Simple things, such as liking and sharing their social media posts, can go a long way to maintaining the relationship. Another great way to maintain strong relationships is to make yourself useful.
Get to know your network and think about them when you network with others, referring people around your group of contacts can be a great way to become a key player that people warm to.
Make recommendations and referrals when it’s appropriate.
Of course, you need to offer people something in return. If you want your article published in a newspaper or on a website, what are you willing to exchange?
In many cases, you’ll need to pay real money, especially for advertising. In other cases, you may be able to remunerate them in other ways, such as giving them a free sample of your product.
improving your media/press relations in 2020 will require work, but by using the various tools and techniques we’ve outlined above, such as networking events, software tools, and relationship-building techniques, you’ll succeed.
If you need help with your media/press relations in 2020, then please get in touch with us. We have a background in journalism and media/press relations management, and we have the contacts and knowhow to help you get ahead.