The 12 Laws of Media Relations

How you treat and respond to reporters, editors and analysts can greatly effect how your company is perceived in its marketplace. The relationship between “you” and “them” is so important it has its own name (media relations), its own experts (PR pros and firms that specialize in media relations) and its own set of rules. Following are 12 laws of media relations. Follow them, and you’re well on your way to gaining your company the positive visibility you desire. Break them at your own peril.

1. Every reporter is a “key” reporter. Reporters change jobs. I’ve seen local weekly reporters go on to work for publications such as the Wall Street Journal. If you make the mistake of blowing a reporter off because they don’t work for an influential publication, you may pay the price for it down حلول واجابات the road.

2. Don’t ignore online publications. Online publications are often looking for news. In addition, many offline publications also have an online presence (Time, Wall Street Journal, Inc., for example). If you pitch a story to an offline version when their online counterpart just published a similar story, you’ll end up with egg on your face.

3. Respect deadlines. Reporters are in a critical, time-sensitive business. Nothing will kill your chances for positive coverage faster than ignoring deadlines or not being responsive enough. If you can’t make their timeline, tell them quickly so they can get what they need elsewhere; or, if it’s information for your company, try very hard to get them someone to speak to who’s been advised on how to speak to the press.

4. Make/show your news to be newsworthy. Just because your company came out with version 2.1.5 of its product doesn’t mean it’s newsworthy. Try to find the “news” in your product or press release and lead with that.

5. Humanize your quotes. If you’re giving an interview or writing a press release, think quotable. Don’t come off sounding stiff and formal and rehearsed, though. Think in human terms, and try to find an analogy that will be broadly understood.

6a. Know the publication and its target audience. It’s important to do your research before pitching a story or giving an interview. Read back issues of the publication if you’re not a subscriber; find out about its readership demographics. This will tell you the approach the publication will most likely take, and will help you gear your materials appropriately. Be sensitive to the publications that emphasize the different points of view or product differences of you and your competitors.

6b. Don’t trade one magazine against another. Find a way to get different articles for each magazine – a different angle, a different aspect of the same story. Pit one against the other, and you’ll end up losing the goodwill of both.

7. Think long-term. Don’t expect reporters to be there for you, printing your company’s news at your bidding, then ignore them when you don’t have news to push. Return the favor by supplying them with industry reports, new sources and articles pertinent to their area of expertise. Be a resource the media finds credible and helpful and you will greatly aid your company when future opportunities in your industry arise.

8. Share your sources. Give your reporters referrals for background information. Make your clients and customers available. Make your key personnel available. Create an automatic “request and OK” of your clients and customers to be referred for editorial contact. Offer guidance and media training to your clients and customers. At the very least, always provide a “cheat” sheet with pertinent information to them if you will be referring a reporter to them.

9. Know your competition. Know what your competition is saying about themselves, and about you. This will help you frame your answers and prepare your materials to combat any negative perceptions a reporter may have about your company or its products or services. Never say, “there is no competition,” to a reporter. Suggest you have researched the competitive area and today cannot find a competitive product, but perhaps some company large or small is working on a similar concept confidentially.

10. Follow up intelligently; don’t be a pest. If an interview or press release requires a follow up, by all means, do so. But don’t call to find out if your press release has been received, or when news might be forthcoming. This is a major turn-off to reporters and editors alike.

11. Prepare all of your press materials according to the magazine’s and reporters’ requirements. If in doubt, ask. There’s nothing worse than learning, just before press time, that your story was cut or compromised because of incorrectly supplied content.

12. Be ethical. This is true for all your public relations activities, not just media relations. Don’t compromise your core values for short-term gains. It’s just not worth it in the long run. You will be found out, and you will compromise the reputation you and your company are trying to build. (If you occasionally make a mistake, admit it and apologize for it.)


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