Historically the core of public relations, media relations, includes all efforts to publicize products or the company to members of the press — TV and Radio, newspaper, magazine, newsletter and Internet. In garnering media coverage, PR professionals work with the media to place stories about products, companies and company spokespeople. This is done by developing interesting and relevant story angles that are pitched to the media. It is important to remember that media placements come with good stories and no payment is made to the media for placements. In fact, in order to maintain the highest level of credibility, many news organizations bar reporters from accepting even the smallest gifts (e.g., free pencils with product logo) from companies.
Key tools used in media relations include:
- Press Kits - Include written information such as a news release, organization background, key spokesperson biographies and other supporting materials that provide information useful to reporters.
- Audio or Video News Releases - These are prerecorded features distributed to news media that may be included within media programming. For instance, a local news report about amusement parks may include portions of a video news release from a national amusement park company.
- Matte Release - Some media, especially small local newspapers, may accept articles written by companies often as filler material when their publication lacks sufficient content. PR professionals submit matte releases through syndicated services (i.e., services that supply content to many media outlets) or directly to targeted media via email, fax or snail mail.
- Website Press Room - While hard copies of materials are used and preferred by some media, marketers are well served by an online press room that caters to media needs and provides company contact information.
As PR people know, many story ideas for newspapers, magazines and television news often start with a suggestion from a PR person. If things work out, a reporter or editor will, at best, write a positive story with the company as a key feature or, at minimum, include the company’s name somewhere within an industry-focused article.