Techniques for Building Media Relations

While the objective of media relations is to obtain favorable mentions for an organization or product without direct payment to a media outlet, the process for accomplishing this is by no means free. Public relations professionals “pitch” stories to reporters, news editors, and other media members with the assistance of a variety of techniques that are often expensive to produce. These techniques include:

News Releases

One of the most frequently undertaken tasks of public relations professionals is the preparation of a news release (a.k.a., press release). A news release is a prepared message (e.g., print, video, audio) intended to highlight one or more issues facing an organization.  Organizations can distribute news releases on their own (e.g., post on website, send out by email, provide link on social media), or by using a paid news distribution service.

Social Media

It can be argued the evolution of social media has affected public relations more than any other marketing area. With the advantage of being both a broadcast communication platform and an interactive one-on-one platform, many in PR now view social media as the best method for engaging media outlets. However, it should be understood, the effectiveness of social media will depend on whether media outlets actually follow an organization’s communications. In fact, as more organizations direct more of their PR efforts to social media, the task of getting media outlets to follow their messages is likely to become more challenging.

Press Kits

This is the name given to prepared materials, such as organization background, biography of a firm’s spokesperson and other supporting materials (e.g., product videos), that provide information useful to media outlets. Such kits can be sent to media outlets via package delivery services or accessible on an organization’s website.

Matte Release

Some media outlets, especially small local newspapers, may accept articles written by an organization as filler material when their publications lack sufficient content. PR professionals submit a matte release (a.k.a., mat releases) through syndicated news services (i.e., services that supply content to many media outlets) or directly to targeted media via email.

Industry Articles

Many industry websites and print publications allow companies to submit articles authored by company personnel, such as a CEO or Marketing Manager. Depending on the media outlet, the articles can cover specific happenings at a company or may be written with the intention of addressing a business issue. In either case, PR professionals may have significant input into the creation of the article even though they are not identified as the author.

Online Press Room

Finally, to address the needs of media outlets, the public relations staff often manage an online “press room” section within the organization’s website. This area caters to needs of media outlets including providing easy access to news releases, digital press kits, list of company contacts, links to various organizational social media platforms, information request forms, and more.