What is media relations, and why should your business care?
We’ve said it once, and we’ll say it again: your brand is more than a logo.
To connect with their customers on a deeper level, companies use branding to convey a unique personality, essence, or vision to their target audience.
Through things like website design, tone of voice, and even marketing, you can develop a reputation for your venture that drives sales and opportunities.
However, it’s difficult to create a solid reputation using nothing but your own marketing messages.
That’s because when you’re new to the business landscape, you don’t yet have the weight or authority to truly influence the way that your customers feel.
It takes a lot of time, proof, and persuasion to convince your audience that you are the fun-loving, socially conscious, and trustworthy business that you say you are.
There are ways, however, that you can speed things up.
For instance, if you can get people in the media to confirm the statements that you’re making about yourself, then your claims start to have more of an impact. That’s the idea at the heart of media relations.
Today, we’re going to answer the question: “What is media relations?” and more importantly, we’ll address why it should matter to your company.
What is media relations? The basics:
Media relations is a subset of public relations.
While public relations involves the way that you present yourself to everyone (the general public), media relations concentrates on company interactions with a very specific audience: the media.
In the past, it was a lot easier to define media relations. The number of outlets that people had for information was limited.
For example, you had the radio and radio presenters, television and new shows, and newspapers or magazines. Now, however, we’re living in a digital world where media relations can include everything from interactions with influencers, to discussions with blog authors.
To keep things simple with our media relations definition, we refer to it as a mutually beneficial relationship between a brand and a specific media outlet. That media outlet can be anything, from offline newspapers in your industry, to a vlog channel.
The only important thing to remember is that your media contact needs to have sway over a specific group of people. Hopefully, those people will be in your target audience.
By developing a media relations strategy, organisations can expand their brand awareness campaigns, by funneling targeted messages through new channels.
As well as publishing a new news story on your website, your media relations campaign could mean that you share that message:
On industry forums.
On specific news websites.
Through television shows and radio shows.
In magazines and print media.
Through vlogs and videos from influencers.
On social media (via influencers).
The better your media relationship becomes, the easier it will be to ensure that you’re reaching a wide and engaged audience every time you have something important to say.
Why is media relations important?
Media relations isn’t just another promotional strategy.
What’s more, media relations can’t be a substitute to a proper strategy for the development of brand identity. You still need to run marketing campaigns and prove yourself to your audience in other ways.
However, media relations can help to complement your brand activities, to generate more attention, and more credibility for your company.
Here are some of the biggest benefits of media relations:
Trust development: Potential customers are more influenced by the people that they trust, from market influencers to journalists, than brands. A company can tell a client that it’s reliable and valuable for decades, and that message still won’t hit home until another, credible figure confirms it. Media relations done properly can help businesses to prove themselves by getting shout-outs from venues that their audience already trusts. Stories published through reputable platforms give you an instant boost in credibility.
Brand reach: Posting a news story about your business on your website is great. You’ll get ranking potential from the SEO keywords that you target, and you’ll be able to provide your existing customers with more information. However, the only people who find your story will be the people who already know about you. On the other hand, if you publish a story through a media outlet, you expand your brand reach to include everyone in that company’s audience. The right media relationship can expand your sales opportunities and help you to reach new possible clients like never before.
Authority: One of the biggest benefits of media relations, is that it can help you to become more of an authority in your space. Most media outlets have very strict guidelines on what they’ll report on. Customers know that the stories they read on sites like Entrepreneur.com and Huffington Post are usually well-researched. They also know that the other forms of media they interact with are usually credible too, like the messages from influencers or leading bloggers. Because of this, being featured on a high-quality and high-authority site improves your authority too.
SEO potential: When you interact with various forms of digital media to improve your position online, you can also benefit from search engine results. There’s more to ranking online than doing the right keyword research. Backlinks and mentions from other authority brands can help to boost your position too. This is particularly true in the age of E-A-T, where Google is prioritizing Expertise, Authority and Trust.
For existing companies, a solid media relations strategy adds credibility and weight to the message that you’re sending out in the world. For new businesses, the benefits of media relations can ensure that you grow and gain attention much faster than you would on your own.
What is a media relations strategy?
Media relations is a complex and ever-evolving aspect of public relations. Because of this, just like any other brand-building campaign, you’ll need a strategy to ensure that you’re making the most of your media relationships.
A media relations strategy is the plan that you create to deploy media and use it to the best of your ability for telling your brand story. Your targeted media outreach will need to be adjusted and adapted to suit your specific goals, expectations, and objectives.
For instance, some of the elements that you might consider when you’re building your media relations strategy are:
Who are you trying to reach? Defining your target audience will give you a better insight into who you’re trying to connect with via media relationships. If you know that your audience are younger people, for instance, then it might make more sense to use social media as a media outlet than newspapers.
Where are you trying to reach your audience? If most of your customers are online, then it makes sense to evaluate digital forms of media. This could include vlogs, blogs, and even dedicated industry forums for your business.
Which people have the most influence over your customers? You need to ensure that you’re building relationships with the media experts that can really drive your message home. Who is more likely to appeal to your target customer, a social media influencer, or a more traditional journalist?
Remember, the opportunities available for media relations have evolved and changed over the years.
To ensure that you’re building the right strategy for your press relations, you’ll need to sit and think about where your audience gets their information.
For some customers, the primary source of news that they’ll rely on will still be big outlets like Fox, CNN, or BBC. For others, it could be the New York Times, YouTube influencers, or even vloggers on Instagram.
What’s the difference between media relations and press relations?
As the media relations definition continues to evolve, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for some people to tell the difference between public relations, and media relations. While there are a lot of overlapping elements between these two practices, there are differences to consider too.
The best way to think of media relations is as a subsection of public relations. The media is a very small and focused subsection of the public.
Although you will use your media relations to reach a much wider audience, a good media relations strategy is about building connections with influential figures and publications.
The Public Relations Society in America defines public relations as a “strategic communication process” that builds relationships between businesses and the public.
On the other hand, media relations is all about strengthening the ties that you have with specific influencers, journalists, and editors that will help you to reach your adoring public.
While public relations shapes the message that you want to send to your wider audience, media relations provides a megaphone and a wider area to cover.
Media relations is how you give some extra punch or weight to the message you’re sending out to the world, by filtering your content through a more credible environment.
Make the most of your media relationship
With the right media relations, businesses of all sizes and backgrounds can accelerate their growth and discover new opportunities. However, it’s important to remember that media relations aren’t a one-size-fits-all concept. The definition of “media” as we used to know it is changing.
With things like social media, vlogs, and podcasting to think about, the way that you define media relations for your business might be very different to the strategies another company uses in the same industry. The key to success is finding the outlets that have the most influence over, and impact on your target audience.
If you need help building a successful media relations strategy for your team, or you need guidance in creating the right brand message to amplify, reach out. Fabrik is here to help you with everything from killer content marketing, to brand development.
Don’t forget to check out our other content, too, for information on how to develop your own media relations strategy and put your public relation campaigns to the test.