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PR: What is it? Why is it important? And how can you use the media to your advantage?
In our latest blog, our Senior Account Manager Maddie Kulk, explores the other side of public relations and how the media can help tell your story and take your brand to the next level.
The term ‘public relations’, or ‘PR’, is a difficult one to define and encompasses a wide range of processes and strategies that ultimately contribute to improving the overall reputation and credibility of a brand or organisation through communication.
The Public Relations Institute of Australia’s definition of PR as:
‘the deliberate, planned and sustained effort to establish mutual understanding between an organisation and its publics’
This suggests that PR is a two-way flow of information, where the onus is on the organisation to foster communication between itself and its publics to ensure comments, complaints and questions are responded to. PR has a role in every industry and business type and if an organisation’s goal is to improve its awareness and reputation, then a well-defined PR strategy is critical.
A successful PR strategy will incorporate a wide range of processes, including audience analysis, key stakeholder engagement, digital and social strategy, reports, speaking opportunities and media coverage.
What role does the media play?
Media relations and public relations are two terms often interchanged, but they are in fact quite different. Media relations forms part of the PR process, which relies solely on collaborating with the media and journalists to communicate and amplify your intended messages. While media relations may be one aspect of the PR journey, it can have huge benefits for your organisation if done correctly.
A successful media relations strategy can lead to relationship building with key stakeholders, significantly increase brand awareness, catapult a business or organisation into thought leadership status and amplify your key messages within your target audiences.
I have a background in media and worked as a television journalist and radio reporter in regional NSW for over eight years. Since making the switch to the PR and Comms industry I’ve worked closely with clients on their PR strategies and media relations. What I have discovered is that many organisations really struggle to navigate the mediascape, which is a dynamic and constantly evolving beast.
So, what do you need to know if you want to use the media to your advantage?
Research! Research! Research! Before you even have a story to tell or a message to convey it is important you know who the media players are. Some questions you need to ask include:
- Do I need to attract city or regional media?
- What are the key media outlets or publications in my target region?
- What sort of stories to they cover?
In this immediate 24-hour world it can be hard to know what ‘media’ actually means. While the traditional forms of media like television, newspaper and radio remain highly important, other forms like podcasts and blogs are becoming increasingly popular in the media relations tool kit. Once you’ve figured out who the key players are, then it is time to reaching out and build those connections. Don’t be afraid to introduce yourself and start the conversation. The goal is to create a relationship with the journalist, that you can both benefit from.
- Know Your Audience
Now you know who the key media players are, it is time to define your audience. Who needs to hear your message or story? Where are they located? What forms of media will appeal to them? Defining your audience will allow you to reach out to the media players for your target audience. For example, pitching an agricultural story intended for a rural based audience to a city-based financial journalist, will certainly not lead to a front page story. Knowing your audience and the journalists and editors who cater to these audiences, can be the different between a published story and no story at all.
- Craft Your Message
Media releases are the traditional way organisation’s pitch to media, but it’s important to remember that your media release will be competing with tens or hundreds of others. Therefore, it is critical that your message is sharp, succinct and powerful. It is often at this stage of the media relations funnel that some organisations rely on communications professionals to help sharpen their message.
A well-developed media release which focusses on the benefits for your intended audience can often be just the starting point. A well-written media release can lead to interviews, television, radio or newspaper coverage and follow-up stories.
Whether it’s improving your reputation or reaching a wider audience, media relations is a significant building block for a business or organisation’s PR strategy. It is important to remember building effective relationships with the media can result in huge benefits for your brand and contribute to improving the credibility of your organisation through engaging communication.
C7EVEN are experts in rural and regional public relations and communications. We specialise in creating captivating and relevant PR campaigns that generate buzz, talkability, and excitement through multiple media channels. We know we can help your craft the best message for your audience – so reach out and let’s have a chat!
Senior Account Manager
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