Media relations play a crucial role in promoting your company, products, or events. Quality media coverage can bring tremendous value to your brand, but only if media relations are handled correctly. Unfortunately, marketing professionals often make mistakes that can make difficult their collaboration with the media and reduce the effectiveness of their communication. In this text, we will explore the most common mistakes in media relations and how to avoid them.
- Misdefining the target audience: The most fundamental mistake you can make is addressing the wrong target audience. Consider who your product or service users are, who potential users are, whether your products are intended for other companies or individuals. Once you have listed all your target groups, think about which media outlets they most frequently follow. This will be a good starting point for the next step.
- Outdated media contact lists: Media constantly change—new media emerge, merge, or close down. Journalists switch from one media to another or leave the media industry. Regularly updating your contact list ensures that you are always communicating with the right people.
- Reaching out to the wrong journalists and media outlets: Carelessly reaching out to the wrong journalists and media outlets can quickly damage your reputation. Before sending your first materials, carefully research which journalist and media outlet are most relevant to your story. Personalized approach is crucial.
- Unpersonalized media pitches: Sending mass, unpersonalized messages to journalists rarely brings results. Instead, invest time in studying their work and interests, and tailor your pitch to their needs and interests.
- Lack of a sense of real news value: Having an unrealistic view of the importance of your news can frustrate journalists. Be realistic and objective in describing the significance of your events, projects, or products. Sometimes, it’s more important to provide journalists with expert, eloquent speakers than to inundate them with redundant information that will never reach their readers because it’s irrelevant.
- Inability to craft a compelling story for the media: Modern journalists often seek stories that will engage the audience. Consider how your story can reach an emotional or informational level, making it more appealing to the media. Provide spokespeople who can speak from various angles on the topic. Prepare multimedia content to make the journalist’s job easier. Having a photo (with secured copyright), video, or audio recording with each news item is advisable.
- Trying to present commercial information as news: Journalists are not interested in pure advertising messages. Instead, offer information and stories relevant to their audience. React when something significant happens in your industry that will interest the public. Be proactive and the fastest to deliver current news in your field.
- Neglecting the audiovisual potential of the story: In today’s digital age, visual content plays a crucial role. Ignoring the potential of photos, videos, or graphics can limit the attractiveness of your story for the media.
- Forgetting That Professionalism Works Both Ways: As in any relationship, professionalism is key. Respect journalists’ deadlines, be available for follow-up questions, and be open to constructive criticism. Be there for journalists when they need answers to their questions, not just when you’re distributing information that’s important to you.
- Unrealistic Expectations in Media Relations: Lastly, have realistic expectations about how much media coverage you can get. You can’t control how the media will react to your story, but you can work on its quality and relevance.
Collaborating with the media can be crucial for the successful promotion of your projects, events, and products. Avoiding these mistakes and working on building quality relationships with journalists can make the difference between going unnoticed and being in the spotlight.