The role that the media plays in building brand awareness for startups cannot be disputed. As a matter of fact, in rigid economic times, media relations is considered an affordable way of doing public relations. In the present business scene, having sophisticated communication with clients is not only a good idea but also necessary.

Understanding the value of communication between small businesses and the media is, therefore, essential. If effective media relations exist, then the chances of achieving great success increase. Otherwise, poor media relations can be detrimental to a firm.

How, then, should startups navigate through the development of binding media relationships? The 10 strategies outlined below give details on how you can establish strong communication relationships with the media.

1. Become an avid reader of the works of a given journalist

This strategy allows you to read the information that is provided by a particular journalist. This is often good if you want some context while writing to a journalist.

With that information, you should be able to sift content that is important from what is not, given that there is a considerable amount of “noise” that is available on different subjects that are dished out by journalists. It is essential for you, as a reader, to go as far as following a journalist who you consider relevant.

It’s important to become an ardent fan of a relevant journalist first. This is so easy too because all it takes is following their works over a reasonably lengthy period of time.

Evidently, you can look at the content a journalist shares on their online platforms. As a matter of fact, you can consider subscribing to media outlets that the journalist writes for to give you an idea of the kind of writing they do.

Additionally, sharing a journalist’s stories shows your support of their work. The above strategy is one way for you to create a lasting relationship between your business and the media through a selected journalist.

2. Achieving familiarity with a journalist

While you familiarize yourself with a journalist and the content they produce, it is critical to learn more about the reporter’s deadlines. This helps you pitch your story to said reporter at the right time, so that you make it easy for them to write about your news.

It is also essential to look into the nitty-gritty regarding the requirements of the particular journalist. This is particularly vital when looking at the busy schedules that journalists have. Making a phone call and sending email follow-ups is essential at this point. Nevertheless, you must be careful to ensure that you do not bombard the journalist with press releases which they may consider irrelevant.

3. Interaction on social media

In the present age of social media, communication between people is beyond accessible. Journalists make use of these networks and so do businesses. Social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn promote the sharing of information. Additionally, social media helps you to be up-to-date with what a journalist is working on. After all, journalists tend to comment on critical topics. For this reason, social media sites can help you track where the next story will be coming from.

4. Make contact

Relationships are built by communication, and the same can be said of media relations. You cannot allow months to pass without making contact after the last time you spoke to a particular journalist. Whether you’ve come across some news that could make a good story, or you know about an event the journalist would like to attend, it’s important to keep in touch with your target journalist.  In a nutshell, relationship building should be the ultimate goal and it only happens with consistent communication.

Making contact and building a relationship is easy if your startup has a PR Roadmap. By developing a road map in advance, you can achieve your PR goals faster.

5. Be observant

When engaging in conversations with journalists, make sure that you are on the lookout for personal information which you can capture. Being observant costs you nothing. As a matter of fact, you never know, the journalist might just be thrilled by your thoughtfulness.

6. Use your real names

This is especially important when your social media account indicates company affiliation. If you want to gain credibility with the media, it is essential that you consider avoiding names that could portray you as otherwise. It doesn’t matter where; your name is a fundamental part of your profession/personal brand and reputation. Using your real names across social networks is imperative, as far as reputation is concerned.

7. Keep lies at bay

Avoid telling lies to a reporter, or even stretching the truth. In the same way that your reputation is important, reporters care about their reputations too. If you damage a reporter’s credibility, you won’t get a second chance to become a source. As with any other relationship, integrity, transparency, and the truth are essential in media relations.

8. Conduct interviews with journalists

Conducting impressive interviews with the press can help if you want to stand out.  It’s essential for you to make necessary notes on the key pointers that you would wish to address in advance.  In case you are concerned about saying something wrong in an interview, or something that could be misunderstood, you should consider requesting to respond via email. Ultimately, if you are helpful and respectful, then journalists will contact you for quotes time after time. This will continue to build up into higher levels of media relations.

9. Maintain a friendly attitude

Maintaining professionalism when developing a rapport with the media is a fundamental aspect that must be considered. A little bit of friendly reporter/PR chitchat can be healthy for a potential relationship. Identifying connections through hobbies and interests can propel your relationship with a given reporter forward. Adding a bit of friendliness to the professionalism can give the journalist incentive to discuss your pitches in the future.

10. The strength of a powerful sign-off: “Thank You.”

Those two little words – “thank you” – can make a world of difference when you’re building a relationship with a journalist. It is essential to appreciate that reporters go out of their way to conduct interviews, travel, and even attend your events. Sending a quick email to acknowledge this shows you appreciate them devoting some time to you.

Media relations are bound to grow and flourish because of simple things like a friendly attitude, and professionalism. For your small business to achieve success with the press, you can consider starting off with the ten strategies presented above. The above steps can offer the key to unleashing your brand and boosting its credibility.

Do you need help connecting with journalists? One of the ways you can do this is by producing quality content which they can’t say no to. Backed by a team of PR specialists, expert writers and certified designers, Pressfarm can help you produce content that makes heads turn.

With a professional press release, some engaging guest posts and an eye-catching media kit, you can create a memorable brand image. In addition to creating this quality content for you, Pressfarm has also developed a distribution strategy that has worked for several brands before yours.

By submitting your content to the right media outlets and startup directories, Pressfarm can help your brand rank in relevant search results across different search engines. Additionally, with custom media lists and a media database of 1 million+ journalists, you can continue telling your brand story long after Pressfarm has wrapped up your campaign. With any of Pressfarm’s PR packages, you can tell your story to the people who matter.