The role that the media plays in startup businesses cannot be disputed. As a matter of fact, in rigid economic times, media relations are considered to be fundamental to public relations, with a bias to management and firm image. In the present business scene, having sophisticated communication with clients and customers is deemed as being 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 ensue. Otherwise, poor media relations can be detrimental to a firm.
How then can startups navigate through the development of binding media relationships? The ten strategies outlined below give details on how strong communication relationships can be erected between the media and businesses.
1. Become an avid reader of the works of a given journalist
This strategy allows you to read information that is provided by a particular journalist. This is often good for startups in the quest to give them context. It is notable that the amount spent by businesses, on email, on a given news outlet is about three times.
With that, 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 becoming the follower of a journalist who you consider as being relevant.
It’s important to become an ardent fan of a relevant journalist first. It is so easy too because all it takes is to follow their works over a reasonably lengthy period of time.
Evidently, you can look at multiple sources that are used by the journalist that would allow reading of vast materials that are churned out by the said journalist. As a matter of fact, one can consider subscribing to the sites, where newsletters that communicate on the writing done by the journalist can be accessed.
Additionally, showing support to the works of the particular journalist can be identified when you share their content. Making use of the above strategy would be 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
For you to gain publicity for your company it is crucial to build relationships with the media. Get to know the reporters on your local paper.
In the quest to familiarizing oneself with a given journalist, it is critical to consider knowing more about a reporter’s timings, and deadlines. You should provide information to a reporter in advance to avoid the risk of having inconveniences.
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 email follow-ups are essential at this point, but you must be careful to ensure that you do not bombard the journalist with press releases, which may be considered as being irrelevant.
3. Interaction on social media
In the present age of social media, communication between people has been made more than accessible. Journalists make use of these networks and so do businesses. Social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn promote information sharing. Additionally, social media can allow you to be up-to-date with the interests of journalists. Journalists tend to comment on critical topics, and so social media sites can help you track where the next story will be coming from.
4. Make contact… Make contact… Make contact…
Relationships are built by communication, and the same can be said of media relations. Startups cannot allow months to pass without making contact after the last time they spoke to a particular journalist. When an idea comes up, or an event, you should make contact with the journalist regarding it. In a nutshell, relationship building should be the ultimate goal and it only happens with consistent reaching out.
Most of the making contact to build the relationship will happen if your startup has a PR Roadmap. This will see you chasing the PR goal of the startup from earlier on and having exact road maps as a calendar guide for a full year.
5. Be observant
When engaging in conversations with journalists, make sure that you are on the lookout for capturing personal information. 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 be viewed with seriousness by 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 making lies to a reporter, or even making stretches to the truth. In a similar manner that your reputation is important, the reputation of a reporter is deemed as being fundamental too. If you damage a reporter’s credibility, you won’t get a second chance to become a source. You should note that just like any other relationship, integrity, transparency, and the truth is essential in media relations.
8. Conduct interviews with journalists
Conduct impressive interviews with the press to stand out. It would be essential for you to make necessary notes on the key pointers that you would wish to address. In case you are concerned about saying something wrong in an interview, or something that could be misunderstood, you may consider requesting to respond via email. What should be clear is if you are helpful and respectful, 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
Maintenance of professionalism when developing a rapport with the media is a fundamental aspect that has to be considered. A little bit of friendly reporter/PR chitchat can be healthy for a potential relationship. When you identify connections through hobbies and interests, it can propel your relationship with a given reporter forward. Adding a bit of friendliness to the professionalism makes the journalist wish to discuss your pitches in the future.
10. The strength of a powerful sign-off: “Thank You.”
Finally, signing off with the two little words, with major effects namely “thank you” is fundamental. 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 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 the credibility therein.