How do you create meaningful connection to media outlets and make your website a destination for the Anderson Coopers of the world? The short answer is this. Begin with a media relations plan.
Why Your Company Needs a Media Relations Program
Your organization can benefit from a strategic relationship with media professional in a number of ways. First, when media look to you as a source of information, journalists see you as a reliable source of information. When media see you as a trusted source, so will your customers and prospects. This will directly impact your brand’s value.
Secondly, when journalists rely on your business as a trusted source, the coverage earned from that relationship will create more coverage when your information is relevant, timely, and tells a story. Hit these three marks consistently and you will create an environment where media attention begets media.
Finally, as you gain exposure, where trusted media outlets link back to content on your website, the Google gods will anoint your content with better indexing. Simply, your content, your brand, and the people you serve or will serve will easily find you business on and off line. An ancillary benefit of this attention online will be the tendency for people to share content about you, thereby increasing the number of people exposed to you brand, products and services.
Having an online newsroom will give journalists and others that destination platform.
What You Need to Deploy a Strategic Media Relations Program
First, you need to draft a media relations plan. This is a strategic exercise that will bring form and function to the deployment of an online newsroom, as well as design and direction to message creations, story development and the content to populate the online newsroom.
Creating the more advanced (and in my opinion, the more successful plan) you should follow these seven steps:
- Situation overview: This section of the plan defines the “lay of the land.” This includes a brief analysis of the competitive environment, challenges and obstacles to overcome, and a list of advantages and opportunities. In this section you’re answering the “what” and “how” of your plan.
- Audience: Defining exactly who these people are, this is critically important. If you don’t, communication could be a flop.
- Position statement: This is an introductory sentence or two, maybe three (but you’re pushing your luck with conciseness) that distinctly and clearly differentiates you from the competition, and “will work to capture the attention the attention of your key publics (another name for audience).
- Goals and Objectives: Everything done for your business should have a goal tied the company’s mission, and bound to these are actionable, measurable statements that drive execution. These benchmark statements are called objectives.
- Tactics: Distinct action points that bring your media relations plan to life. These should be directly related to each objective.
- Measurement: By the nature of the objectives created earlier in the media relations plan, you should be able to measure how well each one was accomplished. After all, objectives are written with results in mind. And you should use tools to properly gauge the success or failure of meeting those objectives.
When it comes to drafting a strategic plan for media outreach, focusing on tactics is one of the pitfalls of businessmen untrained in the ways of public relations. Tactics are the fun side of media relations, while drafting objectives and strategies are more intentional, require some thought and research. But deploying tactics without a strategy is a waste of time and resources.