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The media are dying. Not! 5 tips for an impactful media relations strategy

The mainstream media are in decline. Their newsrooms are shrinking to nothing. It has been said by some in prominence that the mainstream media are “failing.”

Not!

Despite what conventional wisdom may say, the power and influence of media are increasing. The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, NBC News and a host of other national media today are reaching a larger audience than ever.

It is true that the print circulation of most newspapers is in decline, and that newsrooms are smaller than they used to be. But measuring the reach of newspapers by print circulation alone is short-sighted. What about the reach of their websites? Their social media distribution? Their blogs, podcasts, videos, Snapchats, tweets, Facebook posts and other audience engagement tools? 

The main New York Times Twitter account, has more than 34 million followers. BBC News’ breaking Twitter account, has nearly 30 million followers.

Rather than shrinking, the power associated with all aspects of mainstream media, from print to digital platforms, is increasing. And diversifying.

That is why the multi-faceted media relations strategies that Dix & Eaton recommends are so impactful. They are designed to smartly and aggressively leverage all the print and digital aspects media have to offer.

Although carrying out such a strategy might seem to be a daunting task, here are five guidelines to keep in mind when developing a program that will help you take advantage of media outlets’ print and digital potential:

  1. The program should be highly strategic and flexible. If you are targeting mainstream journalists rather than bloggers or other influencers, then you need to understand how journalists prefer to get information. For instance, an infographic may help explain your story and get wide play online, whereas another tactic with no image could flop. 
  2. Research and planning are essential. Establish a baseline of coverage. Ask your target audiences what information they want or need. Know your primary goal. If you don’t know where you are headed with your communications, you won’t know how to get there.
  3. Invoke an entrepreneurial vision. There are many ways to tell a story. Have frank, internal conversations about the value of your story and then consider the many platforms you can use to tell it.
  4. Think like a mainstream reporter and consider all the platforms available to them: articles, podcasts, blogs, video, social media and more. Consider how to communicate information that would be useful on a number of these platforms.
  5. Understand the elemental themes of your story so you can communicate them simply. Remember, your strategy will have many moving parts. And few stories are simple. But you have to communicate them simply if you want to be effective.

The above points fit primarily within what we refer to as the research and planning phases of a media relations program. These phases are followed by execution, amplification and evolution.

Once you have taken the time to conduct your research and to plan, you are ready to execute a multi-faceted media relations strategy. Know that there will likely be surprises along the way, and be ready to adapt.

Be prepared to expand your thinking. Consider how to leverage your media strategy into other areas such as thought leadership and other owned content.

Do these steps make sense to you or would you suggest others? I would be happy to discuss how to create the appropriate multi-faceted media relations strategy to maximize the impact of your strategic communications. Please contact me at the email or number below.

Click on the button below to download a graphic describing our media relations strategy process.

David Hertz oversees Dix & Eaton’s media relations practice. He managed numerous client communications strategies leading up to and during the Republican National Convention in 2016. If you have any questions or comments about David's post, please feel free to email him or call him at 216.241.2145.

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