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Getting your story told starts with research

Trying to execute a media relations campaign in a vacuum is a recipe for failure. Just like any other project or campaign, you have to do proper due diligence and research, research, research to be successful.

Understand what you’re promoting

Before embarking on a media relations campaign, it is important to understand what your organization wants to promote, its objectives and its target audiences. Talk to subject matter experts within your organization to fully understand the product or service being promoted and to identify newsworthy angles that can be parsed out to various types of media.

Is there a technology or innovation angle? What about a consumer bent? Once you better understand what is to be promoted, be sure to look at what your organization’s competitors are doing in the space.

What is their messaging and where are they getting coverage? Are there broader industry trends to which you can tie your news? What kind of statistics and data will bolster your pitch?

Once you have these questions answered, you can develop the strategy, messaging and media targets.

Understand who you are trying to reach

After determining your objectives and audiences, you can identify the journalists and media outlets you should target. When compiling your list of target media, be sure to research the journalists and outlets you are trying to reach.

Review reporters’ bios, including how long they have been at the current outlet, where they were before, their interests and the types of stories they write. Check out journalists’ social media presence, including their Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn profiles, as appropriate. This can give you an idea of their professional profile and also a glimpse into their personality, which helps in building relationships.

You should also think creatively and beyond traditional print and broadcast media. Explore digital outlets and influencers that would be helpful in reaching your audience, including bloggers and social media editors for mainstream outlets. It is more important than ever to vet these outlets to ensure they will help you achieve your organization’s objectives and be a good use of your time and resources to pursue.

Adjust as needed – and be nimble

Once your program is under way, you should constantly monitor for coverage of general business and industry trends. Set up Google alerts for relevant issues, such as advanced manufacturing, logistics, student debt or whatever trends that would be helpful to follow. This will help you identify news pegs on which you can capitalize and determine whether you should tweak your messaging going forward.

It is just as important to monitor social media as it is to monitor traditional media. Use your social media listening tools to follow what is being talked about and what is generating a buzz in your organization’s industry. Determine if and how you can use this information to your advantage in promoting your organization’s story.

Below is a graphic that gives an idea of how Dix & Eaton approaches a media relations program. You will see that Research is the first component. Done well, research helps guide the ensuing steps and ultimately helps the campaign evolve.

If you would like to talk further about how research can help your media relations efforts be successful, contact me at amcgahan@dix-eaton.com or at 216-241-3027.

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