Media Relations

As a former journalist, I know media relations is essential

As much as some of them may be loath to admit it, journalists need marketers and PRs. Live news broadcasters still break news from tips and sources, but in B2B fields in particular, the vast majority of other content published online, in print or on TV or radio is sourced from a press release. 

And there are a lot of press releases. Most members of the media receive dozens, if not hundreds of them a week, driven by the fact that in the UK alone there are almost 9,000 more PR people than journalists. With so many flooding their inboxes, it’s easy to see why most releases are skim-read—or worse, go unopened.

This is why building relationships with media professionals is a crucial part of any strategy and campaign. As a former journalist, I know firsthand that an editor or journalist is far more likely to open an email or answer the phone to someone they’ve met and trust, rather than just another faceless name in their inbox. 

Building and maintaining relationships

A sound media relations strategy isn’t just about getting coverage, it’s about building and maintaining long-term relationships with journalists and influencers. While these relationships can pay out in the short term, they’re more likely to pay dividends over time, leading to ongoing media opportunities and a more favourable portrayal of the company in the press.

Building these relationships requires consistent and genuine engagement. As a B2B tech journalist, I valued PR professionals who were reliable, responsive and respectful of my deadlines. Those who took the time to understand the publication’s focus and my audience’s interests were more likely to have their pitches considered, or would be approached for comment on a related topic.

Driving thought leadership

Being perceived as a thought leader can set your company apart from the competition. By securing interviews, bylines and speaking opportunities at industry events, PRs can help their clients’ leaders share their insights and perspectives on emerging trends, technologies and best practices.

When drafting articles, I was always on the lookout for knowledgeable sources who could provide valuable insights. Those PRs and companies that proactively engaged with the media and were on hand to offer expert commentary were often featured in my articles, and those who worked together with me in a straightforward, forthright way were often approached again when another relevant opportunity to comment came up. It’s a symbiotic relationship: their experts were established as thought leaders in their field, and my articles were boosted with valuable commentary.

Establishing credibility and building trust

B2B tech companies can establish their credibility and stand apart from their competitors through earned media coverage in reputable industry publications, and the press quoting their experts helps build that credibility. But while companies are understandably keen to see their experts have a voice in leading publications, editors are understandably cautious when approaching someone new for a comment. Editorial standards are high, and often rigorously regulated–someone unknown to them promising the insight of a supposed expert can be a risk.

A media relations strategy that focuses on building strong and authentic relationships with journalists can make all the difference when it comes to trust. If a journalist trusts that the companies and experts you represent are the real deal, they’re much more likely to interview your experts, and come to you for quotes in the future. 

I’ve seen firsthand the significant impact that well-executed media relations can have on a company’s success. By investing in these valuable relationships, B2B tech companies can achieve greater recognition, trust and growth in their industry.

Written by Elliot Gardner

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