Although the terms “public relations” and “media relations” are being used interchangeably, they have specific aspects that separate these terms and it is important to understand them before embarking on a PR Campaign.
Defining Public Relations
PR is defined as a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relations between your company and the public.
The “public” are mainly your customers and prospects but they also include your community members, employees and even competitors. Pretty much, anyone who is a stakeholder for your business or industry. So think of “Media” relations as a narrowed field.
What Is Media Relations?
It encompasses the company’s interaction between specific audiences who are public-facing press and news media. These could be editors and reporters of online and traditional media outlets.
But the lines begin to burn when even everyday people can act as journalists and use social media or blogging platforms to report on and even break news.
However, this is known as citizen journalism, a collection, dissemination and analysis of news and information by the general public.
So as the term “media” grows bigger, who can really fall under the category?
So here’s how you can think in order to differentiate the two:
1. PR uses multiple channels in order to generate public exposure while MR uses only one – the press.
Public relations is about building relationships between organizations and stakeholders. And in order to do so, PR professionals will use a variety of channels such as blogs, social media and special events to communicate directly with those individuals.
However, Media Relations only focuses on one key channel who is The Press. Using only the press as the channel to communicate with stakeholders not only allows you to meet those stakeholders where they already are and use what they are already reading, watching and listening to.
2. PR is the rectangle and MR is the square.
All media relations are public relations but NOT all public relations is media relations. In other words, media relations is a subset of PR. So if you are planning to do an earned media coverage, it’s important to focus on MR.
3. PR shapes the Message. MR provides the Megaphone.
PR professionals take charge in sculpting the message that best represents the brand. And PR can do this to make them go viral by running some ads.
But when it comes to increasing a wider reach, the original and most trusted method is still the media. So if you can plug your company’s story into a timely event, a story, or something that impacts a specific community, your story can reach a larger audience.
The Importance of Media Coverage
Media coverage is important because it lets the public hear and know all about the great things that you are doing and it gives you an opportunity to control the narrative while expanding your reach through free press mentions.
Media coverage also has a larger reach. Think about it, without national media coverage, a lot of brands would never have been built through paid speaking engagements, conferences, and social media brand endorsements.
So if you want to reach your target audience via TV shows, blogs, magazines, newspapers and large publications. Media relations can make that happen.
Benefits of Media Relations
There are plenty of reason why you should improve your relationship with the media. They can help you increase your brand’s awareness as well as gaining credibility.
They can create a different way to help you reach your target audience. Your brand would be able to build a profitable relationsip.
One can also tell your story and message to earn more leads and increase your brand’s visibility especially in a rought industry.
How Can You Improve Your Media Relations?
Although having a good relationship with the media can help boost your PR strategy, you will need to look for journalists who have the same preferences as you. So do some research and approach them where they feel more comfortable.
Just a reminder, journalists are scouring through a lot of stories each day. So if you want to impress them, your story must be presented well and it must be good.
1. Come up with newsworthy stories
It is crucial that when you send stories to journalists, they must be relevant to their audience. You shouldn’t send them sotries unless they are meaningful enough and it matters for your company.
2. Be Yourself
Your news must also be ethical and you must never pretend to be who you aren’t and tell a brand story that is half true. Journalists are good at catching you red handed and it might just end your relationship with them in the long run.
Besides, giving them misleading information can make them feel angry about your brand. So you might just get a negative media coverage instead of a good one.
3. Create a PR friendly website
This one is fairly easy to do. All you need to add are your Press Releases and provide contact details appropriately.
It’s not complicated since you can build a simple “contact us” landing page on your site. The goal here is to make the journalists lives easier to acquire information that they may need to explain your brand’s story.
4. Follow Deadlines
Journalists have deadlines and they work under very strict deadlines. So if they do call you more details, an interview or any other reasons, it’s best to give them a prompt answer.
Otherwise, your story would stop being newsworthy or interesting for them and they will continue with something else.
5. Take Into Account the Publication’s Audience
If you want to increase the chances of having your story published, you will need to do some research. It is mandatory to know what type of topic are the publication’s audience interested in.
Considering these can help you to know whether a publication or their journalists are good candidates who can effectively tell your story.
Media Tracking in Public Relations
There are a lot of ways to track your media placements and press placements but let us explain what media placement is.
It is an earned press coverage that was secured through PR tactics and is not limited to digital media, magazines, newspapers, radio, television, podcasts and others.
However, earned media placements are “earned” through PR and it isn’t an advertisement. Rather your story was interesting enough to write about and publish in these channels.
A PR placement simply refers to the client’s quote that was mentioned in a media outlet or the journalist used their quote and the story was published.
There are several ways in which your business can use this PR placements with clients. You can share these through email, texting screenshots, press clipping reports or by simply sharing the editor feedback one has received with the client mentioning why they were such a good source.