PR Essentials: Are you ready for the media?

PR Essentials: Are you ready for the media? When Oprah retired every PR professional across the country let out a unanimous sigh of relief.  As a media mogul, Oprah had the ability to make your once small town company turn into a household name.  However, what most businesses—particularly small ones—sometimes overlooked was their unique and almost necessary need to become their own media outlet.  As a company, The MEPR Agency treats each client like they are a media outlet and we believe that it is essential to shape and share your own brand story which makes it much easier to tell when the media comes calling.

But with all that being said there is still one question that is often asked around our office…”How can I get (more) media attention for my company?”  Well since it is so common we thought we should take a small part of our PR Essentials program and share with you—our valuable reader—how to prepare for the media!

So here are the questions we begin with!

What do we need first?

  1. A communications plan to outline story ideas, editorial calendars, media protocol, company and team bios, and even a crisis plan
  2. A company spokesperson. Think about who can articulate the company best—and they may not be the CEO/president/founder
  3. Identify who can distribute information.  Who is the keeper of information and what are they authorized to share?

What is our story?

  1. Is this newsworthy or something that is better shared within a blog post or on social networks?
  2. Is your message national, local, or industry specific?  We encourage localizing as many stories as possible to connect with the community.
  3. Where is the emotion or connecting factor? How will people connect to this story and adopt it as something worth sharing?
  4. Are there outside people or companies who can lend to our story?  If so, be sure to communicate with them and share your media protocol.
  5. Are you a high crisis company? If so, create a crisis plan—even just an outline—of who can give what information, the best ways to share it, and commonly asked questions.

Who is the audience?

  1. Who is our target audience? Be as specific as possible—including age, race, socioeconomics-- as it will help you identify the type of outlet (trade, local, national, wire service)
  2. What type of information do they traditionally like to receive? (mailers, newsletters, email, robo-call)
  3. What other mediums can you use to communicate with them (YMCA bulletin board, local Kroger’s inserts, community center newsletter)

The media is calling so what do I do?

  1. When media requests come in promptly (within 30 minutes) respond to the inquiry and provide the additional details requested
  2. Understand the deadlines and needs of the varied types of outlets—blogs, talk radio vs music radio, television midday or specialty show vs television news, trade publications, daily paper vs (bi)weekly paper
  3. As they book the interview be sure to include an after hours number, confirm the details of the date, find out specifics about what to wear, and will you need to come camera ready
  4. Prepare yourself and the outlet with talking points to frame the conversation but be prepared for other general questions about your company/campaign
  5. Ask them if they can/will post the link to their social sites or online
  6. Follow up with a thank you and you may even send a hand-written note
  7. You may also then use that link or footage to share with your audience through your own social networks.  Let people celebrate with you.
  8. Now it’s time to focus on another outlet or avenue to touch that same community again
  9. Don’t forget to keep a file available with updated photos, bios, talking points, and additional company specs on your laptop and possibly even your cell phone

Remember these things:

  1. The media is not there to sell a product for you but to connect one of your stories with their audience.
  2. Your website, social media platforms, and blog should be a snapshot of your brand; pretend as if people only view you through these mediums.  The media (and their audience) will get their information from these places.
  3. You are your own media and should treat your company like an internal newsroom; create company newsletters or e-blasts, have a specific intranet system to share information, and encourage the team (even contractors) to blog or video themselves.
  4. The media is 24/7 and at a moment’s notice your story could be cancelled or they could call you to fill in. If you are seeking media…be flexible!

While there is so much more to the PR and media relations process but this should be a good place to start.  What have you found worked when you were seeking media attention?

If this was a good start but you need more specific help we’d love to connect with you for a more customized PR Essentials program!

Kia Jarmon is a Public Relations & Brand Strategist with boutique public relations firm, The MEPR Agency (www.MEPRagency.com). She speaksblogsmentors, and is soon to be an author. You can find more information at her personal brand site, www.KiaJarmon.com