Media relations is an integral part of every successful marketing plan. It shapes your company brand, tells your unique story to the news media, and generates sales leads. By maintaining a consistent stream of news, you tell prospects, customers, competitors, and the media that you are a vibrant business and a key player in the industry.
As with journalism, storytelling is at the heart of good public relations. What’s my story, you may ask? The unique benefits of your products and services. Your perspective on the industry. You are a resource to the news media. By understanding that dynamic you can develop a mutually beneficial relationship.
Below are seven basic steps to consider when planning a media relations campaign:
- Each month read the top publications of your industry. You don’t have to read a dozen magazines, but scan three or four and get familiar with their staff and story topics. (For example, if you’re in the recruitment and staffing space, read Workforce Management and Human Resource Executive).
- Review the editorial calendars of these publications. This is where you’ll get some basic insight on what topics the pubs plan to cover each year (*Note – HRmarketer subscribers can access editorial calendars in the database profiles of all major publications.) Coverage topics are always subject to change, because “edcals” are primarily designed to assist a publication’s advertising staff. Still, they are the most reliable guide for planning media pitches and press release topics.
- Develop your own editorial calendar to map out topics for future news announcements and possible bylined articles. What new products and services are you launching this year? Why are they vital to your customers and the industry? What makes them different from your competitors? What research have you done that might interest readers? Any industry trends that you foresee?
- Keep tabs on your competitors and read their press releases. How can you differentiate yourself? Do you have similar news on the horizon? Do you have a better story to tell? Also, read your competitor’s published articles to inspire your own article pitches.
- Formalize a press release calendar for the year and outline the first few releases you’d like to send out. At minimum you should distribute one release per quarter, but we recommend once a month (or more if your company is a hotbed of activity).
- Develop an ongoing media list of major industry trades, business pubs, business journals, newspapers, and online newsletters that cover your space. Be sure you are targeting the right publications and journalists. Don’t “blitz” your news to every publication — it’s a fast way to get blacklisted. Make sure each and every news release is appropriate for the journalist to whom you’re sending.
- Campaigns should always include a newswire outlet such as HRmarketer’s Direct2Net service with PR Web. Newswire releases are the best way to reach search engines and related news portals, many of which are syndicated throughout the Internet. You’ll be amazed at how many places a release might appear, increasing your potential to attract sales leads and media interest. Also, increasing numbers of buyers in the HR space use the Internet to “shop” for potential vendors, so it’s important to be highly visible on search engines such as Google and Yahoo!.
Marketing is hard work, but HRmarketer.com makes it easier to plan, manage, execute, track and measure your marketing and PR efforts.
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