Any PR pro worth their salt knows traditional media coverage is still a core part of an excellent PR strategy. Yet some PR pros seem to be better at getting their clients placements than others. It may seem like magic, but it’s really all about finding, building, and maintaining relationships with media: aka Media Relations. If you are new to PR, or if you have concentrated on digital media until now and need to branch out, you may be wondering how you can work this magic for yourself. We have tips (and tools) to help.
One quick way to find the best journalists, personalities, and influencers to start and grow relationships with is to use keyword research to generate lists of highly targeted media professionals. This can be done in a few ways: through search engines that allow boolean targeted search strings, through influencer specific list purchases, or through tools designed to coordinate, nurture, and sort media relationships by keyword, history, and angle.
Using boolean search strings like “AND”, “OR”, “site:KEYWORD” etc. can dramatically narrow your searches. This is much more useful than simply tossing a journalist’s name in Google and seeing what comes up. By using search strings you can search keywords, topics, and angles and find journalists writing about the topics that are most closely aligned to your clients’ needs. This can get cumbersome, however. You can’t automatically build your lists using searches like this. You have to manually track your contacts through your email, your CRM, or some other external program.
This is the most expensive and the least direct method of finding and nurturing journalist relationships. Because you don’t have much input into how the lists are sorted, you are stuck with too many names that aren’t closely tied to what your clients want and need. Since these lists are often in an excel sheet and emailed to those who purchase them, they aren’t a living updated document. These lists can occasionally be useful for one-time events like trade shows but support a more “spray and pray” strategy. It might be a component of your larger media strategy, but it wouldn’t make a great cornerstone.
These give you the biggest bang for your buck, and for your effort. With the right keyword tool you can create useful lists of media professionals that you can then build relationships from. Before you dive in, understand what topics your clients are most aligned with, then use those to ferret out the journalists that cover them most often. Tools like this give you insight into the topics each journalist engages with more often, so you don’t waste your time. Additionally, with access to an influencer and media database you can sort by date range, keyword, topic, angle, location, beat, role, publication, media channel or name. This allows you to finely hone which media you are approaching. Not only that, you can track your contact with each media influencer inside these tools, and share the lists you build with your team. This makes getting media placement for your client much easier, and enables you to build relationships with media over time much more easily.
Keep an eye on the publications and channels of the journalists you want to reach. Are they struggling to keep up in some areas? Are they having to work with a reduced staff? Do you see openings where you can offer to help them with content from your clients? This is one easy way to stay front of mind for media you want to reach – and being helpful costs you nothing but time. You can also make it easy and clear how to connect with your clients for stories. Don’t make the media search for what to do next. In this short attention span economy, you want their attention on you to be sustained. If you keep your media searches and relationship building tightly focused and look for openings for your clients to be useful, you’ll find great success in mastering media relations.
If you’re ready for the next step in nurturing media relationships for future coverage, download our ebook about extending your PR capabilities with pointers from content marketing.