A significant part of the digital public relations profession includes working with the media. Digital PR seeks to gather publicity that benefits a client. Therefore, learning the best way to develop as well as manage relationships with reporters and editors is essential to your outreach strategy.
What is media relations?
The terms ‘media relations’ refers to the mutually beneficial relationship between journalists and digital PR professionals. One of the biggest benefits of these interactions, for journalists, is:
- The easy access to story ideas, as well as
- Convenient access to sources.
Reporters devote a significant amount of time in addition to effort assembling information to write a story. Working with digital PR professionals cuts down on the time required to search for sources and other information in order to validate an article’s content.
Public relations professionals benefit from media relations as it secures free publicity in addition to promotion for a client. Through the process of using media as a promotional tool, they are able to reach a large audience without high costs.
Ethics that digital PR professionals need to keep in mind with media relations
In the day and age of the multitude of fake news, it’s difficult for reporters to know who to trust as well as where to source reliable data. If an organisation should be noted in an article may be a challenging ethical decision for a journalist. Questions which will be going through their minds are:
- Is this resource an expert?
- Can a vendor be an impartial source as well as an expert?
Paying for placements without revealing that money has changed hands is never grey. When a brand or PR agency pays a writer for placement needs to be disclosed. That is not media relations – it’s paid advertising. In a similar fashion, when a brand pays an influencer that too must be clearly disclosed.
The Value of Media Relationships
PR is not merely about the number of clips you can acquire for a brand. Yes, we would like to see that the brand mentioned favourably in print, however that’s an outcome or consequence of our “real” job. Our real job is to build brands as well as reputations – for the organisation at large or its executives, thought leaders in addition to customers.
Part of this brand or reputation-building derives from our being gurus of media relations. Putting together a strong relationship with a reporter happens over time – after having connected him/her to credible experts, opinions or data they need to write powerful stories. By providing reporters with valuable information, we start to gain their trust and build a relationship.