The need for brand credibility should never be underestimated. Even some of the fastest-growing industries feel the sting when they fall out of favor with the public – just look at the examples of stocks plummeting overnight.
Only PR can avoid such situations and bridge that trust gap between a business and its customers. And, media relations have always formed a critical part of PR.
What Do You Understand by the Term Media Relations?
Media relations can be defined as a relationship an organization (or an individual) develops with journalists. It involves the strategic deployment of the media in telling the organizational story in a positive, consistent and credible manner. It seeks the dissemination of the organization’s objective to an audience outside the organization’s immediate reach and involves the transmission of messages via the mass media. Media relations therefore stand on a tripod: the Organization (Sender), the Media (Transmitter) and the Target Audience (Receiver). On the other hand, Public Relations, as I’ve explained in my other blogs, extends that relationship beyond the media to the general public. Gaining exposure to their audiences using topics of public interest and news items that do not require direct payment.
Media Relations: An Art or Science?
There is little doubt that the media is an all-pervasive and key part of modern society and communications. However, is media relations an art or science? And if it is both, as most practitioners believe.
So, let us analyze both scenarios:
A Media Relation Is Essentially the Art of Engagement.
Engagement here operates at two levels:
- Media Operators Engagement:
This involves relating with Media Operators via Press Releases, Media Tours and Press
- End-user or Audience Engagement:
This involves answering questions raised on publications about your organization in the media and gauging their reaction against your objective.
Media Relations Is Also a Science Because It Involves Systemic Planning and Measurement.
Effective Media Relations often depends on designing and implementing a well-thought-out plan.
It involves audience targeting, media segmentation and media measurement in the attainment of its goals. The plan often includes a description of what you want to convey to whom and how you plan to convey it. A media plan, for instance, specifies what media methods can be used and when.
The Science of Media Relations
1. Analyse: Understand the target audience and of the media that will capture the audience’s
2. Strategic Design: Consider organization objective and strategically design a plan of
3. Development/Pretesting & Production: Develop a message that aligns with the
organization interest and the issues the organization desire to project.
4. Management, Implementation and Monitoring: Manage the media to achieve your
5. Impact/Evaluation: Evaluate the reaction of your target audience.
6. Planning for continuity.
Purpose of Media Relations:
- To build awareness through third-party sources
- To create an understanding of an issue or position
- To develop public image; foster goodwill toward the organization
- To publicize a new product or service
Today’s Media Landscape
Technology has changed our notions about media, especially the concept of mass media. Three
fundamental changes that impact on public relations are:
1. Audiences have become fragmented, choosing ever-smaller niche media for their own
unique needs, as opposed to being part of an undifferentiated mass;
2. Audiences are more active, choosing two-way media that permit interactivity, as opposed to
one-way media that allowed only passive reception of information;
3. A “journalist” today is anybody with a camera cell phone and Internet access,
- Technology has drastically changed the way client get information
- Blogs, podcasts, etc.
- Broadcast / print media are losing “share of mind”. Only 1/3 get information from TV news
- Newspaper readership (printed) has dropped; recent circulations: down 2.8% daily and 3.4% Sunday
- Online editions are adding readers and advertising revenues are at a healthy pace
- More than 30 million people in the U.S. read blogs
- Traditional media are stretched thin and struggling to keep up with online competitors (i.e., news sites and blogs)
- Editorial space is shrinking, fighting to be first and pressured to produce
Do you think media relations is as important as it is claimed?