It has been said, and remains so that a brand is more than a logo. To connect with their customers on a deeper level, companies use branding to convey a unique personality, essence, or vision to their target audience. Through things like website design, tone of voice and even marketing, you can develop a reputation, for the business, that drives sales and opportunities.
However, it’s difficult to create a solid reputation using nothing but your own marketing messages. That’s because when you are new to a business landscape, new market or you have a new product or service, you may not have the weight or authority to roundly and truly influence the way that your customers feel. It takes a lot of time, proof and persuasion to convince your audience that you are the fun-loving, socially conscious, responsive and trustworthy brand that you say you are. That is where media relations comes into the picture.
What is media relations?
Media relations is a subset of public relations. While public relations involves the way that you present yourself to everyone (the general public), media relations concentrates on brands’ interactions with a very specific audience: the media.
In the past, it was a lot easier to define media relations. The number of outlets that people had for information was limited. For a long time, we had the radio, television, and newspapers or magazines. Now, however, we’re living in a digital world where media relations can include everything from interactions with influencers to discussions with bloggers, and more.
To keep things simple with our media relations definition, we refer to it as a mutually beneficial relationship between a brand and a specific media outlet. That media outlet can be anything, from offline newspapers or journals in a particular industry to a blog or even a vlog channel. The only important thing to remember is that the media contact needs to have sway over a specific group of people. Hopefully, those people will be in your target audience.
As well as publishing a new news story on your website and your social media pages, your media relations campaign could mean that you share that message:
On industry forums.
On specific news websites.
Through television and radio shows.
In magazines and print media.
Through vlogs and videos from influencers.
On social media (via influencers).
The better your media relationship becomes, the easier it will be to ensure that you’re reaching a wide and engaged audience every time you have something important to say.
Why is media relations important?
A note of warning here: Media relations isn’t just another promotional strategy.
You won’t use your connections with influencers and journalists every time you have something new to share. What’s more, media relations can’t be a substitute for a proper strategy for the development of brand identity. You still need to run marketing campaigns and prove yourself to your audience in other ways.
However, media relations can help to complement your brand activities, to generate more attention, and more credibility for your brand.
Here are some of the biggest benefits of media relations:
Trust development: Potential customers are more influenced by the people that they trust, from market influencers to journalists, than brands. A company can tell a client that it’s reliable and valuable for decades, and that message still won’t hit home until another, credible figure confirms it.
Brand reach: Posting a news story about your business on your website is great. On the other hand, if you publish a story through a media outlet, you expand your brand reach to include everyone in that company’s audience. The right media relationship can expand your sales opportunities and help you to reach new possible clients like never before.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) potential: When you interact with various forms of digital media to improve your position online, you can also benefit from search engine results. Backlinks and mentions from other authority brands can help boost your position too. This is particularly true in the age of E-A-T, where Google is prioritizing Expertise, Authority and Trust.
For existing companies, a solid media relations strategy adds credibility and weight to the message that you’re sending out in the world. For new businesses, the benefits of media relations can ensure that you grow and gain attention much faster than you would on your own.
The Nigeria Institute of Public Relations (NIPR) defines public relations as a “strategic communication process” that builds relationships between businesses and the public. On the other hand, media relations is all about strengthening the ties that you have with specific influencers, journalists, and editors that will help you to reach your adoring public. While public relations shapes the message that you want to send to your wider audience, media relations provides a megaphone and a wider area to cover.
Media relations is how you give some extra punch or weight to the message you’re sending out to the world, by filtering your content through a more credible environment.
Make the most of your media relationship
With the right media relations, businesses of all sizes and backgrounds can accelerate their growth and discover new opportunities. However, it’s important to remember that media relations aren’t a one-size-fits-all concept. The definition of “media” as we used to know it is changing. With things like social media, blogs, vlogs and podcasts to think about, the way that you define media relations for your business might be very different to the strategies another company uses in the same industry.
Last line: The key to successful media relations campaigns and processes is finding the outlets that have the most influence over, and impact on your target audience, develop the right strategies, and shoot your shot.