Most media interactions are surface-based and focus on specific stories or topics of current interest, says Leago Monareng, PR consultant at AceCubePR. He says that public relations and communications professionals usually wait until they have news stories before they contact the media.
However, there needs to be an ongoing relationship with the media. A good way to establish relationships with editors and journalists is to schedule a meet and greet between your client's executives and journalists.
Here are four tips on how to go about introducing your client to the media:
1. Organise a 'meet and greet'
Organising a 'meet and greet' is a great way of allowing senior members of the media to spend quality time with your client's senior staff and spokespeople. The event will provide an opportunity to get an in-depth understanding of their organisation's business and areas of focus. This information could serve to provide more background, insight and substance for future media coverage.
Meeting with editors and journalists will provide your clients with an opportunity to showcase their businesses to senior media practitioners or decision-makers. It will also help them to better understand what the media is looking for in terms of possible stories. The opportunities and discussions arising at the meeting could be developed by the media to maximise your client's media profile and industry standing.
2. Invite the media to meet your client's senior executive
Organising a meet-up that is face to face is the best way for the media to build senior-level media awareness of your client's business, its brand, its product offering, its key staff and its business strategy. In turn, this will help increase the media profile of your client by allowing important staff to network with senior media.
It is also a good way to showcase your client's key stories and successes to the senior media, as well as assist both client and the media in fostering long term sustainability of your client as the thought leader of choice in its industry sector. Remember
: The purpose of the meeting is to introduce your client to the media. The meeting will probably be more conversational, with the journalist asking general questions. The should be goal is that, during the meeting, the journalist will be able to identify a news angle or trend of interest.
3. How to prepare for the meeting
Before meeting with a journalist or editor, make sure that he or she has plenty of background information about your client. Ideally, you should send them a media package before the meeting that provides background information on your client.
The media pack should contain a corporate profile containing all information relevant and pertinent to your client. This information must be presented in a manner that is not
construed to be advertising.
The media pack should be provided on a branded flash disc and presented in a presentation box. Other information that may be included on the flash disc are profiles of senior staff members, case studies such as 'Who should you invite?' as well as broadcast, print and online media journalists and reporters pertinent to your client's areas of specialty. These should focus should on your primary target audience.
If your client's business focuses on a particular industry, such as oil and gas, technology or manufacturing, trade publications journalists and reporters shouldn't be overlooked as they need sources as well. It is important to remember that journalists are usually looking for news and trends that are local but also has a national appeal or impact.
4. What to do after the meeting
On the cease of the meeting, offer to be an 'on-call useful resource' by offering to check information in stories and provide quotes, feedback or background information within your client's area of practice. You should aim to stay in contact with reporters periodically, even if it's via a quick email. Additionally, update the reporter or journalist with developments which you suppose could possibly interest them.
If the journalist suggests that he or she would be able to write a story based totally on the communication with your client, offer to review your client's quote or quotes for accuracy, or to fact-check the reporter's story for authentic mistakes. Do not
be indignant if the reporter declines your offer — it isn't always standard for journalists to share their recollections with sources earlier than publishing, but every now and then they do, so it wouldn't hurt to ask.
For more information, visit www.acecubepr.co.za.
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