Media relations, or press relations as it is sometimes referred to, is a major public relations activity, and a powerful publicity tool for both product and corporate promotion. Media relations are established and maintained by contacts with editors to ascertain their interest and needs, and develop a match between the editor’s wants and the client’s strengths. In many instances the conclusion is one or more stories, in an individual news outlet, about the company, its people, products, market, growth, etc..Such stories may be one man/ one company stories, or part of larger roundup stories where the views of many are applied to a single idea.
Once an effective media relations program gets rolling, editorial contacts may be instigated by either the editor or the public relations professional. The effectivness of the professional handling multiple clients is leveraged by the high ratio of meeting successfully the informational needs of inquiring editors with interesting and newsworthy material available from more than one source. It is worth stating that the high-success ratio leads to an ever -increasing number of inquiries from busy editors and increasing opportunities for editorial coverage for the professional’s clients. The editors know who the pro’s are and they regard them like similar “complimentary” professionals in any line of work.
A successful editorial match results in one of several actions. The editor will ask for additional information for publication. This may be provided by the professional or sometimes by the client. The editor may accept an invitation to visit the client’s facilities to learn more about the company and its people, either as background material or for publication. This requires the client to be ready to provide sufficient insight for the editor to make the visit worthwhile for both parties. The client, too, may provide time and talent for discussions, demonstrations, and entertainment. The editor may request that specific material be prepared for publication. If the request is agreed to, every effort must be made to comply within any agreed-upon deadlines. The material may be prepared by client management or technical staff, with or without the assistance of public relations professionals. The material may also be prepared by the professional for the client’s pre-submittal approval.
Media relations programs are established generally by budgeting a specific number of hours per month and associated expenses, and establishing a generalized and flexible description of the messages and goals. The success of the program is dependent upon finding and capitalizing on targets of opportunity.