Paparazzi

The rise of media relations in the marketing mix

More and more businesses are implementing media relations as part of their PR activities, bidding farewell to the ‘no comment’ days of the past. Businesses are opting to be transparent with their target audiences to increase brand awareness, credibility and ultimately sales.

This is good news, because media relations can be easily executed at little cost making it just as easy for small businesses to maximise on the opportunities presented by media relations as big businesses do.

The benefits that a well-executed media relations campaign can produce for a business were demonstrated by the recent successful launch of taxi hailing smartphone application, ingogo. The ‘Driving a Sydney Taxi Revolution’ campaign was developed by Beyond The Square Communication to build brand awareness and trust among three core targets in order to recruit taxi drivers, incite passenger downloads and usage of the app, as well as engage potential investors.

Over a four month period, mass positive media coverage was generated with 74 features achieved. As a result of the wide-spread publicity, 1,000 Sydney taxi drivers were recruited, 35,000+ passenger downloads were recorded and two additional major investors were secured.

If you would like to replicate the success of this media campaign, here are some relations tips:

  • Develop and understand key messages– Before a business can develop its public image the communicator must know who the business is and how it wants to be perceived. Businesses must ask, ‘Who are we? What do we do? What do we stand for? And what is our Unique Selling Point (USP)?’ Once this is established key messages for the brand should be developed. It is then vital to ensure that the key messages are present in all media relations.
  • Know the media– Show the journalist that you are familiar with their work and the media they work for. When submitting information for news, identify where in their publication the news feature would be suitable and be specific for instance, ‘the new product page.’
  • Be relevant– All actions taken to develop the brand’s image must be relevant to that brand. Henceforth, there is no point seeking publicity in a magazine whose content and audience has no relevance to the business. This will waste the business’ time and put the journalist offside for wasting their time too.
  • Content is king– The content that a business is intending to submit to the media for potential news inclusion should be carefully considered and aligned to that media. For instance, be sure to include a sound bite for radio, photos for newspapers and magazines and video footage for TV/online. Also, all content submitted to the media must be strategic and in-line with communication objectives. Businesses should never ‘just throw something together.’
  • Newsworthiness of the content– The biggest mistake businesses make is when they overstate the newsworthiness of the information they release to the media. The key to making content stand-out is to have a strong, topical ‘news-angle’- something the journalist can write about that will benefit their audience. Common approaches include tapping into current topics, integrating case studies, and incorporating statistics and trends.

Businesses should keep this in mind for all announcements and news, after all, journalists are writing for their audience – not for the business’ brand. PR gives a voice to a business. If used effectively it can create valuable relationships with key stakeholders and cement a brand’s position in the market.

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