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The Media Relations SequenceWorking in public relations at an agency means my workday is filled with multiple projects with multiple clients. Whether I’m helping a brand understand how to be engaging on social media, interviewing a client about their recent volunteerism for a story or pitching a reporter about an acquisition, my work day keeps me on my toes. That’s definitely what I love about working in PR, but it’s the media relations aspect that really keeps it exciting.

The media relations "sequence" can look something like this:
  • Identify newsworthy stories
  • Gather information
  • Create a media outreach plan
  • Craft strategic pitches (because one pitch does not fit all)
  • Meet up with a member of the media to discuss in person
  • Use the time waiting to hear back from a reporter to move onto other responsibilities, which very well might be other parts of the cycle for other projects
  • Receive feedback, whether it’s an interested reporter/editor/producer/etc., a decline or radio silence
  • Work with the media member on either scheduling an interview, determining story guidelines, finding out their deadline, submitting a byline, etc.
  • Report back to your client on further steps to complete the above list
  • Mark your calendar for the coverage to run
  • Impatiently scan for the article the day it runs
  • Enthusiastically send the coverage to your client
  • Share on social media
  • Begin the cycle again

Public relations professionals spend a lot of time on this system because using media relations is important in reaching business goals. It helps a brand become an industry leader, builds a positive reputation, increases awareness, measures success, drives qualified leads and shares an important story.

Other benefits of media relations include earn credibility, connect with an audience, control a crisis and build mutually beneficial relationships.

Years of pitching don't always equate to this cycle happening quickly, though it does help once you have a good rapport with your media friends. Media relations is an art and science that you should always seek to improve.

Shelby Ray
Shelby Ray
A former HMA Public Relations employee.

1 Comment

  1. Alison Bailin says:

    Love this – for hyperlocal media, I would add that I often start the process by meeting with the media one on one, when I can. I like to ask what they want and need for the next several days, weeks, months, issues, shows, et al. Then, I determine if any of the clients can help them reach there goals, and vice versa. It helps from trying sometimes to fit a round peg in a square hole. I love to know what the media wants, then figure out how to best have our clients help them get it to build a long-term relationship between the client and the media member. I also love being helpful!!

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