How to turn your media relations into media relationships

It’s not often that I get jazzed about the topic of media relations. In fact, it’s usually just the opposite.

As an editor, ducking clumsy pitches (in all media) and screening calls are part of the job. But while working in the marcom trenches, I learned to sympathize with PR folks who have to deal with editors and reporters, and the often unfair bad rap that PR has to overcome.

The eye-opener? Working with a media relations pro who set the gold standard for the job.

PR 2.0 or Relationships 101?

It was never about cranking out banal press releases or heavy-handed pitches. Instead, she did hours of research, became a subject expert in her clients’ fields, provided compelling, relevant story ideas to the right journalists at the right times — and did all the right things to build relationships. She asked incisive questions, knew her stuff, and in turn, earned enormous respect. On a tight budget, too.

Prominent coverage followed. Major papers, tv news, trade pubs. Clip files that many organizations only dream about. And all pre-Twitter.

Social media doesn’t change everything

These days, with social media, Twitter and Facebook generating so much buzz, things are getting simultaneously easier and harder. Sure, these avenues can help you get your foot in the door easily with some media types, but others have already barred the social media door to PR. Are you linking in — or spamming? How do you figure out not only whom to approach, but how?

That brings us right back to the gold standard: relationship building.

Let’s face it, with or without social media, for many of us not named Godin, Kawasaki, Brogan or Battelle, cultivating relationships can still be time-consuming, hard work. It’s not always fun and there are no guaranteed shortcuts.

But there are tools that can help you get and stay organized, and make the process of building your media relationships much more efficient. And that’s what I’m jazzed about.

A special media relations eWorkshop and toolkit

Today at 4:00 p.m., we’re kicking off our new eWorkshop series with a session on building an effective, sustainable media relations program, including a half-dozen tools plus a campaign playbook.

After reviewing the toolkit, and seeing the components in action, I’m convinced that pros and novices alike will benefit from the tools and strategies in this special eWorkshop.

So no matter what your experience level, with the stakes getting higher every day, why not carve out an hour this afternoon to join us and raise your media relations game?

[Links updated to point to completed eWorkshop presentation.]

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