In the public relations (PR) world, you must know how to work with the media if you want your story or your organization’s story to be in the spotlight and represented well. FPRA Pensacola Chapter welcomed a panel of media professionals on April 19 to share their advice on how to form good partnerships between PR and the media.
The media panel included Andrew McKay of News Radio 1620, Dave Dunwoody of WUWF, Allie Norton of WEAR ABC 3 TV, Brian Lester of Navarre Press, and Derek Cosson of The Pulse. Each panelist shared insights, experiences and helpful tips at how any professional can maintain a good relationship with each of them, the media.
Here are 10 takeaways for PR professionals to work efficiently with the media:
- Know how to handle yourself in a crisis situation. Understand crisis communication. Be honest about what’s happening and don’t bury the issues.
- Ensure that your press release has everything needed to convey the full story. Don’t leave any holes or gaps. A release should be written so that no follow-up is needed. Always include a photo with the press release.
- Have a good, positive attitude and interaction with the media. Don’t be on the defensive with them.
- Respond to media in a timely manner. Pick up the phone and answer their calls, even if it is after hours, to tell the story. At times, media can only contact you during non-business hours.
- Include ALL media outlets in your news. Don’t be exclusive and don’t forget to include the local radio stations in your stories. They want access to you and they’d like a chance to tell the story too, not just TV or newspapers.
- Take the time to know your media contacts on a personal level. Those relationships are key to a good working partnership.
- Find out the method of communication that your media contact prefers and use that to communicate. (Whether it is text, an email or a phone call, learn what each person wants and follow that guideline each time for quicker responses).
- Provide as much lead time as possible for your story to get it out there and help the media plan. If it is a weekend story or nighttime event, media like radio stations may consider doing an early story to promote it.
- Be honest and have thicker skin. Remember that the media have an obligation to ask questions and tell the truth to the community. Give the media as much accurate information as possible so they can work with you, not against you.
- Invite the media. Ask them. Ask them again. Follow up when it’s important. But also remember that they can’t cover everything.
Thank you to our panel for the great information shared. Did you attend the meeting and gain another takeaway worth sharing? Will you implement any of these strategies in your partnerships with the media? Share with us what you found useful and will be doing in your media partnerships. Join us for our next FPRA meeting on May 17 and find your #PurposeInPR and your #FPRA_Balance.