Hit My Line: Tips for Working in Media Relations

So, you wanna send a press release, eh?  It’s edited to perfection, there are some great quotes and the event is worth attending. However, getting coverage on it?

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For those of us just starting out, it’s difficult to build a relationship with the media/working in media relations. The good news is that I listened to four media relations professionals speak at a PRSSA Regional Conference and they dropped some knowledge. Hopefully, these tips help and you can also kill it in media relations!

1. Befriend the media

Don’t only pitch press when you need something from them. Reach out when you have something to give them. You’re genuinely trying to build a relationship. It’s about cultivating honesty and trust.

— Robyn Harney, Publicist at Sony Pictures

Public relations professionals work hand-in-hand with journalists. So, instead of only reaching out to them when we need something, we gotta be friends. Be kind and offer something in turn. Take them out to lunch to talk about things other than work. Oh wow, they watch Game of Thrones? Consider tagging them on a post about the final season. Offer an extra ticket to an event you know they would enjoy. Shoot them a happy birthday message. It is all about cultivating a trusting and genuine long-lasting relationship, so be a good friend. That can take you far.

2. See the bigger picture

It’s being prepared and having your plans in place, but then also being able to turn on a dime and change the plan

— Yvonne Graham, Publicity Director at Disney-ABC

In the world of PR, having a plan is critical but also know that nothing is definite. Crises happen: cars break down and our schedule can be thrown into chaos, someone says something they shouldn’t have, etc. It’s important to have Plan A but make sure to have a contingency plan. Think big and be capable of taking different avenues to meet the end goal.

3. Order some inner strength (in bulk)
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Jessica Nueman, Yvonne Graham, Vanessa Kromer, Robyn Harney speaking at 2018 PRSSA Regional Conference at California State University, Fullerton

I remember my first internship the very first pitch call, I got yelled at by the New York Times. And it’s just brushing that off. It’s hard being the recipient of someone’s bad day, but there are other forces at play. It’s not about you.

— Jessica Nueman, Media Manager and Senior Account Executive at Westbound Communications

People probably will yell at us. A lot. We also will get rejected multiple times, but let’s not take it personally! Brush it off, get even more creative with our pitches and keep it pushin’.

4. Read.

“I read every single morning. I read the LA Times, I have Google alerts for all of my venues. I get through all the headlines and get the gist. And who wrote it is important. You need be up on whatever it is.

— Vanessa Kromer, Vice President of Communications at Nederlander Concerts

PR is not just about writing well; it’s about reading well too. We have to stay up to date on the news revolving around our specific company and what is happening in the world. Be cognizant of and sensitive to unexpected events and tragedies. Don’t forget to keep an eye on the happenings in Washington. By educating ourselves on what is going on in society, we become better communicators, ultimately making us more valuable.