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Media Relations: A Fundamental Tool of Public Relations

By Mia Pearson, High Road Communications |

When a small company thinks about starting a public relations campaign, they usually have two main goals in mind: improving their bottom line and increasing their stock price. Public relations often provides the most cost-effective method to achieve these goals.

A large part of a good public relations campaign is media relations. Proactively presenting a strong corporate message to the media increases mind share with the general public and builds confidence with the investment community. Effective media relations is accomplished using a variety of communications vehicles and tactics, including press releases, bylined articles, newsletters, case studies and media tours.

In order to achieve results, a company must identify its audience and understand how the media can be used as a conduit to reach it. For example, if the company has a strong reseller channel and wants to reach other resellers, then media relations initiatives would be focused on technology trade magazines aimed at resellers. If the company must reach the investment community, media relations activities would target the financial publications that investors read every day.

Once the audience has been defined, strong corporate messaging should be developed that will position the company favorably with its key audience. The company should decide on three strong messages that will be delivered to the media via speeches, presentations, media kits and announcements. These messages should include information about the strength of its product offerings, its current status in the marketplace and the company's strategic direction moving forward.

The messaging should then be incorporated into company documents, creating a comprehensive press kit. The kit would accompany any news announcements sent to the media, providing necessary background information about the company, including bios of executives, a corporate backgrounder, a market profile, case studies of happy customers and product fact sheets.

Once the kit has been created, the company is ready to attract some media attention by generating pertinent news. Issuing a press release announcing a product launch, a customer win or a corporate acquisition can often generate press coverage. This type of announcement and coverage instills pride amongst employees, increases confidence in investors and generates interest with potential customers.

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