All too often business executives do not get to interact with editors and journalists on a more senior level and in an in-depth manner. Most media interactions are surface-based and focus on specific stories or topics of current interest.
As public relations and communications professionals, we usually wait for news stories before we get in touch with the media. However, establishing a continuing relationship with the media is useful rather than just contacting them when we need to push a particular story.
A good way to establish relationships with editors and journalists is to schedule a meet and greet between your clients’ executives and the media.
Why should your clients meet the media?
Organising a meet and greet is a great way of allowing members of the media to spend quality time with your client’s senior staff and spokespeople in order to get an in-depth understanding of their organisation’s business and areas of focus. This information could serve to provide more background, insight and substance for future media coverage.
Meeting with editors and journalists will provide your client’s with an opportunity to showcase their businesses to media practitioners or decision-makers. It will also help them to understand better what the media is looking for in terms of possible stories. The opportunities and discussions arising at the meeting could be developed by the media to maximise your client’s media profile and industry standing.
Inviting the media to meet one of your client’s senior executives face to face is the best way for them to build media awareness of your clients business, its brand, product offering, key staff and business strategy, which in return could help increase the media profile of your client by allowing key staff to network with the media.
It’s also a good way to showcase your client’s key stories and success to the media as well as assist both client and the media in fostering long term sustainability of your client as the thought leader of choice in its industry sector.
Remember: The purpose of the meeting is to introduce your client to the media. The meeting will probably be more conversational, with the journalist asking general questions. The goal is that, during the meeting, the journalist should be able to identify a news angle or trend of interest.
How to prepare for the meeting
Before meeting with a journalist or editor, make sure that he or she has plenty of background information about your client. Ideally, you should send them a media package before the meeting that provides background information on your client. The media pack should contain a corporate profile containing all information relevant and pertinent to your client, and it should be presented in a manner that is not construed to be advertising.
The media pack should be provided on a branded flash disc and presented in a presentation box. Other information that may be included on the flash disc are profiles of senior staff members, case studies etc.
Who should you invite?
Broadcast, print and online media journalists and reporters pertinent to your client’s areas of speciality and focus should be your primary target audience. If your client’s business focuses on a particular industry, trade publications journalists and reporters shouldn’t be overlooked as they need sources as well.
It is important to remember that journalists are usually looking for news and trends that are local but have a national appeal or impact.
What to do after the meeting
On the cease of the meeting, offer to be an on-call useful resource by offering to check information in stories and provide quotes, feedback or background information within your client’s area of practice.
You should aim to stay in contact with reporters periodically, even if it’s via a quick email. Update the reporter or journalist with developments which you suppose could possibly interest them.
If the journalist suggests he or she could be able to write a story based totally on the communication with your client, offer to review your client’s quote or quotes for accuracy or to fact-check the reporter’s story for authentic mistakes.
Do not be indignant if the journalist declines your offer – it isn’t always standard for journalists to share their stories with sources earlier than publishing, but every now and then they do, so it wouldn’t hurt to ask.
Leago Monareng is a senior PR consultant at AceCubePR. He is a professional who values quality over quantity, and has a proven record for successfully partnering with brands and business organisations to drive business growth and build their brand among key stakeholders through strategic public relations planning and execution.
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