By: Ellis Mendon
While much of public relations has gone digital, there is still tremendous value in facilitating good, old-fashioned facetime between journalists and company executives. Media tours are critical for relationship building and help increase chances for deeper coverage on a company and its products or services.
So, how do you make the most out of one? Here are our four tips for ensuring success.
1. Consider the calendar
Before you nail down dates for your trip, have a thorough look through an events board to make sure your visit isn’t overlapping with other key events going on. The last thing you want to do is have to compete for a journalist’s attention and time. A helpful and reliable site to use when planning is Techmeme.
If you’re travelling internationally, be sure to consider national holidays. You don’t want to wind up booking your trip when journalists are off work.
2. Engage with journalists
When it comes to securing interest for briefings, it’s important to make sure you are pitching them effectively and meeting journalists via their preferred style of communication, whether that be email, text message or social media platforms like Twitter. Do your research before conducting outreach. If you know that a journalist is active on Twitter and their bio says they are open to receiving pitches via DM, shoot them a message on the social platform.
And yes, while the overall group is a dying breed, there are still some journalists that have a desk phone that they answer. No two journalists are the same.
3. Make the narrative relevant
It’s safe to say that no matter what media market you are working in, journalists are interested in learning how your announcement or story fits into the wider picture. You can guarantee that at some point during a journalist briefing, he or she will broach the subject of current events or introduce a recent trend. They will want to hear your spokesperson’s POV on the matter and learn how the announcement and/or company ties into what’s happening.
Do your homework ahead of the interview and prep your spokesperson for success. If the publication you are meeting with has a specific focus that fits nicely with your business’ focus or point of view, have your spokesperson reference it to show they are familiar with the publication and were thoughtful in scheduling the meeting.
4. Foster relationships
If your company executive is on social media, have them follow the journalist on Twitter and take the time to read through some of their recent coverage before the meeting. This will help him/her understand the journalist’s tone and provide insight into what topics they have written about.
Having this background knowledge can also be a good way for the spokesperson to break the ice with the journalist and relate to their interests, finding a common ground for where they can connect beyond the company news.
After the media tour is finished, it’s important to follow up with journalists on any lingering items you promised. It’s also nice added touch for your executive to handwrite or email a note to the journalists who they met with thanking them for their time. After all, the overall intent of this process is about bettering relationships with influential media.
Ellis Mendon is a senior account executive in Allison+Partners’ London office.