We are often asked “What is Media Relations?”
It is tempting to confuse media relations and public relations. While both are fundamentally about relationships and valuable connections, the two have different emphases.
Public relations builds a mutually beneficial relationship between organizations and the public. Media can be an important tool in implementing this relationship, creating a connection between a group and the public, but Media Relations is a different communication process altogether.
Media Relations involves working with various media for the purpose of informing the public of an organization’s mission. It is where public relations professionals work with members of the media to publicize companies and through earned news coverage in print, broadcast, and online media.
This is different from simple advertising because there is no fee to place a news story. The advantage a public relations firm has over a marketing team is that earned media helps establish credibility for a company. Studies show that people are more likely to believe a news story than an ad. This comes from the fact that journalists are expected to objectively analyze the news they report on, while an ad is expected to be biased.
While the communication between the media and the organization can be started by either party, it’s important to note that the media cannot be controlled. The best media relation agency will have the connections that are vital to the success of the media relations team.
Organizations often compile what is known as a media list, or a list of possible media outlets who may be interested in an organization’s information. The media can consist of thousands of magazine publications, newspapers, and TV and radio stations. Therefore, when a “newsworthy” event occurs in an organization, a media list can assist in determining which media outlet may be the most interested in a particular story.
Working with the media on behalf of an organization allows for awareness of your entity to be raised. This also allows the ability to create an impact with targeted audiences. Wide ranges of media become engaged and are used to encourage audiences of both large and small sizes.
While a public relations team will encompass more than earned media, the best media relations firms will have strong, developed relationships with media officials. This will give your efforts a strong ‘signal boost’ over other public relations agencies that do not have said connections.