As is often stressed in the classroom, media relations is a lifeline for any company, client or PR associate to have a successful career and relationship with the public. Many students do not have access to learning the ins and outs of media relations until they take a class or land their first internship, but here are some tips to get an idea of what media relations is all about that you can do on your own:
Immerse yourself in the news
If you have your goals set on working in any aspect of communications and you’re not an active follower of the news that should change right about now. While it may seem overwhelming at first, being aware of what is happening beyond one’s bubble is important for being the best in any communications field, even beyond PR! You can start simple by following major news outlets on Twitter or by signing up for newsletters delivered to your inbox every day.
Consider yourself a seasoned consumer of news? Make sure to mix up the sources that you check-in with. Every news outlet, whether local or international, takes on different tones and perspectives when presenting stories or updates. Consider taking the same story from different outlets and comparing the differences you see in writing and overall presentation of the information. Understanding these differences from a PR perspective can help you get the ball rolling on understanding how you may pitch stories differently to each media outlet.
It is also helpful to get a better understanding of the voice each reporter takes on. You can develop your media relations skills by studying each news outlet, as a well as the specific topics reporters in each news category can take on. Focusing on topics or stories reporters have covered in the past or continue to cover currently could benefit you in future intern or career work related to news relations.
Explore Media Technologies
What is becoming a higher and higher demand today is for PR students to be as dynamic as possible when it comes to understanding computer programming, from social media to media listing technologies. While many top media list services charge for their services, we as students can still begin to familiarize ourselves with the major programs with doing our own research online. You can find quick tutorials online, such as this one for the service Meltwater, to start building an understanding of what building a professional media list looks like.
A major FREE tool that those in communications are often recommended is Help A Reporter Out. The website aims to connect reporters from a range of different news outlets to different contacts to help build their stories or leads on a specific topic. It is free to sign up and can benefit you now or later in building your understanding of the ongoing news cycle and networks
This guest blog post was written by PRowl staff member Mina Lezenby