The summer Olympics opening ceremony is today and the media buzz surrounding the athletes competing in this year’s games is surging. Brands across the nation and the world are competing for a share of the attention, along with the athletes and their agents.
The symbol of the Olympic Games is the five interlocking rings. It was originally designed in 1912 by Baron Pierre de Coubertin, the founder of the modern Olympic Games. Upon its initial introduction, de Coubertin explained that the emblem was chosen to illustrate and represent the five parts of the world that are willing to accept healthy competition.
In the same way that these rings are interlocked and intertwined, the elements of a media campaign must also work together to be successful. Breaking through the competition is increasingly difficult, as the media landscape continues to change. Media outlets with fewer resources are still trying to provide in-depth and expansive coverage, which can be a struggle. The following five “rings” of media relations will help your campaign rise to the top.
- Be proactive, but strategic. Not every announcement is front-page news. While it’s important to always watch for great story ideas, think about what will help you accomplish your goals. Being able to judge what announcements are strategic will help make the most of your media relations campaigns.
- Begin with the end in mind. Know what you want to accomplish before you set out with your pitch. Make sure you have all the parts in place – a compelling storyline, well-spoken sources, great visuals, supporting evidence or research. Do you want to reach a broad audience, or should your target be narrower? Consider pitching bloggers to reach a specific or niche audience. This will help you with your strategy.
- Get to the heart of it. Reporters don’t have time to read your two-page news release. Make it quick. The media ultimately care about what their viewers, readers or listeners care about. They want to report the stories that people want to see, read or hear. You should never make a pitch without clearly identifying the single most important message you want the audience to take away with them.
- Build trust. Spin is a four-letter word in this business. Always be honest and responsible in all your dealings with the media. This means not only giving them the true story, but giving it to them in timely manner. If you pitch a story, expect that they might want an interview immediately, and make sure your client is available. Being responsive and reliable will build trust with reporters, and they’ll come back to you again the next time they need your help.
- Know the news. The best way to pitch the news is to be a consumer of news, from the national to the local. Know the hot topics in the news and figure out how you can localize them for your media markets. Know who the key reporters, producers and editors are, know what stories they like and know how they like to receive them. Don’t be afraid of rejection, but ask the media for their feedback if they decline a pitch so that you can hone your skills for the next one.
Just like a well-trained athlete, a well-developed media relations campaign can go a long way.