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How to Pitch Best for Media Placements
Five fundamental steps to ensure effective media relationships.
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 by Arit Essien
Prolifik Vision/Essien Agency

Arit EssienEstablishing and maintaining positive media relationships is one of the key factors behind effective public relations. 

While most any individual has the ability to draft a press release or to initiate contact with the media, awareness of deadlines, pitching protocols, targeting, and formatting are but a few of the critical factors that distinguish PR professionals from general media inquiries. While some rules may be basic in nature, common sense often is not common, and adhering to general rules of thumb can go a long way in establishing productive media relationships and securing client placements.

1. Adhere to and be conscientious of deadlines:  Nothing can be more irritating to an editor or producer than to receive pitches while under the pressure of a tight deadline. Media and PR professionals must understand each of the outlets that they work with, as well as how they are structured and their timelines.

2. Be relevant: Why is an artist's hot new hit single being announced to a healthcare reporter?  Why is a publicist sending press releases to an undedicated media list? Why is Chicago news going to New York outlets? Bulk messages are a quick way to get relegated to spam folders. Media members will actually seek content from PR sources that consistently deliver relevant and newsworthy information.

3. Speak the right language: We are in a diverse world with various cultures and tongues, however when it comes to media relations, each outlet has a specific style and content preference. If you are submitting content for television, perhaps your submission should be formatted as a video news release. If you are submitting content to a print publication, perhaps your submission should be an AP style article. An effective publicist knows how to package information so that it can easily be used.

4. Research, research, and again research: Very few things can escape the requirement of research. Marketing, healthcare, law, education, determining which fabric softener gets clothes fluffier ... When creating a media list for example, it is hardly strategic to pull every national outlet.  Which publication recently featured your client? What television show has a demographic that aligns with your client's demographic? Which journalist covers a topic that fits your area of focus? 

5. Finally, play nice. Yes, it's kindergarten and extremely basic, but friendliness does go a long way. Relationships can be honed through simple courtesies like thank you and even how is your day going (but not during media deadlines!) Take an extra second with every encounter to personalize the interaction and to demonstrate appreciation -- after all, so much of what we do relies upon what they do.

Arit Essien is a PR professional based in Atlanta, GA. She is the founder of Essien Agency PR and Director of Public Relations
for Prolifik Vision in New York City.

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