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Whitepaper Mediarelationssuccess


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Whitepaper Mediarelationssuccess

  1. 1. Vocus White Paper Five Strategies For Media Relations Success
  2. 2. Vocus White Paper 1 Five Strategies For Media Relations Success Five Strategies For Media Relations Success Effective media outreach is a key challenge for most PR teams. Even sending a simple press release can be an issue without the personnel, budget, or proper planning to support PR activities. With the right tools, however, you can easily be empowered to pursue best practices with your existing budget and team. This paper will explore five key strategies that will help any organization achieve media relations and public relations success. Strategy #1: Take Time To Set Your Target Crafting a persuasive pitch is a wasted effort if the message fails to reach the right media. In a “ready-aim-fire” world where e-mail and fax make press release distribution fast and easy, it is important to ensure you are getting your news to the right reporters. Too often, however, PR professionals alienate potential media allies by showing a lack of attention to the important detail of knowing a reporter’s beat. Whether it’s caused by lack of resources or pressure to “just get the message out” every- where and anywhere, it’s a potentially costly and short-sighted mistake. Your message must be relevant to each media outlet’s audience or it doesn’t stand a chance. This proved to be a particular challenge for American Mensa’s two-person PR team. Like many small organizations, American Mensa must take a creative approach in reaching its audience. Largely through PR, the organization aims to increase its membership – comprised solely of people who score in the top two percent on IQ tests – to 70,000 by 2010. Using online PR software from Vocus, American Mensa quickly sorts through a database of over 800,000 records “Vocus gives me the resources and abil- that includes journalists, outlets, industry analysts, and more to identify the most appropriate media contacts. They are ity to extend my PR efforts more than I then able to create highly targeted, up-to-date lists based on thought possible to target other markets, geography or subject matter, as well as by trade press or general media. The organization can view journalist profiles interest groups and the media.” and editorial calendars on the spot to pinpoint and act on - Jay Socol, Public Information Officer, the hottest opportunities. To keep targeting the most relevant The City of Bryan, Texas contacts, the PR team builds new, customized lists each time it distributes a news release. “Our lists include more contacts and are more accurate than they have ever been,” said Jim Blackmore, Mensa’s National Marketing Director. ”The individuals we are communicating with are more receptive to our message because we are better able to target the right people at the right media outlets.” Like American Mensa, the City of Bryan, Texas, needed a more innovative approach to targeting – instead of searching through outdated, hard-copy media lists. Jay Socol, Public Information Officer, found a solution in Vocus PR software that included comprehensive contact management and media database capabilities. “Vocus gives me the resources and ability to extend my PR efforts more than I thought possible to target other markets, interest groups and the media,” Socol said. Both organizations save time by reducing phone calling and manual list searches, and media contact information is always up-to-date and accurate. Strategy #2: Invest in Relationship Building The key to successful media relations lies in your relationship with reporters. One step for building and nurturing that relation- ship is understanding how you can be a valuable and ongoing resource. A keen understanding of a journalists’ specific interests puts you in the best position to offer more compelling stories- and often puts you at the top of the list for future stories. Armed with basic information about a journalist’s history, previous article, preferred contact method and timeframes, you have a competitive advantage in fostering a successful working relationship. Vocus PR software not only includes a comprehensive database of media contacts, but also allows PR professionals to track news and associate it with the originating journalists and related activities. By tracking news clips within the software in a matter of seconds you can pull a list of reporters who have covered you or your industry in the past to better target your effort in a few seconds. You may already have a strong relationship with the journalists who have previously reported on your news, or they may be relationships that you are building. In either case, keeping these individuals informed about the news that matters to them is vital in giving them the confidence that you are a reliable go-to resource.
  3. 3. Vocus White Paper 2 Five Strategies For Media Relations Success One approach to building new relationships is to track the news of your competitors and target those journalists with similar stories, but from your organization’s unique perspective. Vocus on-demand software makes this possible. You can even see your complete history with a journalist on one screen. As you begin to grow new relationships, you can track all inter- actions, stay organized, and spend more time developing “Never before have we had the ability new leads that will get you more coverage. to keep track of the reporters that have The media relations department of the Humane Society of been covering our issues.” the United States (HSUS) needed to automate a variety of PR - Rachel Querry, Deputy Director of functions in order to easily track which reporters cover which issues. They turned to Vocus PR software which included Media Relations, Humane Society of activity tracking, contact management and personalized the United States communication. By understanding precisely what informa- tion various media are interested in, HSUS can strategically deliver the most relevant communications to outlets and follow-up based on journalists’ actions and preferences. “Never before have we had the ability to keep track of the reporters that have been covering our issues,” said Rachel Querry, Deputy Director of Media Relations with HSUS. “I can record all communication with reporters and then quickly pull up that person’s contact information. That’s a relationship-building strategy. It’s helping to establish us as a resource on different topics.” An interactive email campaign feature enables the HSUS to deliver emails in the manner that each journalist prefers, and then track who read the email, whether they downloaded additional information, or if any other actions were taken. Even a one-man PR department can manage global media relations with the right tools. Tyler Andrew, Public Relations Man- ager at X-Rite, a provider of hardware, software and support solutions that ensure color accuracy in packaging and printing, chose Vocus online PR software to help him more efficiently build relationships. He is now able to store every communication with every contact, automatically logging all emails and faxes with the cor- responding contact record. With important details of every call and conversation recorded, Andrew draws on this information frequently to support better media relationships. Strategy #3: Go Online For News Distribution On any given day, journalists can cover only so many stories. With traditional wire services blasting over 3,000 press releases a day, it is easy for your news to get lost in the haystack. Add in the costs of mass news distribution via the wires, and it becomes extremely difficult for small and medium-sized businesses to compete. An important strategy for all organizations, particularly those who don’t have the resources or budget to leverage traditional wire services, is to look at online channels for news distribution. Online distribution enables the ‘life’ of your press release to be extended beyond just media outlets through search engine optimization. With more and more people getting their news online through Google, Yahoo! and other search engines, you are able to reach both journalists and your consumers directly, where they search for news and information. In addition, the web opens up new channels of communication and syndication of your news. With technologies such as RSS feeds and Technorati tagging, your news is delivered to thousands of bloggers and web sites, all of which serve to enhance the exposure and visibility of your news. Vocus’ PRWeb is the leader in RSS syndication and the first to incorporate online technologies into news distribution. PRWeb gets news to thousands of web sites, news sites such as Yahoo!News and Google News, blogs, and syndicates news through more than 20,000 feeds. To get a waterpark idea in motion, the founders wants to generate a PR campaign. Utilizing PRWeb services, they created on online press release using the PRWeb tool. Almost immediately, the founders saw results. In addition to being easily found when searching the web, an article about the news release was published in a major industry magazine. The founders also saw increased traffic to their web site as well as phone calls and emails. For a ‘no name’ organization, the response was commanding and generated a response that would have been unlikely through traditional media relations.
  4. 4. Vocus White Paper 3 Five Strategies For Media Relations Success Strategy #4: Create An Online Newsroom With 92 percent of journalists doing their research on the Internet, having an online newsroom as a resource is a must-have to ensure that your news is available any time journalists need it. Yet, many organizations lack the infrastructure and IT staff to support a full-fledged, up-to-the-minute newsroom. Online PR software enables even those organizations without available technical resources to build and manage a complete, cost-effective online newsroom. Vocus’ Online Newsroom, part of the Vocus PR software suite, enables you to easily publish your press releases and other information to journalists and other audiences directly from your software. A good online press room should arm the journalist with the information he/she needs research a story. The more infor- mation-rich your online newsroom is, the more you’re giving “We are able to generate reports in the journalist the tools to write a complete story. minutes. The information provided by Arbitron Inc., an international media and marketing research these charts and graphs is crucial to firm, proactively maintains an up-to-date newsroom by sim- campaign management and strategic ply cutting and pasting content – press releases, executive bios, photos and other corporate collateral – into its 24/7 planning.” newsroom, with no help needed from IT staff. Using the - Summer Thomas, Media Information Vocus solution, the Arbitron newsroom was also easily cus- Specialist, Bass Pro Shops tomized to match the exact look and feel of the organization’s web site. This gives journalists access to valuable information at any time. At any time, PR team members can pull up site metrics for the newsroom to understand which information the media accessed most and ensure that content meets journalist preferences. Strategy #5: Commit To Tracking And Measuring Your Success Most public relations professionals struggle with producing the metrics needed to demonstrate PR results. Many companies also require true metrics to to justify PR budgets or the value of PR itself to senior management and executives. An online analysis and measurement solution can automatically create reports and provide clear-cut metrics that show value of activities and campaigns to management. By having simple, easy- to- generate reports at your fingertips, the burden to produce is eliminated. The benefits, however, are many. Having secured executive buy-in, the more likely you can increase your budget, foster better relationship with executives and company management, and secure executive participation in PR activities. Bass Pro Shops, a national outdoor and sporting retailer, sought a way to measure its PR efforts, tie them to results, draw meaningful conclusions and enhance its PR planning efforts. The retailer turned to Vocus PR software to provide a solution for tracking all media activities and coverage. As a result, the company can create a variety of in-depth reports, including trends in coverage, ad equivalency value, the appearance of key messages and what topics receive the most coverage. “We are able to generate reports in minutes,” said Summer Thomas, the company’s Media Information Specialist. “The information provided by these charts and graphs is crucial to campaign management and strategic planning.” Waffle House also found it difficult to track and evaluate the results of its PR activities using manual and disparate PR tools, according to Charnae Knight, PR Manager. To help understand PR’s role in promoting the company’s ideals and message, Knight sought an integrated solution to keep up with and compile news coverage, as well as provide complete analysis on the results of coverage and media activities. PR software with integrated news monitoring and analysis offered Knight real-time insight into media outreach and campaigns, while built-in reporting tools made it easy to share results of PR efforts with key stakeholders. “The measurement and reporting features give us a clear and concise picture of the results and success of our media pro- grams,” Knight said. “As an added bonus, we can easily compile and distribute this information to our executives and other key contacts throughout the company.”
  5. 5. Vocus White Paper 4 Five Strategies For Media Relations Success Conclusion While it used to be that blasting out your press release was an effective strategy to get your news covered, that is no longer the case. In this highly competitive, 24/7 news world, effective outreach requires a more strategic approach to be successful. Those organizations that successfully compete in this environment employ five key strategies for effective media relations: they take time to set their target, invest in relationship building with the media, go online for distribution, create an online newsroom, and commit to tracking and measuring successes. About Vocus Vocus, Inc. (NASDAQ: VOCS) is a leading provider of on-demand software for corporate communications and public relations. Our web-based software suite helps organizations of all sizes manage local and global relationships and communications with journalists, analysts, public officials and other key audiences. Our software helps customers manage media relations, monitor and analyze their news, conduct interactive email campaigns, build online newsrooms and manage government relations activities. Vocus’ PRWeb platform is also recognized as one of the Internet’s leading online news and press release distribution services. Vocus’ software is available in five languages and can be accessed from any computer via secure login over the internet with no need for internal hardware, software or IT support. Vocus is based in Lanham, MD with offices in North America, Europe and Asia. For more information please visit or call 800.345.5572.