What Exactly is Media Relations? — Lionesses of Africa

by Felicity Cowie, The Media Relations Coach

Media relations is frequently muddled up with public relations and that is very unhelpful for businesses seeking media coverage. Fundamentally, media relations is about working with journalists. Whilst the intention is to ultimately reach the public (be it customers, investors, talent or the world at large) via media coverage, it’s critical to understand that in all media relations work your audience is journalists. And journalists are under no obligation to do what you ask. You have no rights to approve or request changes to their work otherwise it wouldn’t be the independent third party endorsement which makes it so valuable.

I define media relations as ‘working with journalists to gain unpaid news coverage’. This broad definition covers everything from:

  • choosing to work with journalists, to get positive news coverage to ultimately grow your business to

  • responding to journalists contacting you during an unexpected win or crisis at your organization and getting the best news coverage you can in that situation to further boost your reputation or mitigate reputation damage, for the best impact on your business growth.

And everything in between.

You might, very sensibly, be asking at this point, ‘so why bother working with journalists, why not just use all the incredible and free communication channels available today to put out content I’m happy with and have control over?’

Long gone are the days where the only way of getting the word out about your business was via established media outlets. Now, many organizations have social media audiences that far outnumber the circulation figures of sector and even some national media.

However, there are at least eight mega benefits of media relations to consider:

  1. Gain exposure with zero to low financial investment

  2. Build credibility

  3. Build pipeline faster

  4. Get highly valuable shareable content

  5. Find product-market fit

  6. Become a thought leader and ‘category queen’

  7. Get funding and more funding

  8. Gain external validation

I’ll go into more detail on each benefit in my coming series of guest blogs. You can also read more about all of this and gain tools to do it all in my new book Exposure: Insider Secrets to Make Your Business a Go-To Authority for Journalists published 14 June 2022. Get Exposure.

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