Hollywood stars and sought after sports legends may get away with a love/hate relationship with the press, but for everyone else, a prickly rapport with the media and influencers is bad business. Your relationship with local and national reporters are as important to the health and well-being of your community as your occupancy numbers, hospital readmission rates, or even the results of resident and employee satisfaction surveys.
Sounds extreme, you say? It’s not.
Your relationship with reporters impacts nearly every aspect of your marketing/sales and public relations efforts. And the only way to create and nurture mutually beneficial and trusted relationships with reporters is through a sustained, long-term media relations campaign.
Done right, media relations campaigns can:
1. Make You Credible and Trusted
Inundated with “fake news” and sponsored content on social media platforms, consumers view marketing content with a critical eye. News stories reported by reputable journalists and trusted news sources, however, offer a credible third-party endorsement.
A 2014 study by Neilson reports:
Expert content—credible, third-party articles (earned media)—is the most effective source
of information for affecting consumers along all stages of the purchase process
across product categories.
2. Bolster Lead Generation
Great things can happen when marketing and PR work in tandem during the planning stages of a lead generation campaign. You can boost your lead-generation campaign by packaging content so it’s editorial-friendly and planning marketing events that have real news value. A local expert, author or celebrity chef, for example, creates opportunities for pre- and post-media outreach as well as engaging social media posts.
According to the PR analytics firm AirPR:
Media relations campaigns that complement marketing activities
can generate 10x to 50x the conversions of standard advertising campaigns.
3. Fill the Goodwill Well
In any business, it’s about relationships. During a time of crisis, the relationships you have with reporters will help you manage your message and control the situation. Negative stories are going to run, regardless, but reporters who understand your business and know your key people are in a better position to write accurate and fair stories and listen to your side with an open mind. If you made the mistake of flying under the radar or haven’t established a relationship yet, reporters will be less likely to go the extra mile to get the full story.
4. Position Your People as the Expert & Valued Resource
The best source for reporters is the one who puts the reporters’ needs before the organization’s wants. In other words, take time to provide the reporter with an informational interview or background on an industry issue even if your organization won’t be featured in the story.
Reporters appreciate those who help them do their jobs better (and meet pressing deadlines) and you’ll be top of mind next time they’re working on a story that could include your organization. They’ll also be more likely to consider a story pitch from you or share your good news.
5. Build Your Brand
Media relations complements nearly every aspect of a marketing and communications strategy, including the elevation of your brand. Media coverage builds awareness of your brand in a compelling, credible way. Done strategically, such stories can sell your products, services, and lifestyle better than an expensive ad campaign.
6. Honor Your Residents and Staff
If you want your staff and residents to feel loved and appreciated, then act a like a proud parent. Use media relations as an opportunity to recognize a job well done, a good deed, a community connection, or an accomplishment. They’ll feel proud and the recognition serves as positive reinforcement. In past media relations campaigns, we’ve even seen residents and staff proudly share their stories with families and other residents via Facebook and Twitter
A sustained media relations effort is the most effective way to build relationships with reporters. If it isn’t part of your existing communications strategy (or if it’s just a list of cookie-cutter tactics to share good news), then it’s time to revisit how you’re using your dollars.