Media Relations Tips and Tricks from Janet Hart

I had the pleasure of attending PRSA Charlotte’s Young Pros Lunch n Learn on Tuesday to hear from Janet Hart about media relations.

Hart works for the Better Busines Bureau of Southern Piedmont and produces about 100 press releases/yr  that results in thousands of media hits. She knows her stuff!

As a media relations associate, I figured she could give some insight in how to better relationships with journalists.

Hart made the point of not always having to be the story for journalists, but serving as an addition to the story or resource to the story.

Key factors to media relations:

  1. Relationships – with the assignment editor, news director, producer, reporter and photo journalists. The staff meets early mornings to go over story ideas and you need to ensure they have your idea in mind.
  2. Responsiveness – never turn down a request for an interview, and be prompt when a journalist calls to ask a question. Reply immediately
  3. Media Savvy – contribute to the story. If it is a feature story be prepared with a sound bite, facts and tips
  4. Research – the more you can help the more likely to get your story published. Beef up your releases with relevant data

Other tips:

  • Send out your release to tv outlets early in the morning – between 6-8am prior to their 9am meetings to plan the newscast for the day
  • Use a humorous headline – that will grab the journalist’s attention
  • Anything you can tie in with Facebook is a hot topic and will most likely be covered
  • Bundle releases based on a theme/time (ex. holidays) and send together so the journalist can pick and choose or make a series, etc.
  • For event publicity ask yourself what is relevant about this topic? Write the release about a bigger picture theme/idea and then include event details. For example write about the growing problem of identity theft and then how shredding is the best prevention and by the way there will be a free shredding event on Sat.
  • Know the demographics of the media outlet
  • Strike when the news is breaking! B relevant as soon as possible with your twist on the breaking news
  • Tweet tips/resources  and news items so you don’t have to send a press release everyday

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