Three Steps to Develop a Successful Media Relations Toolkit

April 29, 2022 Jim Baird

Media relations work can seem overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. It begins with identifying how best to use your time to increase your media footprint during the year. Start by dedicating 15 minutes a day to media relations work and go from there. Here are three steps you can take now to guarantee your media relations are strategic and effective:

Assessing Your Clips. From your Google alerts to advanced tracking, you already have a tool in place to evaluate media coverage of your organization and issue. Revisit and quantify those results by recording them in a simple spreadsheet with links to the coverage and reporter byline. As you build your list, look closely at:

  • The tone and sentiment of your coverage.
  • The number of stories your organization is mentioned in.
  • The reporters who are mentioning your organization the most (and the reporters who aren’t mentioning you).
  • Who at your organization is receiving coverage.
  • The geography of your coverage (the media markets, states, and countries you’re receiving coverage).

It’s equally important to be aware of the absence of coverage. This simple assessment is essential to understanding your media footprint and where earned media is helping you meet your organizational and programmatic goals.

Refresh Your Media Relations Goals. It’s important to make sure your media relations work aligns with your ongoing strategic plans. Revisit your organizational goals, programmatic objectives, and how your media relations work fits into the picture. Maybe it’s publishing an Op-Ed in a specific outlet or generating increased quotations in a media market to heighten awareness about your cause. Be specific and make sure you have a way to measure your refreshed goals so you can chart your success.

Developing a Short List of Reporters. One of the most important activities is to develop a short list of reporters with whom to build relationships. Based off your coverage and goals, create a list of a half-dozen reporters to reach out to. Arrange a one-on-one call, grab a cup of coffee, or exchange a friendly email. Use your conversation with them as an opportunity to hear about their beat and what they’re most interested in covering. Provide more details about what you’re working on and how it might be of interest to their coverage. Share colleague contacts or those in your network who may be helpful for their future reporting. Bottom line: be as helpful as possible. Focus first on becoming a resource, then eventually you’ll become the source.

With better awareness of your coverage, alignment with your goals, and more foundational reporter relations, your organization will be on track to strategically expand your media footprint.

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