Course Three: Media Relations


What is Media Relations?

Media relations, or publicity, is a powerful tool for influencing and changing behavior. It provides critical, third-party endorsement for a product, service, issue or organization. As opposed to more direct forms of communications, such as advertising or direct marketing, communicating through a journalist provides valuable and sought-after credibility that other forms of communications cannot match.

Though it is more credible than an advertisement or a brochure, getting your message across through the media is much more challenging. How does it work? Here are a few examples of different media relations goals attained for Acme Communications, Inc.

  • Acme is announcing the launch of its newest phone, Planit, which provides the quickest connection of any other cellphone on the market. Aside from advertising and direct marketing to its current customers, Acme is looking for a placement with a key consumer tech outlet. You email an announcement press release, product fact sheet and photo to John Q. Techie, the editor of The New York Times Circuits section, and follow up with John to offer an interview with the head of new product development, the CEO and a satisfied customer. The following week, a photo and blurb on the Planit appear in the New York Times, leading to a national bump in sales. Good job!
  • After the launch of Planit, Acme's third quarter earnings were higher than expected. To announce the news, you schedule a web conference with top business reporters at the wire services, major daily newspapers, business magazines, blogs, business cable news and radio shows. With 20 reporters tuned in, you announce the news, landing an immediate story on Bloomberg News' website. The story is picked up by Bloomberg radio, cable news and more than 100 daily papers around the company, putting Acme at the top of the day's business news and achieving a bump in the stock price. Good job!
  • Acme has always been considered a follower of technology, not a leader. To get to the head of the pack, the CEO would like more coverage in Techy Blog X, which consistently announces “the next big thing” before it happens. You know the blogger is going to be at the Tech 1000 conference the following month. You send him an email offering breakfast and an opportunity to meet with corporate representatives and your spokesperson, a top tech futurist at the show. He agrees and the interview leads to the following post: “Acme surprising lead in news from Tech 1000 conference.” Good job!