Mastering Media Relations – Why Roles Matter


It’s an exciting time – you are prepping to launch a new product, your company direction has pivoted to reach a new market, you’ve secured funding, you have an amazing entrepreneurial story to share…the list goes on as to why you’ve engaged a public relations firm to guide you on getting the word out.

Before you jump in, it’s important to take a moment to consider the roles of all the players involved in landing a story. It can’t be hard, right? People do it all the time from the cool start-up at your region’s most noted incubator to the established power players at Fortune 500 companies.

It isn’t difficult if you enter the relationship with eyes open and a solid understanding of agendas and perspectives. Just like any endeavor, you need to think from the outside in. So let’s get started with roles:

Consider who the players are in media relations.

  • The source / expert (that’s you!)
  • The reporter
  • Your PR agency

By promoting an understanding of each party’s objective and role (your company, the PR rep, and the reporter) you’ll gain the ability to maximize media opportunities and learn how to navigate through varied inquiries. Take a look at the infographic below to see how this works out:

  • Once you know the roles, don’t forget that objectives matter too. Consider that objectives will be different – and could even be opposing – but an understanding from you will help everyone find a middle ground and result in a win-win for all involved.
  • Let’s talk about you. As the source and expert, your objective is to get your message repeated exactly as you’ve said it – preferably unaltered. Unfortunately, that can’t always be the case. However, if you know the reporter’s audience and know the message you want to come across – you can become an important resource for the reporter and tell a story that resonates for everyone.
  • Your PR firm is a Jack-of-all-Trades. We are writers, communicators, facilitators of interviews, researchers when reporters need more information, hunters of media assets, and amazing hoop jumpers. We do all of this with the objective of creating a common ground where your objectives and that of the reporter are met.
  • Reporters serve their readers, viewers and listeners. Their objective is to identify good sources and stories that address the needs of their audience. When they agree to an interview, you’re entering the discussion to earn a right to reach the readers of that particular media outlet. That’s the difference between “earned media” versus paid media such as advertising (but that’s a blog for another time).

Okay you’ve got this!

It’s easy to navigate media relations with the proper research, preparation and PR partner. Stay tuned for our next blog post – Ground Rules for Successful Media Interviews.

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