Five badass media relations resolutions for the New Year

Five badass media relations resolutions for the New Year

It’s that time for New Year’s resolutions, and most of us know the drill by now.

With the best of intentions, we set out to chart a new course with a clean slate, whether it be to develop better habits in our personal lives or professional lives.

To be sure, there’s no magic to a New Year’s resolution. Most resolutions aren’t new ideas or innovations. They’re just things we’ve known we should be doing, but maybe we’ve lacked the discipline to do them consistently. Spend less. Save more. Eat less. Exercise more. Right?

We’ll leave it to you to decide what resolutions to consider on a personal level, but on the PR front here are five media relations resolutions you may want to consider for 2017:

1. Study a reporter’s work before reaching out

As mentioned, a good resolution isn’t a new idea, it’s one we know we should be doing.

We know we should study a reporter’s work before sending that pitch, but too often we’re too busy to read every reporter’s most recent articles before crafting and submitting our own story ideas. The truth remains, however, a little time invested in actually learning how a reporter approaches her work stands a much better chance of leading to actual coverage for your client or organization. Take the time to get to know the reporter’s work.

Your relationship-building will get better and so will the results. 

2. Meet face-to-face with at least one journalist per month

If you’re in PR you’re in the relationship-building business.

Yes, digital media has drastically enhanced and accelerated the relationship-building process, but as long as humans are warm-blooded creatures, we will always create the best relationships face-to-face with smart phones out of sight and out of reach.

Develop a habit of actually meeting in person with one reporter per month, and you’ll be amazed at how much better you will be at everything else you do in PR.

3. Engage more consistently with reporters on social media

While some well-respected journalists are not active on social media, many are very active on Twitter, Facebook and a few other channels.

It makes sense to follow reporters on social media, but don’t forget to engage with them as well. The more often you engage with a reporter when you are not pitching a story, the more familiar - and perhaps more trusted - you will be to that reporter when you do have the opportunity to work together.

4. Take on a pro bono media relations project

Nothing will give you a better chance to stretch your wings and possibly get you out of your comfort zone like a pro bono media relations project.

If you tend to work with business-to-business clients, try doing some consumer media outreach for a local nonprofit. If you don’t often have the chance to write op-eds, find a cause that you support that may allow you to develop your op-ed writing skills.

Pro bono media relations projects are good for the community, good for your skill development, good for networking, and good for careers. 

5. Make time every day for reading (not scanning) good, journalistic work

We all fall into the trap of scanning our news feeds and social media channels to take the pulse of the media relations climate for our clients and organizations.

But it can be easy to go long periods without really taking the time to read interesting, thought-provoking journalistic work. They don’t always need to be long-form essays or highly technical trade journal articles. But by taking the time each day to deep-read content relevant to our work, we find ourselves providing better value in all of our professional relationships.

What do you think? Are you ready to get off on the right foot with a new media relations you in 2017?

There’s no time like the present to chart a new media relations course. If you do, I promise you that some reporter, and maybe even a boss or a client will notice.

Tim O’Brien is owner of Pittsburgh-based O’Brien Communications, a corporate communications consultancy.  He has over 30 years’ experience in communications and started his career as a journalist.

Photo via Pixabay

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