Gini Dietrich

Create Your Own Media Relations Program

By: Gini Dietrich | August 2, 2011 | 
139

This first ran on Inkling Media, my friend Ken Mueller’s blog. If you read it there, hop to the comments, which are likely way more entertaining than this entire blog post.

I’ve spent my entire career in communication. Very early on in my career, I honed the media relations skill. I spent a good three years building relationships with reporters who I called, even 10 years later, if I had a great story for them to cover.

And then the economy blew up and everything went digital and newspapers went out of business and my reporter friends lost their jobs.

It used to be that you would hire a PR firm because of their relationships with reporters. It was a lot cheaper and more efficient than trying to build those relationships yourself, in order to have them do a story on you or your business.

But it doesn’t work that way anymore. There is a MUCH more efficient way to do your own media relations without the help of a communication professional (and you can hire a PR firm for much more strategic challenges).

At Arment Dietrich, we call it the very cleverly named “response campaign.”

Your Own Response Campaign

Essentially it’s commenting on blogs, articles, and editorials where you have expertise.

You see, reporters are as time crunched as we are…and most of them are doing the job of three experts. So they don’t have time for the long lunches and coffee dates and editorial meetings of old.

But what they do have time to do is read the comments people have left on their content.

I know. I know. You’re going to tell me you don’t have time to comment.

The Response Campaign Plan

So here is what I want you to do: Choose one newspaper, magazine, or blog that makes a difference in your industry. It can be Wall Street Journal or it can be one of your trade publications. Choose just one.

Then, once a week, comment on one article, blog post, or editorial. If you disagree, fantastic! Say so. But do it professionally.

Keep this up. After about six weeks, the reporter will feel like he or she is beginning to know you and will call you for a story in the works.

Every quarter add another publication, so you have four that you focus on each year.

Don’t be afraid to go after the big publications, either, if you feel like your expertise adds value to the stories they’re reporting.

If you are consistent and post intelligent comments once a week, you’ll soon have developed relationships with reporters who call on you when they need someone to interview.

Trust me when I say it works. This is what I did with Steve Strauss at USA Today. And it worked. Really, really well (see here and here).

But, don’t worry, if you still insist you don’t have time, we can do the response campaign for you. But, rather than comment as you, we find the articles, summarize it, write some key messages, and then leave the rest to you.

About Gini Dietrich


Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks,Β co-author of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She alsoΒ is the lead blogger atΒ Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro.

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139 Comments on "Create Your Own Media Relations Program"

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John Falchetto
4 years 9 months ago

Hey ginidietrich great post, I was going to write I don’t agree but then I read the last paragraph. I believe most business owners don’t have the time, nor the inclination to monitor their trade media let alone define their key messages. I think lack of time is a poor excuse, I believe it’s more a feeling of not knowing if they should say what they think combined with the possible legal consequences of saying it.

PR agencies exist for a reason. Defining key messages is but one of them.

Did I mention I love this post?

bdorman264
4 years 9 months ago

Interesting indeed, but not unlike cultivating any relationship. Most people are not untouchable, you just have to find a way to get in.

Hiring someone to do the response campaign sounds much more appealing than doing all the leg work yourself. I don’t insist I don’t have the time, it just sounded like work and I think I hear my phone ringing………….

Hola.

EricaAllison
4 years 9 months ago

What I loved most about this article (at Ken’s and here) is the real life example you used with Straus from USA Today. You commented; he noticed and was urged by your friend Rieva to contact you; you earned a spot in the follow up column. Score. Point well made.

I also love the point about hiring a firm to do it! That actually may be my favorite of them all. πŸ™‚

DoTime_WX
DoTime_WX
4 years 9 months ago

Gini, thank you for the insight on creating my own media relations program.

DoTime_WX
DoTime_WX
4 years 9 months ago

Gini, thank you for breaking down the borders re media relations. Like most unchartered areas, most choose not to venture. Your insight is invaluable.

glenn_ferrell
glenn_ferrell
4 years 9 months ago

Gini – Makes tremendous sense to me. Like Erica, what I enjoyed the most were the links to the two Steve Strauss articles (“see here and here”). And I think I learned a lot more about you and your business.

Now…I would’ve seriously considered agreeing with @SteveStrauss (who I follow and is actually quite active on Twitter) that his dry cleaner didn’t need Twitter, except for the fact that my local drycleaner (@GenevaCleaners) followed me last week. And I followed them back πŸ™‚

BicycleLab
BicycleLab
4 years 9 months ago

Great post Gini! No business has time but we make time for things that set us apart in our industry. If Businesses hire a pr firm do do this they are missing the boat. No one can communicate your passion or business better than those “in the trenches” so to speak. PR firms may be great for bigger branding and communications but not for those relationships with media.

AmandaChanguris
AmandaChanguris
4 years 9 months ago

@AprilFin Thanks for passing along the Media Relations article, you’re an awesome content curator!

AprilFin
AprilFin
4 years 9 months ago

@AmandaChanguris Thanks! (BTW – love your Shiny Stuff feed. πŸ™‚

AmandaChanguris
AmandaChanguris
4 years 9 months ago

@AprilFin Glad you enjoy it! Are you on Tumblr, too? I’d love to follow you there as well. πŸ™‚

AprilFin
AprilFin
4 years 9 months ago

@AmandaChanguris Right now I just have a work account on Tumblr. Might use it for food stuff soon since I am changing my blog focus.

AmandaChanguris
AmandaChanguris
4 years 9 months ago

@AprilFin Let me know when you get started on the personal Tumblr – always looking for great stuff to add to my feed! #foodisgreat

AmandaChanguris
AmandaChanguris
4 years 9 months ago

@AprilFin Let me know when you get started on the personal Tumblr – always looking for great stuff to add to my feed! #foodisgreat

AprilFin
AprilFin
4 years 9 months ago

@AmandaChanguris Will do! #foodisgreat

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 9 months ago

@BicycleLab In today’s day of transparency and direct relationships, a PR firm can help facilitate the introductions, but the relationship really should belong t you. No one wants to talk to the middle man. Those days are long gone.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 9 months ago

@BicycleLab In today’s day of transparency and direct relationships, a PR firm can help facilitate the introductions, but the relationship really should belong t you. No one wants to talk to the middle man. Those days are long gone.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 9 months ago

@BicycleLab In today’s day of transparency and direct relationships, a PR firm can help facilitate the introductions, but the relationship really should belong t you. No one wants to talk to the middle man. Those days are long gone.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 9 months ago

@glenn_ferrell I also love that Steve is now on Twitter. He told me a few weeks ago that he even hired a CTO (chief Twitter officer). So, I’m curious, what does your local drycleaner tweet?

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 9 months ago

@glenn_ferrell I also love that Steve is now on Twitter. He told me a few weeks ago that he even hired a CTO (chief Twitter officer). So, I’m curious, what does your local drycleaner tweet?

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 9 months ago

@DoTime_WX You’re welcome! It’s easy to do, but very time consuming, which is why most don’t do it. This is building relationships with human beings. That takes time.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 9 months ago

@EricaAllison LOL! Don’t want to talk us all out of jobs!

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 9 months ago

@bdorman264 LOL! It is work. And it’s time consuming. You’re building relationships with human beings and that takes time. But people want the relationship with you, not me. So I can do everything in my power to facilitate it, but you still have to do some of the work.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 9 months ago

@John Falchetto LOL!! We have lots of clients who say, “Just do it for me.” We’ll do it…to a point. At some point you have to do the rest. We can’t pretend we’re you and we can’t comment as you. Even I’ve gotten to the point that I need some help – and you know I’m good at commenting. It’s a great way for a junior level person to learn the media and the industry – they read everything they can and then say, “I think this is a great article for you to comment on and here is why.”

leaderswest
leaderswest
4 years 9 months ago

@ginidietrich phenomenal post! Great content, Gini. Thank you!

FocusedWords
FocusedWords
4 years 9 months ago

Thank you Gini for taking showing me how to eat the elephant one bite at a time. I have struggled with how to get media attention and have done the pitch to reporters path to no avail. Your suggestion of selecting a limited number, developing a conversation with them and understanding their time constraints makes perfect sense, makes the whole task doable and hopefully will make me successful. Thanks again.

FocusedWords
FocusedWords
4 years 9 months ago

Thank you Gini for taking showing me how to eat the elephant one bite at a time. I have struggled with how to get media attention and have done the pitch to reporters path to no avail. Your suggestion of selecting a limited number, developing a conversation with them and understanding their time constraints makes perfect sense, makes the whole task doable and hopefully will make me successful. Thanks again.

FocusedWords
FocusedWords
4 years 9 months ago

Thank you Gini for taking showing me how to eat the elephant one bite at a time. I have struggled with how to get media attention and have done the pitch to reporters path to no avail. Your suggestion of selecting a limited number, developing a conversation with them and understanding their time constraints makes perfect sense, makes the whole task doable and hopefully will make me successful. Thanks again.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 9 months ago

@FocusedWords You already have the skill – you’re commenting on blogs. Just take one at a time. We have a client who really, really wanted to get in CFO magazine. So we started with that. I told him it’d take 90 days. It took three days.

FocusedWords
FocusedWords
4 years 9 months ago

@ginidietrich You sure know how to make a “girl” feel good!! I’ve figured out my targets and will keep you up on how it goes. Thx again.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 9 months ago

@merylvdm Good!

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 9 months ago

@jennwhinnem It’s amazing how well it works, isn’t it?

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 9 months ago

@jennwhinnem It’s amazing how well it works, isn’t it?

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 9 months ago

@leaderswest You’re very welcome! Thank you for the nice tweet!

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 9 months ago

@leaderswest You’re very welcome! Thank you for the nice tweet!

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 9 months ago

@leaderswest You’re very welcome! Thank you for the nice tweet!

jenzings
jenzings
4 years 9 months ago
Great idea and process, and eminently doable. The point about why companies used to hire PR firms (relationships with reporters) and how this is evaporating as a reason is true, and a point that I’m surprised I have not seen articulated quite this way before. Some are taking the “spray and pray” approach of news release dissemination to respond to this, while the method you outline above has the potential to not only be far, far, more effective, but has the added bonus of not being as damaging as the “S & P” method. I hope people will listen. Sidebar:… Read more »
jenzings
jenzings
4 years 9 months ago
Great idea and process, and eminently doable. The point about why companies used to hire PR firms (relationships with reporters) and how this is evaporating as a reason is true, and a point that I’m surprised I have not seen articulated quite this way before. Some are taking the “spray and pray” approach of news release dissemination to respond to this, while the method you outline above has the potential to not only be far, far, more effective, but has the added bonus of not being as damaging as the “S & P” method. I hope people will listen. Sidebar:… Read more »
Al Smith
4 years 9 months ago

Thanks Gini. Great advice. it makes a lot of sense, especially now that i have read it again (thanks Ken). As I move forward with the company and my goals, reading, learning and APPLYING the great things on posts like this, is something I hope to continue to do and get better at every day. Thanks again Gini.

Al

Al Smith
4 years 9 months ago

Thanks Gini. Great advice. it makes a lot of sense, especially now that i have read it again (thanks Ken). As I move forward with the company and my goals, reading, learning and APPLYING the great things on posts like this, is something I hope to continue to do and get better at every day. Thanks again Gini.

Al

Al Smith
4 years 9 months ago

Thanks Gini. Great advice. it makes a lot of sense, especially now that i have read it again (thanks Ken). As I move forward with the company and my goals, reading, learning and APPLYING the great things on posts like this, is something I hope to continue to do and get better at every day. Thanks again Gini.

Al

John_Trader1
John_Trader1
4 years 9 months ago
This is a post that every person who wants to follow the paradigm shift of new media should read and understand. I embarked on a campaign early last year to start commenting on articles and blog posts of journalists within my vertical and it has helped to cultivate relationships for me that are just now starting to pay dividends. It seems to have been a longer cycle than some since the vertical is technology and the explosion of the industry makes it difficult to get noticed among the shiny new pennies that pop up every day but commenting was definitely… Read more »
ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 9 months ago
@jenzings First, shonali burke freaking rocks! Any friend of hers is a friend of mine. For sure. Secondly, no one is talking about it because far too many PR professionals rely solely on publicity as their bread and butter. If they talk about it they are going to work themselves out of jobs. I really believe journalists and bloggers want to have the relationship with you, not me. I can help facilitate the conversation, but it’s really up to you to have it. And…you’re right. This is FAR more effective. It’s building relationships with human beings. And people do business… Read more »
ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 9 months ago

@Al Smith As a business owner myself, I know how stuff like this can take a back seat. That’s why, if you choose just one publication (or blog) that you know will help your awareness and focus on working with them, it really will work.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 9 months ago

@John_Trader1 GREAT point about the SEO benefits. The more you comment, the higher you rank in Google. And Google is beginning to look less at your keyword strategy and more at your social ability.

jackielamp
jackielamp
4 years 9 months ago

This is great advice and I can’t believe I haven’t been doing more of this. It’s also a reminder of how PR pros can adapt to the changing media landscape. Thanks for always keeping us on our toes!

jackielamp
jackielamp
4 years 9 months ago

This is great advice and I can’t believe I haven’t been doing more of this. It’s also a reminder of how PR pros can adapt to the changing media landscape. Thanks for always keeping us on our toes!

sydcon_mktg
4 years 9 months ago

Thanks for the great tip, Gini! It’s easy enough if you want to start small and then as you gear up or grow move onto hire someone like you!

We have found people remember those who shared advice when it came time to hire someone reputable that you could trust…good way to lay the ground work!

Thanks for sharing your real life success example too with USA Today!

Shonali
4 years 9 months ago
@ginidietrich@jenzings I’m just surprised the two of you didn’t already know each other, both being ex-FH gals! I LOVE it when the people I think rock connect with each other. So back at both of you. πŸ™‚ Gini, you’re right about why PR pros (mostly) don’t talk about it. But this approach is one of the first things I recommend to my clients. There’s no point in my commenting for them “as” them. That wouldn’t be right. But I do try to help with the messaging, examples, gentle (or not-so-gentle) nudges, etc. The sad part is that a lot of… Read more »
Shonali
4 years 9 months ago
@ginidietrich@jenzings I’m just surprised the two of you didn’t already know each other, both being ex-FH gals! I LOVE it when the people I think rock connect with each other. So back at both of you. πŸ™‚ Gini, you’re right about why PR pros (mostly) don’t talk about it. But this approach is one of the first things I recommend to my clients. There’s no point in my commenting for them “as” them. That wouldn’t be right. But I do try to help with the messaging, examples, gentle (or not-so-gentle) nudges, etc. The sad part is that a lot of… Read more »
glenn_ferrell
glenn_ferrell
4 years 9 months ago

@ginidietrich Chats, promotes local businesses and local events — in a very personal style. Except for the lack of a blog, I would say they are “doing it right” ! Since most of my work is with small suburban businesses, it makes sense for me to follow back folks like Geneva Cleaners when they follow me.

Networking helps us all: behold – @GenevaCleaners has been mentioned on the prestigious Spin Sucks ! :D.

As an aside, Steve guest posted an article the other day that shows he is very much on-board now. See my Twitter stream…

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