5 Media Relations Tips for New PR Professionals

By: Jeff Adkins

Launching your career in PR is a beautiful thing. It’s the beginning of an adventure with endless possibilities. However, it’s important to remember you are in control, and through your decisions, you will decide where the adventure takes you.

Some PR pros will choose to focus on internal communications, while others may discover their passion lies more in the external realm. On the journey to build your ideal career, you’ll probably gain experience across many different facets of PR, including media relations. If you’re new to the PR game, here are a few tips to get you started on the road to success.

Create a Foundation Grounded in Ethics

You will need to create a solid foundation as PR pro, and the PRSA Member Code of Ethics is a perfect place to start. This code is the industry standard for the professional practice of PR. Study and apply it to your work as a professional. By operating ethically, you will earn the respect of those you work with, including media and your colleagues. Credibility is an essential part of your success in working with media. The only way to establish and maintain credibility is to operate ethically.

Build Relations by Being Awesome to Work With

Building relationships with media requires more than simply making sure your most trusted reporters get a copy of the press release when you send it out. As they say, “it’s the little things” that matter most. When working with a reporter, try to look at the situation from their point of view. What can you do differently to make their job a little easier? It may be something as simple as keeping your emails more succinct, or providing a quick reminder about an event coming up.

Literally Triple Check Your Info

Being accurate and timely are key elements of being effective in media relations. Unfortunately, the desire to be timely can sometimes sacrifice accuracy. Be sure to avoid making that sacrifice. While the need to get information out in a timely manner is important, it is not as important as the information being correct. Before you send something out, take a short break and step away from your computer. Come back in a few minutes and proof it one more time.

Don’t Be Afraid to Pick Up the Phone

How much of our jobs are done online or through email? I don’t have an exact figure, but I can tell you it’s a high percentage. Sometimes, a phone call is the better route to go. This might be the case if the topic takes is intricate and requires more explanation. It allows the reporter or journalist to ask their questions and get accurate info, without the back and forth of email.

Believe in Your Abilities

Few things in life will hinder you more than not believing in yourself. Build confidence in your work by being accountable, responsive and transparent. If you need more time to complete something correctly, you are better served to be transparent about it… Versus putting yourself in a risky situation by trying to gather the pieces too quickly. When you complete projects well, take pride in your work and reflect upon what it took to achieve that success. You will build confidence this way and become even more effective.

Just like any adventure in life, you will come across challenges along the way. Remember, you will overcome those challenges, and always look at what you’re facing as a learning opportunity. An excellent way to learn is to connect with your peers, and there’s no better way to do that than joining PRSA Detroit. Stay ethical, have fun and enjoy your journey!

Jeff Adkins is a public relations specialist with Henry Ford Health System, and a member of both PRSA National and PRSA Detroit.

Jeff is pictured above with seasoned and new PR pros at a recent, PRSA Detroit networking event!