Media relations are very important for a company since it is not only a constituency but also acts as a transmitter. Investors, suppliers, and consumers as well, receive news and information about an organization through the media.
The news media
Since 1970’s and certain events, like the oil embargo or environmental problems, people has realized that business organizations had a huge effect on their lives and business news have became popular. Another change was the increased use of other communication channels, than newspapers and magazines, to communicate business news. Television and later the Internet became very popular communication channels. Today, the growth of business coverage in the media is still growing and companies have to pay carefully attention to their media relations.
Building better relations with the media
The most important point in dealing with the media is trying to establish a good relationship with the right people. There are four steps, which should be done, to do it:
- Target the media with a good research. After determining which objective a company has for a certain story, research should be done about the right place to pitch the story.
- Respond to all media calls and let a person respond that is trained at dealing with the media.
- Prepare person which will be interviewed needs to be prepared for the media interview. If possible a media relation professional should attend the interview.
- Measure media relationships.
- Maintain ongoing relationships with the relevant media persons. A recommendation is to meet regularly with reporters working in the company’s business area.
Developing an online media strategy
Today not only a few reporters have the potential to influence the public’s opinion about a company, but every single individual with an Internet access. Resulting from this the need for a good online media strategy, to response to consumer’s opinions, reviews, and ratings in the internet, becomes obvious. Additionally it is recommendable for companies to extend their media relations strategy to the blogsphere.
“ In class we discussed a real world example of media relations with the case study about the Adolph Coors Company. The Coors Company faced serious image problems in the 1970´s. They had been accused of discrimination against gays, blacks, Hispanics and woman. Additionally they were blamed of human rights violations as well as union busting. As a result the Coors Company was boycotted. We discussed how the Company handled this problem and whether the open door policy was the better choice over the no comment policy. Coors followed the invitation by Mike Wallace, to attend his Television show “60 minutes.” The Coors Company did a really good research about the interviewer and the show. Joe and Bill Coors were well prepared and were not overdressed. The 60 minutes report showed a different way of the whole story and the discrimination accusations appeared to be wrong. With the well prepared interview and its open door policy the Coors Company changed its image in the public. This case is a good example for the power of the media and how companies can influence the public’s opinion with good media reports.”
The 60 minutes is still a show that could have big impact on communication. In this video, the French President Nicolas Sarkozy left the show and this bad image for him was shown in lots of countries worldwide.