The Art of Earned Media

Getting product, service or industry exposure among target audiences is a necessary obstacle businesses must overcome to achieve specific revenue and growth benchmarks. Many businesses find the solution to this quandary in the form of media allies, who, when armed with the right message at the right time, can become brand ambassadors and serve as awareness-propulsion vehicles. In the past, traditional communications, including standard press releases, sufficed; however, the media landscape has changed drastically, and, in turn, the approach must evolve as well.

The digital revolution has brought with it never-before-seen levels of content generation, all of which vies for the limited spotlight and short attention span of the populous. Such fierce competition can be overcome by forging a strategic partnership with communications professionals who have the time, resources, creativity and diverse skill set required to cultivate symbiotic working relationships with the media.

Journalists demand, and rightfully so, to work with those who consistently provide them the information they want and need. Building these valuable relationships is an art, not a science, and therefore does not follow any particular set of guidelines. Regardless, a foundational approach is recommended, and specific parameters can be tailored and refined over time as the media realm continues its evolution. Here are a few of the basic elements consummate communicators provide the media in order to forge lasting bonds.

Pulitzer-quality Writing

Misplaced modifiers, dangling participles, comma splices, split infinitives, subject-verb agreement—the list goes on. These words are reminiscent of high school English to the uninitiated, but are easily recognizable, thorn-in-their-side journalist annoyances. Well-written communication is typically well received by grammar specialists, and is the ultimate “first impression” in the world of media.

Masterful Storytelling

Journalists are professional storytellers, and undoubtedly will respond better to a masterfully presented story than a tired press release or bland product description. Engaging, impactful storytelling has the power to transform information into insight, and insight into inspiration. That’s what most audiences want, after all—relatable, reliable information that inspires them.

PhD-level Research

Developing trusted relationships with the media begins with due diligence and thorough research. It is critical to understand why a reporter is the right fit for a story prior to attempting to sell them. A research-driven approach will show thoughtfulness and preparation, and allows communicators to stand out among the masses clamoring for the same consideration.

Message Management

Unnecessary filler is the antithesis of effective message management. Think of time as an endangered resource—with that in mind, it should come as no surprise that journalists crave clear, concise messaging. The message is the hook that opens the door for ongoing conversation and collaboration, and is what should be remembered by target audiences.

These four elements are only a small fraction of a foundational approach to building strong working relationships with the media. A tireless focus on excellence and professionalism puts the power of influence in the hands of great communicators, and empowers the businesses they speak for to capture market share and drive revenue through powerful traditional, new and emerging channels.

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