Media relations is characterised as the involvement with the media for informing the general public about the organisation’s policies, mission, objectives, and practices in a credible and consistent manner. In addition to this, it also means coordinating with the team and people who are handling the news and other media channels. This section covers the impact of media relation on a business, wherein a discussion on the evolution of the news and other media and the growth of the coverage of the business in the media is also elaborated. In addition to this, a small elucidation of how media helps in building better relationships is done. The next part of this section covers the structuring of a successful media program and socialising the relations. The most important part is the handling of negative reviews from the media.
The media relation in business has become a quintessential part of the business in the past few decades. In addition to this, businesses are making large profits by focusing on their media relation policies. Media relations are significantly adding value to the bottom line of the business. According to Copulsky& Wolf, (2017), media relations are considered to be prominent, visible, and traditional of all the public relation functions. In addition to this, media in business plays a vital role for the business entities. It acts as an information disseminator to a business' constituencies and has gained remarkable importance in the past few years. In the business world, public relations is the broader term used interchangeably with media relations. However, media relations is more about interactions with bloggers, journalists, reporters, editors, and other media personnel.
4.2.1. Business Coverage in Media
Damásio, et.al, (2012)highlighted that every business needs a media relation department or they outsource this task to PR agencies. It is significant for enhancing and maintaining the brand's image and reputation in the eyes of the customers, the general public, and changing their perspective. In addition to this, it helps in sending the direct message to the investors, and other stakeholders of the company about the policies and decisions made by the company. This might help the company to build trusted relationships with them and ultimately contribute to the bottom line of the company. Furthermore, Duhé (2015) signifies the use of media as the medium of event marketing. In an attempt to improve the image of the company, the PR team of the company arranges the event and press conference. They arrange interviews of their top executives with the topmost media channels and journalists in order to highlight their brand and products or services. This is done on regular basis. Edwards(2012) discussed the functions of media relations in the research. Media relations are important for placing and pitching the stories in the top media channels. The main idea is to furnish the reporter with information about the company. However, it is important for the media relation team to execute their functions properly in order to avoid any discrepancies for the company. It is important for the team to read and digest each and every article covering the field of operation of the company and company as well. These might comprise online blogs and platforms. In addition to this, the business needs to research the current trend in the field of media relations and what latest tools they are relying on in order to have better business coverage.
4.2.2. Building healthy relationships with the media
Business organisations' PR team makes all the efforts to improve relations with customers, investors, shareholders, and other stakeholders. Hence, it is important to build a relationship with TV, radio, local papers, and news desks. Business should realise that a healthy media-business relationship is one of the successful aspects of modus operandi of business. Firms should build rapport to reap the benefits of nurturing healthy media relations. This consists of keeping the media channels in the loop of information sharing like sharing them the breaking updates and news related to the company in the first place. This can help in creating or establishing a trusted bilateral relationship between the business and media. Watson (2012) outline the common mistakes that an organisation should avoid in regard to media relations. The first is the inability to understand the mindset of the media. The company should try to deliver the information they are seeking for the goodwill of the company. The second most common mistake is a delay in responding to them. It has been seen that the company that replies in no time to the media personnel has a better relationship with them. In addition to this, the organisation should provide a clear statement instead of using jargons in order to avoid miscommunication and misunderstanding with the problem.
Majority of the success of the product and service offered by the organisation depends on the publicity. For better publicity of the business, nothing works better than the media relations. Strong media relations can be a supporting factor for business organizations. However, many a time, this strategy does not work. Hence, it is important to discuss the issue of forming a successful media relation strategy.
4.3.1. Creating a Successful Media Relation Program
No doubt a well-worked media strategy can give a competitive edge to the company, the question is how to develop a successful media coverage. Hinson(2012) gave certain guidelines for the development of the best media relation strategy. The first and foremost strategy is setting up a strategic goal. The PR team should think about the key objectives that are needed to be accomplished by the media relation plan. In addition to this, one needs to consider the target audience for the success of the strategies. In addition to this, some sort of pre-planning can help the PR team to reach its objectives and its expectations from the program. The next step is to seek the news and share it with the media personnel. The news can be regular update, engaging and informative update related to the organisation's partnership, joint venture, new policies, etc. These help in keeping the audience updated and engaged. The regular update will create a better brand image. The next most crucial part of the plan is developing the media kit. This include background information, employee’s bio, product description, samples, press release document, and booklets. These should be relevant to the story they are telling.
4.3.2. Developing an Online Media strategy
This is new and is widely used by the companies to publicise themselves in the target market. By making use of online media, businesses can engage their consumers in wide varieties of ways, develop new relations, and maintain the existing one. There is a proper plan for formulating online media. The first step is conversation mining. This is associated with the type of news and information the audience is looking for and the platform they are using with which they are most comfortable. In addition to this, the PR team should figure out their needs, issues, and opinions and how they can fit their value proposition in accordance with it (Johnston, 2014). The next step is identifying the goals and objectives of the strategy. This should be based on the company’s goal of building trust and confidence among the followers and target audience. The last step is developing a plan and timelines. The main focus should be given on the content as it decides the customers' engagement.
4.3.3. Handling the Negative News
Bad press happens to almost every big organisation. It could be in terms of false stories and poor facts provided by some inappropriate and illegitimate source. This might damage the image of the company. For that purpose, the PR team should be effective and proactive to take care of such incidents harming the company. Johnston (2014) suggested that the company should act fast in such cases. In addition to this, the company should address the employees, board, investors, shareholders, etc. In addition to this, if the company is at fault, then it should release an apology statement. This would help in reducing the impact of negative news. In addition to this, the company should show that it cares for the employees, communities and societies, and the environment. It should come up with some type of corporate social responsibility initiative as a counter to the negative news.
Here, the importance of media relations for the business had been discussed, wherein the need and impacts of the media on the business had been outlined. It was mentioned that it is significant for enhancing and maintaining the brand’s image and reputation in the eyes of the customers. a discussion on the evolution of the news and other media and the growth of the coverage of the business in the media was done. In addition to this, how media helps in building better relation was done. The most important part was the handling of negative reviews from the media. It was discussed that the company should act quickly to negative views and media write-ups. The next section will talk about crisis management.
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