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How To Build Media Relationships

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by Clarissa A. French

There's a million stories in the naked city ... unfortunately that breaks down to several thousand stories per working reporter.

If you or your company would like to receive media coverage, you've got to speak up and set yourself apart.

Speak up. First of all, are you promoting yourself? If not, why not? You don't have to hire a public relations firm to let the media know when something exciting is going on at your company. If you can type up the relevant information and have access to a phone book and fax machine, you are public relations bound.

On the other hand, if you do not have the time to handle your own PR, hiring a consultant can be a cost-effective way of getting your company's information before the media and the public.

What's news? If you want news media coverage, you need to get your name and your news out there. Which brings up the question of what news is.

The fact that your company exists and does business in this marketplace is news for SBJ but only once.

That information, along with your location, services, products and operating hours, would go in our Open for Business column. Beyond that, there has to be a news hook.

Has your company hired new personnel or announced promotions? Are you planning a building addition? A new location? A new product or service? Have you achieved or exceeded goals for sales or earnings?

What are you doing that makes your company different? Do you have a cutting-edge management technique? Have you undergone a stunningly successful reengineering process?

Did you use a new, revolutionary or little-known program to finance your startup or expansion? Have you received local, national or international recognition for your business practices, employee incentives, safety record or other accomplishments?

Expertise. Another way to get media coverage is to become a source on stories related to specific industries. Do you or members of your staff have specialized knowledge or insights about finance, technology, construction, medicine, real estate, insurance, etc. that would be valuable to the buying public or to other businesspeople?

Have you made the media aware of this? A simple one-page fax listing contact people at your company, their areas of specialization and how to reach them is a godsend for a busy editor seeking new sources and fresh insights.

However, be aware that on the flip side of all this information sharing is the issue of badgering the press. Calling every day for a week, or every week for a month to demand coverage especially when there's no news hook is not going to endear you to the media.

Sending out a timely news release or making a phone call to advise us of news in the making, will.

(To share your news with Springfield Business Journal, contact us by: fax, at 831-5478; mail, at PO Box 1365, Springfield 65801; e-mail at

sbj@sbj.net; or by calling 831-3238.)

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