Meghan Ely is the owner of wedding marketing and wedding pr firm OFD Consulting. As a highly sought-after speaker in the wedding industry, she is the exclusive Wedding PR Education Expert for WeddingWire as well as the national Communications and Marketing Director for WIPA. To learn how OFD Consulting can assist you, as well as more about our new wedding PR kits, please visit us today.
If there is one basic fact about public relations, it’s this: it simply cannot exist without the media.
We’re in a new age of editorial relationships – now more than ever, the number of people pitching (whether as a PR firm or on behalf of themselves) far outnumbers editors. So while relationships have always been at the heart of public relations, it’s now absolutely an essential.
So what are the key points to keep in mind when nurturing your media relationships?
- Be a walking Rolodex and encyclopedia rolled into one.
You are, no doubt, an expert in your field and the quicker the media realizes this, the better. The fact is- not every pitch will be accepted and your contributions to an article may hit the cutting room floor. But you can be resourceful in other ways. Did your quote not make the cut? Review the reporter’s recent work and consider pitching other topics of interest. Did your expertise not fit within the scope of their article? Share some friends and colleagues from your circle to help them wrap up the piece. Yes, reporters like to know that you’re an expert at something. But more importantly, they want to know that they can count on you.
- Be professional, always.
If you’re pitching regularly, you may find yourself on friendlier terms with the media, which can be a wonderful thing. At the same time, you run the risk of letting your guard down a bit, allowing professional pitches to start taking on a more casual tone. While there is nothing wrong with adding a dash of informality to your correspondence, continue to remain mindful of submission guidelines and deadlines. I recently assisted a blogger friend with filling in content on a fast-approaching date and mentioned that I’d get it over to her as soon as I resized the photos to match her guidelines. I could practically hear her eye roll over email as she told me that that wasn’t necessary. We had a good chuckle over it but I have no doubt that she appreciated the courtesy all the same.
- Be yourself.
I recently assisted a blogger from a major US web site on a wedding-related article. Given it was our first time working together, everything was very formal but I couldn’t help but enjoy internally gushing over the opportunity as this site was a long-time favorite of mine. As we wrapped up our chat over email, I couldn’t help but share a brief “PS” confessing my fan girl moment. Her response was nothing short of delight, and it’s a great example of how, at the end of the day, we’re all human. Dare to be authentic with your media relationships.
- Be on the lookout.
The best media relations experts are the ones that are perpetually paying attention. They don’t just reach out to editors when they need something. Instead, they drop them a line to congratulate them on winning an award, or complimenting them on a recent piece. Relationships are built on these authentic gestures.
If you have wedding PR as part of your 2015 plans, make it a priority to focus on cultivating your media relationships. It will no doubt pay back in dividends.