Media relations has always been an important part of public relations work. Media relations involves the interaction with the public through channels such as newspapers, television, radio, Twitter and Facebook and other digital platforms. There are many ways in which it can be used to boost the visibility and reputation of your company.

What is media relations for?

Media relations has two functions, raising awareness and boosting credibility. Awareness can exist without credibility, but credibility needs awareness.

Media relations and awareness

Awareness is a function of threshold communications. Companies can spend millions on advertising just to get the minimum level of awareness. The level of awareness achieved is generally very low, in spite of targetting the advertisements. As a result, some marketers view media relations as a far more cost effective form of advertising and a way to stretch their budget for raising awareness. They are often as content with mentions of the products or services as they are with full length articles on the topic. The more frequently they can get their product or service mentioned the better. The media relations avenues used will range from television to newspapers to radio and websites.

Media relations and credibility

When it comes to credibility, media relations seeks to establish recognition of a product or service or person along with either setting or changing the perception. There is an implied endorsement from the journalist publishing the piece or an endorsement from the channel chosen, for example a popular newspaper or a well known blogger. It assumes that the media avenue used is not affiliated in any way with the company whose product is being endorsed. Any connection has the potential to destroy credibility. Credibility building through the use of media relations is not about spreading the word as far as possible but rather about presenting the right message to the right people. It is a top down rather than bottom up strategy.

Media relations is a very powerful tool. Used correctly it can boost both the awareness and credibility of your company. Used incorrectly, it can do untold damage. Ensure that you know what you are doing and what message you are sending before you publish anything through the various media relations channels.