Effective Media Relations Begins Before You Pitch

By Emily Quirk

Almost any brand can benefit from great PR, but not every brand is ready for media relations. Earned media is part of a much larger PR picture, and a solid, strategic foundation can make all the difference when it’s time to step into the public eye especially for early-stage companies. Here’s a few effective media relations strategies to deploy before the first pitch goes out the door:


Each brand has its own fingerprint, its own differentiators – what makes them different. It’s about how your brand benefits customers in ways that set you apart from your competitors. Relevant, targeted messaging is at the core of successful PR, and developing consensus on brand messages not only arms you with critical storytelling tools, but also sheds light on audience targeting and positioning.

Elements of a messaging program may include:

  •    Live messaging workshops
  •    Stakeholder interviews
  •    Competitive landscape analysis
  •    Audience positioning exercises
  •    “Elevator pitches”
  •    Brand messaging hierarchies

It’s a soul-searching process that takes time, but it’s well worth it when the day arrives for you to tell your story to the media.

Asset library

High-pressure, high-impact, short-lead media can be a boon in an ideal situation, or unavoidable in a bad one. Preparing high-quality PR assets ahead of time can mitigate the last-minute scramble that comes with timely issues-response PR, and create consistency and ease with longer-lead stories.

PR assets needed before media engagement may include:

  •    Press release templates
  •    Headshots
  •    Photo and video libraries
  •    Digital media kits
  •    Speaker/spokesperson bios

Media training

Every brand builds success by leveraging the strengths of their top players, but while they are vital to the organization, those individuals aren’t always savvy communicators.

To round out deep technical insight and thought leadership with media savvy, a PR team would conduct comprehensive media training workshops. Media training that can include:

  •    Mock interviews
  •    Dos and Don’ts for interviews
  •    Examples of good and bad interviews
  •    Overview of the media landscape
  •    Talking point drills

Media landscape

The press release just isn’t what it used to be. In a crowded media landscape, today’s journalists expect thoughtful, relevant correspondence, and frequently ignore outreach that takes the “copy/paste” approach.

To create the building blocks of an in-depth media database, a customized “Top 25” lineup of journalists for your organization will help you target appropriately when the time is right. This valuable research may include publication information, sample articles, biographical information, reference photos, contact information, and suggested brand messaging.

Tackling these areas before pitching the media will be essential to your brand’s PR success and pave the way for increased brand awareness down the road.