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Media Relations For The Built Environment and Beyond: A Five Point Guide 

Just to check that we’re all starting from the same point – a quick definition. Media relations is the art of managing the way your message is covered in someone else’s medium. That could be a trade publication, a national news page, or a radio or TV station. 

You’re capitalising on the established audience of the media you’re targeting. It’s important to remember that it’s not your channel and you are not in control. 

At Ridgemount, we’ve been working on media relations in a variety of sectors, including the built environment for over thirty years and here are five quick tips to maximising your coverage: 

  1. The sell-in is really important: pitch the story with an effective summary and get your timing right. If there’s a features schedule, make sure you know when the relevant subject is going to be covered and approach the editor well enough in advance of the publication date to be in with a chance.  

  2. Make the editor’s life easy: It’s not rocket science. If they ask for 500 words, give them 500 words. Provide it on time and with pictures that are good enough quality (and have the right copyright licence) for them to use.  If you’re going for an interview, make sure your interviewee is properly briefed and rehearsed.  Also make sure you’ve done your homework on the journalist to prepare for hidden agendas and unexpected questions. 

  3. Remember that it’s the editor’s job to make their product interesting for their audience, so help them out. Focus on genuinely relevant issues and arguments and don’t be tempted to try and include overt sales messages – they’ll just be edited out and you’ll have a slightly less friendly journalist to deal with next time.  

    Oh, and ALWAYS write an article exclusively for the publication you’re dealing with.  You will probably want to sell a similar message into more than one title, but you still need to start from scratch each time. If the same piece appears in more than one publication you’ve probably lost the goodwill of the editors immediately.  

  4. Know your journals. If you’re approaching a journalist that you haven’t spoken to before, make sure you know what sort of content they use. It’s also wise to check that they haven’t just written a piece on the subject you’re trying to sell. 

  5. Don’t expect to be shown the content before it’s published. If you want complete control of the messaging then you’ll need to pay for the space and call it an advertorial. 

Built environment or not, getting the coverage you want takes time. In a world where the value of a media relations programme tends to be based on the number of items published, it’s easy to overlook the amount of time and knowledge it takes to make an effective editorial pitch. 

Ready to build a relationship between your brand and the media?  

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