Creating a relationship with local media

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In previous articles we discussed tips for earning quality media and writing the perfect press release, however the first step is creating that fundamental relationship with your local media. In any public relations effort it is critical not to underestimate the power of the media. The media serves as a measure of public concern and public opinion. It’s essential that the local media be aware of your business and your brand, so it can be reflected in a positive light.

There is no substitute for starting early and taking a proactive approach to dealing with the media. This is critical because in many cases, the media defines the issue/situation before it hits the community. As a starting point, it is important not to overlook industry-specific publications when starting your campaign or event. For example, if you want to increase awareness about your small sized law firm, reach out to law publications and form a relationship with those editors. These publications can play an important role in keeping industry people informed on your efforts and ensure that members of the industry understand your business and your brand.

Your business should also familiarize themselves with beat reporters. Employed by mainstream media outlets, these reporters are assigned special focuses or beats and so might have a particular interest in your industry. Examples include auto, city, health and business reporters. Get to know your beat reporters. Have coffee with them or take them to lunch. Continue to send them stories and be prepared to work with them. Beat reporters are a great asset in helping your business get out its message.

Remember: Public Relations is key to increasing awareness and building the brand. It creates that important dialogue between the news media and your business for the long-term.  

For more information please feel free to contact me at 613-233-8906 or by e-mail at with questions or comments.

Huw Williams is President of Impact Public Affairs, an Ottawa-based public relations and government relations firm specializing in finding innovative strategic communications and advocacy solutions for large industry associations. Over the years, Impact has been recognized nationally and internationally for the effective and creative public affairs campaigns that it has created for its client.

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