Your media outreach has been rolling for some time. You’ve made a steady, strategic effort to tell your brand story through earned media with a well-organized media relations program (like the kind Bottom Line delivers). You’ve enjoyed some good placements and mentions, developed relationships with key reporters, and experienced encouraging results in the number of impressions, positive messages shared, customer feedback and anecdotal responses from friends and colleagues.
After this concerted, systematic effort, however, direction is changing. Emerging challenges in your business and market are requiring you to think differently about your media relations strategy, particularly as it relates to an overall marketing communications approach. Is it time to take a media break? It may be helpful to ask a few key questions to learn the answer.
1. Given your business objectives, are there other effective ways to tell your story right now? To answer this key question, consider options that still allow you to stay visible while making good use of people, time and resources. For example, you may be able to better leverage owned channels like your website, blog, social media and newsletters.
2. What’s the media environment like for your target outlets? Like all markets, media markets change. The loss of a key reporter can mean it’s time to rest while you get to know – and educate – someone new. TV stations, newspapers and trade journals change formats, merge or close all together. Ongoing staff reductions make it harder and harder to catch a reporter’s attention. Increased competition everywhere makes pitching your story more challenging. Taking a media break will allow you to refine your lists of outlets, reporters and editors, build a new library of story ideas, and maintain a strategic focus when you’re ready to try again.
3. Is the news cycle working against you? Unless your pitches tie in to the latest hot topics, your story may repeatedly be ignored in favor of political coverage, natural disasters, serious economic news or even holidays. Your approach may be as simple as taking a short break until the topic cools.
4. How compelling is your story? If you’re scraping the bottom of the barrel for stories about your organization, are challenged to link story ideas to your business goals or can’t support a reporter’s interest with images, video or interviews with the right people, it’s okay to put the brakes on media outreach. When you’re rolling with something new or refreshed, you can get right back in the game.
Take that break from ongoing media relations if you need to, especially if your find yourself in one of these situations. It may be the pause that refreshes and recharges future success.