Despite the proliferation of social media channels through which your company can tell its own story and connect directly with your customers, media coverage is still an important part of a public relations strategy.

Whether you’re working with a public relations professional or you’re going it alone, we hope you’ll find these tips helpful:

  1. Know “why.” What’s the point of the media relations effort? What’s the big picture? How does this release, this pitch, fit into what you want to accomplish? Don’t simply “smile and dial.” Defining your purpose and being clear about your desired outcome can help you craft a better pitch.
  2. Know the story. Be clear about not only the primary story you’d like to have covered but all the potential angles. You may not be able to pitch the primary story to every editor—in fact, you probably can’t. Brainstorm a list of headlines that could be written about the story you’re pitching as a way to come up with different angles for different publications.
  3. Create, refine, and refine your media list again. A targeted and strategically refined media list is your golden ticket. This step is pretty tedious, but it’s so important; don’t let the tedium deter you. Tools like Vocus can help a lot if your organization has a subscription. If you don’t, there are a bunch of free or almost free tools…including your eyes and brain. If you understand the “why” (see #1), you can be reading, watching, and listening to the right sources, and you’ll get to know who will be interested in your pitch. This takes time, so the computer-aided search tools are a nice boost, but don’t lean on them too hard. Know your industry.
  4. Write the pitch. If you’re emailing it, make sure that the grammar is pristine, the message is clear, and it’s SHORT. If you’re calling, make sure that the grammar is pristine, the message is clear, and it’s SHORT.
  5. Practice the pitch. Have colleagues read and listen to your pitch and give you feedback.
  6. Make the call (or send the email!) But really, you’re going to have to make the call at some point, even if your first pitch is via email.

Has your business enjoyed good media coverage? What tips would you share?


AvatarKelli Matthews

Kelli Matthews is an instructor of public relations at the University of Oregon's School of Journalism and Communication, she owns marketing and PR firm Verve Northwest Communications and is a "mama-squared." Her and her partner just welcomed baby number 2 in May 2012. He joins his big brother (age 6). Find her on Twitter at @kmatthews or via email at