Effective media relations – how to do it?

9 February 2024
Reading time 6 minuty

Media relations is one of the basic tools of any communication specialist. A PR specialist is a kind of intermediary who is able, thanks to his communication skills, to create a message that will connect two parties, i.e. a given brand/company with its specific audience through the media. That is why it is so important to have the ability to work with the media, build relationships with them and follow certain rules.

What’s the first step?

The first thing to start with is to identify the groups of people for whom the product is targeted. Everyone – are you sure? Are they young mothers or perhaps seniors, residents of large metropolitan areas or rural areas, students, singles, high earners, or those opting for premium products. It all matters. Not only in the creation of the message itself, but also in the selection of media. Why? If a journalist who has been writing about the construction industry for years receives a press release about children’s products, you can be sure that the information will immediately go in the trash. That’s why it’s so important to build a media database, where we’ll be able to record on an ongoing basis what industry not only a particular medium specializes in, but a particular journalist.(In accordance with RODO rules). The media market is like a living organism, it is constantly changing, journalists migrate between editors, change industries – PR’ers need to know about this first!

Media base prepared, so it’s time to send a press release to the media. How? We usually do it by email. We don’t send a press release by typing in contacts on UDW. Only personalized messages and sent one-to-one will increase the chances that the message will be opened and read. Over time, when the relationship with a particular journalist is kinder, you can refer to them in the email, but you must not allow yourself to be too cagey.

A PR person should live in symbiosis with a journalist. What does that mean? It is worth facilitating his work. Remember that a journalist has little time – he often prepares materials for several industries at the same time. Therefore, when preparing material about your product, it is worth trying to step into the journalist’s shoes for a while. Is everything he received enough to interest his readers? Has the topic been exhausted? Of course, we don’t always have the opportunity to send extensive information on a topic, because we don’t have it, but if we have the chance, we can interest the journalist if: we include, for example, the results of the survey (figures, charts), ready quotes from company representatives (in various forms – text, MP3, MP4), high-quality product photos, general photos, quoted people, their biographies, infographics. If you work for a specialized industry, try not to use industry jargon. This is often difficult, especially when we have been working for one client for a long time, and the jargon is already obvious to us. When writing materials, and when talking to a journalist, let’s try to speak simply and understandably, so that anyone who is not a specialist in the industry can understand us.


We sent out a press release and now what? It’s worth monitoring the media (you can use various tools for this: IMM, Newspoint, PRESS-SERVICE, BRAND24 or Sentione- for monitoring social media). Here we will find a summary of publications in which our product was mentioned, an excerpt of the information used, research data, a quote. If a particular journalist used the information, it’s worth calling or emailing him and thanking him, asking if he needs anything more. Maybe he is preparing to write an article in a different context. This is the moment to get the journalist interested in our topic and, above all, start building a relationship with him. It’s important to be prepared for such a conversation – before we make a phone call, let’s look at our database, let’s remind ourselves what industry the journalist feels particularly comfortable in, what he has written about recently. This will put us at ease in the conversation, and the journalist will appreciate the fact that we are informed. Many times during these conversations it turns out that the topic we are calling with is so complicated that it will be easier to talk about it during the meeting. Let’s not be afraid to offer journalists to drink coffee together. Any “live” meeting, even half an hour long, is better than a phone call. Media relations is not done from a desk. Media relations is RELATIONSHIP WITH PEOPLE.

pexels madison inouye 3697718 - Public Dialog Warszawa


There are several absolutely forbidden things, in building relationships with media representatives. For journalists, the most important thing is the mission to inform the public. Impartiality and ethics, showing things as they are. Therefore, we never hide the truth. The old adage that the worst truth is better than a lie works here. Even more so today, in the era of fake news that floods the market. This is quite a challenge for media professionals. You can learn more about it by reaching out to reports that have recently appeared on the market.

When meeting with a journalist, let’s remember ordinary human kindness. Let’s not be pushy in trying to “sell” their commodity which is information. The journalist knows why he is meeting with us. Let’s not lecture the journalist, and if we argue an issue, let’s always refer to the subject (ad rem), not ad personam. In the case of conducting an interview, let’s not get upset if the journalist asks questions that seem trivial to us at the beginning. Let’s remember that a journalist knows how to convey information well to his readers. He has to ask a lot of questions in order to convey his readers in the best, clearest, simplest and most interesting way possible. When giving an interview, it is worth answering every question, even if it is not convenient for you. Why? Because “no comment” is also a “comment” and it may turn out to change the tone of the whole interview and put the company in a bad light. If we don’t know the answer to a question – after all, we are not obliged to remember all the data, specific figures – promise to send that answer by email. The promise must be fulfilled and immediately after the meeting, on the same day, if we have the opportunity. There is an unwritten rule of 3 hours. If a journalist calls us and needs a comment from the company’s CEO on an issue, we should deliver it just within 3 hours. Then the media representatives know that they can always count on us when they need help here and now.

Ending the meeting, we do not give the journalist an expensive gift – this can be perceived as a form of bribery which will end the relationship with this journalist once and for all. As time goes by, the relationship with the media representative gets closer and closer, and we feel like telling something in secret, hoping that the person, like just a best friend, will keep it to himself. Let’s remember that the journalist met with us to get information -break news, which he will show on the pages of his medium first. Regardless of the relationship – he will not hesitate to use it.


Working with the journalistic community, building relationships with the media and cooperating with them should begin to yield media publications. Of course, this is only one component of PR strategy. There is no one universal method of measuring the effects of PR activities. Wanting to measure them, we have to choose different methods each time, depending on the communication activities undertaken and the campaign plan. If possible, at the evaluation stage, it is worth checking whether the campaign has achieved cognitive and behavioral effects on specific stakeholders, and not just image or media coverage. But how to measure media relations activities? The most popular is content analysis. With it, we will check the image that is presented about the brand in the media. According to pre-established criteria, we should watch, read or listen to media materials and describe them.

It is recommended that you don’t just use automated solutions, which often can’t determine the context well;

  • Was the material accompanied by a photo of the product?
  • What area of the press material was devoted to our company, whether it constituted, for example, 20-50% of the area of a given article;
  • The context in which the company is being quoted;
  • Is a statement from a company representative (expert, CEO) included?;
  • Does it contain the key messages we are positioning about the brand?.


For the most part, media relations reports include simple indicators such as AVE (Advertising Value Equivalent). This is an indicator expressing the amount of money that would have to be spent to publish or broadcast a given message if it were an advertisement. It is used, as an index for evaluating the effectiveness of PR activities – this is based on the belief that if advertising space in a given newspaper costs X, then PR material also “costs” X. However, it is important to remember that PR material is more reliable than advertising. It’s one thing to buy an advertisement over which we have control, and another if a journalist prepares coverage about a company as a result of PR consultants’ out-of-control coverage of it, over which we have no control, as to the content and whether it appears at all. That is why AVE should not be used, as an evaluation of the effectiveness of media relations activities. You can read about the measures of success of PR activities used in the industry in the Marketing Communications White Paper in the chapter on public relations.

What is worth reading?

1. „Media i Ty. Jak zarządzać kontaktem osobistym z dziennikarzami”, Adam Łaszyn, Wydawnictwo Message House, Warszawa 2015
3. Raport: FAKE NEWS Z PERSPEKTYWY POLSKICH DZIENNIKARZY http://publicdialog.home.pl/www_logotomia/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/Raport_Badanie-fake-news-23-05-2017.pdf
4. Raport FAKE NEWS, CZYLI JAK KŁAMSTWO RZĄDZI ŚWIATEM: https://biznes.newseria.pl/files/raport-fake-news-newseria.pdf

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