How to Navigate Media Relations as a Manufacturer

Media Relations can be complicated. The relationship between PR professionals and journalists can be quite fickle, and they don’t always meet eye to eye. Luckily for manufacturers who are beginning to explore media relations, there’s likely a little more ease to entry. By understanding what journalists and publications are looking for, manufacturers can build a better foundation for a long lasting and collaborative relationship. 

Start With Understanding the Larger Perspective

Within the world of your business, sharing news and updates to your team and community members is important. Team members deserve to be recognized through employee highlights, updates on products need to be equally understood by all team members, and any community initiatives should be shared and celebrated. 

It’s imperative to share communication company wide, so your entire team can rally behind the information, and celebrate growth and success together.

However, what is newsworthy within your company, isn’t necessarily newsworthy to the media. Likely, only a few of your stories will be appropriate to be pitched to a publication or journalist.

Put a PR strategy in place to ensure there is a clear understanding of what makes a story newsworthy. This will increase your chances of successful publication, and will help journalists and publications feel excited by—not overwhelmed—by your story pitches. 

What Makes Something Newsworthy?

It’s important to define “newsworthy.” Though a story can be incredibly valuable for your team, it doesn’t mean it’s relevant to your industry or community at large. Clarity on this perspective will keep you from bombarding your sources with constant story pitches that aren’t right for their audience. 

This will also prevent the writer or publication from developing pitch fatigue from your company. A few questions you can ask yourself include:

  • Is this story TIMELY?
  • What IMPACT does it make on your community or industry?
  • Does it feature any PROMINENT leaders?
  • Do you have STATS or data to share?
  • If this story was from a competitor, would you still find it valuable to read? 
  • Does your story INFORM or TEACH your audience anything? 
  • Is it the FIRST in your entire industry, or just your company? 

If your story idea checks all those marks, it’s likely a good candidate for outside publication. 

What Kind of Content is Likely to Succeed? 

If you are trying to get a story picked up by a newspaper or publication, it’s important to understand what kind of stories are more appealing and appropriate to a larger audience. There are a few key ideas that have a decent chance of getting picked up. 

Customer Focused Content

Customer focused content, including product unveilings or innovative updates, are appealing to readers of your industry’s publications. Though an unlikely chance for a local paper or news channel, pitch these stories to the audiences who best understand your language and products.

Community News Stories 

Community news stories, including donations, sponsorships or scholarships are great stories that are appealing to the community you help. Pitch these stories to local papers and channels. If the news story includes sponsoring young manufacturers through trade schools or apprenticeship programs, that is likely a good candidate for an industry publication. 

What Doesn’t Work

There are some situations where, despite how important the story is to your company, it just isn’t appropriate for outside publication. Things like hiring, promotion or retirement stories, team celebrations, and small product or system updates aren’t typically going to impact your public. 

Leveraging Media Relationships as a Manufacturer 

Many manufacturing hubs across the country, and certainly in Wisconsin, are located in smaller towns and communities, instead of the more populous cities. This is a great advantage to manufacturers who are building a media presence. 

Likely, area newspapers and news channels are not as flooded with stories, and may be actively searching for leads and stories, instead of constantly turning down pitches. This means manufacturing PR teams have less competition and more opportunities. This also means that there is a better chance of developing a real, genuine relationship with writers and sources at publications. 

These types of relationships, like all others, have to be built over time. Pay attention to what your industry writer cares about, or the trends in your industries top publications, and you can hone in on what is important to the writer and their audience. 

How to Start Genuine Relationship with Your Media Connections 

Developing a genuine relationship with your media contacts means there needs to be communication outside of pitching your story. A few ways to create genuine communication with writers and publications can include:

  • Following them on social media 
  • Sharing sincere compliments about their work
  • Offering resources or breaking news to support their work, not your own story
  • Asking thoughtful follow up questions to their latest price
  • Sharing their work with relevant leaders through social, email, etc.

Writing strong and compelling stories, and genuine relationships with media writers absolutely takes time and effort. Over time, these channels and relationships will grow stronger and provide your team, industry and community with valuable insights on your growing company. 

How to Get Started in Media Relations

As always, Media Relations needs to be a part of your PR strategy, and support your overall growth goals. If your team is struggling on how to write, develop and share powerful content, reach out to Strategy House today. 

Post by: Carmella D'Acquisto

Carmella D'Acquisto is the Content Strategist and Brand Storyteller at Strategy House. Backed by years of copy writing, marketing and creative writing experience, Carmella, alongside the rest of the Strategy House team, helps bring manufacturing brands to life. Outside of Strategy House, Carmella is a freelance writer and contributor at Milwaukee Record. When she's not behind her computer, you can catch her at a local show or thrift store.