Build Media Relations From the Ground Up

Checklist 2 min
While the media is not an audience, they are a conduit to an audience. Establishing a positive relationship is key in using their influence to push the command message.

Use this checklist to enact a media relations plan that will potentially shape the community's attitude toward the military. Large media outlets will not necessarily have the same availability or accessibility as smaller agencies, so courting smaller news brands, magazines and newspapers could warrant a more positive relationship.

  1. Set goals and objectives for building a relationship with media outlets
  2. Survey what media outlets are in the local area
  3. Research each outlet
    1. Determine the goal of the organization
    2. Note what they typically cover
    3. Assess their disposition (positive, neutral, negative) toward military/government
    4. Review their typical news cycle
    5. Understand what a headline story in the news looks like and how they cover the topic
  4. Identify which audiences the military is and is not reaching
  5. Brainstorm how the PA team can grow their relationship with the media:
    1. Invite agencies to the installation to cover a story
    2. Host a media day to give everyone access
    3. Call agencies to ask what they are doing and what they want; share something the command is doing to create interest
  6. Prepare to connect with outlets:
    1. Create a briefing card, fact sheet or another resource that contains background information on the unit or installation
    2. Compile common questions and answers that the media might ask the PA team
  7. Reach out to individual reporters that cover DoD-related stories
    1. Introduce yourself
    2. Tell them your area(s) of expertise and how you can help them
    3. Give them your contact information
  8. Follow through on planning and implementing the events and strategies gathered during your brainstorming session(s)
  9. Set checkpoints to evaluate if the PA team meets objectives
  10. Build an internal media list that factors your target audience(s), relevant media contact information and ensure to review and update periodically

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