Media relation is one the most basic activities of a PR practitioner. There is a number of tools PR persons use for maintaining effective media relations like holding press conferences, arranging press visits or tours for the media persons. Some of them are:
The PR person is responsible to organize the press conferences. A press conference is organized when the organization has to announce a major policy change or speak about a labor-management rift, or to launch a product which requires demonstration.
Before holding a press conference you must decide on the following things:
- Decide about the spokesperson who will address the media.
- Prepare-press kit which should contain a news release, literature about the organization, a writing pad and a pen.
- Prepare the list of media persons or the media organizations to be invited.
- Decide the venue which is accessible to the media persons.
- Timing of the press conference should neither be too early or too late in the day. The media persons should be able to get back to their place and work for filing the story on time.
- Arrange for the transportation of media persons from a convenient place to the venue.
- Arrange for hospitality of the media-persons.
It is the duty of the PR person to manage and control the press conference. After the media persons have taken their seats, we must introduce the spokesperson who will be addressing them, After the spokesperson addressed the media on the subject matter, the floor should be opened to the media persons to ask questions. You must decide the duration of the conference. The ideal duration should be about 45 minutes to one hour.
Unlike press conferences, press briefings are informal and do not require elaborate arrangements. Press briefings can be categorized as proactive and reactive. In proactive pres briefing, some media persons are invited to clarify certain points of view after a crisis situation. After an informal briefing by the spokesperson, a written statement can also be issued to the press to avoid misquotation. In reactive press briefings, a press person seeks an audience with the chief spokesperson to clarify certain points of view.
A press tour needs elaborate arrangements. A press tour can be organized on the occasion commissioning a project, achievement of a landmark or a crisis situation like an accident. While inviting the media persons for the press tour, the PR persons, should write to the editor or chief of the bureaus of newspapers. If it is a formal tour, sufficient notice must be given, because the concerned reporter may have to be spared for a number of days from the place of work. He has to prepare for that.
Before organizing a press trip, you must decide on the following things:
- Prepare the list of media persons to be invited.
- Plan the travel arrangements properly.
- Accommodation for all the people invited.
- Hospitality during the trip starting from day one.
A representative of the company must accompany the press party and personally supervises the arrangements.