Proactive vs. Reactive Media Relations

Here are thoughts on proactive vs. reactive media relations — The world of media relations is constantly changing, and it can be tough to keep up. Do you find yourself being more proactive or reactive when it comes to dealing with media? Who’s calling who – if the phone even rings? Are you spending most of your pitch time responding to existing queries? 

Feature profiles are more likely when you include your targeted messaging

The proactive media strategy is built around the idea of creating and placing stories that will be of interest to both media and clients, rather than waiting for the media to come to you (and everyone else) with their storyline. The proactive way is a more targeted and focused approach that seeks to generate specific messages in the coverage.

A reactive media strategy is one that responds to widely-blasted query pitches from journalists or inbound requests otherwise for interviews and information. This kind of strategy is less targeted and more scattered in its approach. It rarely drives home messaging you predetermined as ideal to get into new stories, and you’re trying to fit your round peg messaging in their square hole news angle. Also, you’re more likely to simply be one of many voices rounded up, reducing the spotlight and shortening your knowhow in the eventual story. 

There are pros and cons to both approaches, but in general, a proactive media strategy is more likely to result in better coverage that includes your targeted messaging.

Relying on reactive outbound requests from reporters will never match your brand messaging goals

When your brand is only mentioned in passing or as part of a reactive PR strategy, it will never match your messaging goals. You need earned media placements that rise above the noise, and the best way to do that is with a proactive media relations strategy. 

A proactive media relations strategy focuses on researching and targeting precise journalists with relevant story ideas. By doing so, you get to know them better than simply saying “yes I can answer your question” and you gain an understanding of what sort of stories they’re working on long term. This helps strengthen and build warm media relationships, so you can position yourself as a thought leader in the space – and not just once.

With a proactive approach, you’re in control of your narrative. You get to shape the story that’s being told about you, rather than reacting to whatever is coincidentally assigned from an editor. And when you have that kind of control, you can better align your brand messaging with your overall business goals.

If you want your brand to be seen as a thought leader in your industry, you need a proactive media relations strategy. From time to time, dabble in the reactive method when very relatable and attractive, but for the most part – ditch the reactive approach and start building better relationships and helping shape stories today.

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