How to Make Media Relations a Strategic Priority so You Can Tell Good Stories to Your Community

The number one way to prepare for any kind of crisis or important story is to make relationship-building with the local media a strategic priority.

This allows for two things:

  1. Earned media exposure for stories you want to tell your community.
  2. Better relationships for handling a crisis or emergency that turns into a news story.


Let’s define earned media: This refers to media exposure you get that you didn’t pay for.  You can calculate it. It’s called Earned Media Value and it’s a way to put a dollar figure on what the exposure/impressions would cost if you bought paid advertising.

The way you get earned media is by pitching newsworthy stories and expert sources to local media.

You might hear that social media and digital marketing have made earned media obsolete. This is not true.

  • Earned media adds legitimacy to your programs, product and brand. 
  • People want the stories you have to tell. 
  • The third party credibility matters. This is particularly true about local media.


Here are a few tips for increasing your earned media:

  • Calendar for timely pitches/newsworthy events
  • Regular contact with beat reporters who cover your industry
  • Expert tips and guides–free your employees up to talk to media about their areas of expertise
  • Send media advisories (different than press releases) to local media outlets about events that make for good b-roll/video
  • Think local–what matters in your community and how do you contribute to the things that matter?


A leader’s ability to understand the role of the media and empower their people to build positive and productive relationships with local journalists and news directors has a direct impact on not just earned media, but on crisis communication as well.


Need help creating a pitch calendar or press releases? Reach out today to hear more about how we can help increase your earned media.