How to Land Media Coverage: It’s Not WHO You Know, It’s WHAT You Know

media-relations-wordle1The most common publicity and media relations question we receive from prospects and clients is: What media contacts do you know?

But media relations is not about how large your media Rolodex is; it’s about the media relations process. We have pitched thousands of stories throughout the years to many different media contacts about different topics. But what helps land a story is not the relationship; it’s the approach and the story pitch.

Let’s be honest… relationships are only going to get you so far. If you are pitching the wrong beat reporter or a lackluster product or story, it doesn’t matter who you know. What’s more important is you know how to identify the correct reporters, you know the right times to call/email and you know how to craft an excellent pitch. A solid professional reputation for developing quality story ideas is a much more powerful asset to an agency than a few relationships.

If you rely solely on media relationships and not media relations fundamentals and best practices, what happens when your media contact changes beats or media outlets all together? Certainly it can be worthwhile to build relationships with media who cover your beat because it can help your pitch get heard/seen. The best way to build a relationship is to continually present media with good story ideas – even when they are not about your company – and respond promptly when asked for information, product samples, interviews, etc.  However, simply having a relationship doesn’t mean the media will be interested in every story you pitch.

Next time you are evaluating publicity and media relations services ask your agency about its media relations process. What about their approach will help land you the coverage you are expecting to see.

Jennifer Manocchio


After starting her career with Edelman in Chicago, Jennifer joined Sweeney and quickly established herself as an exceptional industry innovator. In 2004, she opened Sweeney’s first full-service office outside of Cleveland and quickly rose through the ranks to become agency president. Jen leads by example and without fear. She has been critical to agency growth throughout the past decade and continues to lead the agency into the future.