As a millennial in PR, there’s a tendency to listen to the stories from those who have been in the field for years with shock and wonder. Who puts together print clip reports? You faxed press releases to reporters?
While a lot of older PR tactics can seem out of date in the age of direct messaging reporters, there’s still a lot we can learn, and tactics we can still use today. Much like the resurgence of vinyl and the record player, some PR tactics can, and should, be brushed off and worked into our communications plans today, like the media tour.
While media tours don’t work in every sector, for companies reaching the government space or working in healthcare, media tours can be a great opportunity for out-of-town clients to share their expertise with press in your area. The key to a successful media tour is understanding if it’s the right fit for your industry, at Merritt Group our practice groups know the cities and focus areas that work for media tours.
For example, this past fall I created a day-long media tour for a client visiting the Washington, D.C. area. The spokesperson was looking to build name recognition with federal reporters and had a few hours open in the afternoon for potential meetings. We ended up having introductory meetings with reporters at three of the top federal outlets, providing our spokesperson a chance to share their expertise and learn what reporters were working on. Since those introductory meetings, my client has had follow-up interviews with each of the three publications.
In my experience with this and other media tours I’ve done for government and healthcare clients, I’ve found that clients and reporters both appreciate the opportunity to meet face-to-face. In-person intros give reporters the opportunity to learn about a potential source without a hard sell pitch, making it a great way to build an ongoing relationship for your client with the reporters they need.
Not only are media tours great for our clients to get face time with reporters and position themselves as resources, they’re also a great chance for us PR professionals. Having that opportunity to build your own brand with a reporter is key to getting your pitches answered. And hearing what they’re working on over a cup of coffee can give you and the rest of your team invaluable insights on what they’re interested in now and in the future.
So, while faxing your press releases to reporters may not be coming back in style anytime soon, make sure you’re not discounting so-called traditional PR tactics. Used in the right way and in the right space, they can still be a great opportunity. Some, like media tours, aren’t dead yet.