We see media partnerships as a form of marketing communications. We define it this way because it acts as another channel/outlet for marketing. This methodology is making use of the media to carry the message to your audience. However, media has always been closely associated to public relations work, that is why business owners usually go to Public Relations agencies to execute these stories. We actually feel that by taking it one step further, it seems that forming alliances with these publications (online or offline) to carry your message makes things easier.

What is media?
Media (the singular form of which is medium) is the collective communication outlets or tools that are used to store and deliver information or data. It is either associated with communication media, or the specialized mass media communication businesses such as print media and the press, photography, advertising, cinema, broadcasting (radio and television) and publishing.

(Read more: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Media_(communication) )

In short, working with media is as though using someone else’s platform to quickly reach to your targeted audience.

When do you start using media as a communication method?
1. You use it when you want to associate yourself with the specific publications / you will like to be endorsed by this brand (Tip: You will need to have your branding in mind.)
First, you will need to understand that most publications are particularly discerning with their content. They only pick the brands that they want to associate themselves with. So before taking the first step, identify what your branding is, and create a list of media you would like to work with. Lastly, check on other spaces on the reputation that they hold – they might have a huge following but with the right amount of criticism on their platform would mean that there is a high chance you would be implicated. Once that is completed, start dropping these companies a call.

2. When you have already identified what is the target market and you would wish to deploy them through the fastest means
Look, you need to acknowledge that these publications have been around in the market for years. They have created themselves a good following of audience, and have identified who are their customers. Before you work with them, do your quick due diligence and make sure that the brand you would like to work with, has the right target audience.

3. When your brand is ready to go public
This is something you should not negate – whether your product is ready for its launch. You have to keep in mind that once your product has been covered by any form of media, it would have meant your product is ready to take on both good & bad reviews from the public. If your team or the agency on standby is well-prepared, it will be the deal-breaker for your business.

In summary, what should you looking out for when you choose to work with a certain publication?
– How is their branding like, who are the people who follows them?
– Who have they endorsed before
– Who is their target audience
– What has the response been like
– Was there any bad news from them?

What are the common methodology when it comes to public relations work?
Step 1: Create you own media database, choose them carefully, categorise them into the different areas of print / online.
Step 2: Ensure that the branding of the company is stable
Step 3: Create a media campaign with a targeted message
Step 4: Evaluate your purpose of working with the media
Step 5: Start creating the press releases / press invite
Step 6: Get your media kit ready
Step 7: Send them out, wait for 2 days to call them out to do your media pitch
Step 8: Build relations with them by sending them gifts
Step 9: Wait for the reports to be out
Step 10: Start monitoring the media, and grab the clippings
Step 11: Track the ROI from each article and see if you have gotten your message across and if they substantiate your efforts in working with the media

How do you start creating an alliance with them?
Solution 1: Get one marketing / public relations person to get in touch with these people
This solution is workable for most SME companies. It is at the point where you only require one person who already has a wealth of experience in the media sphere. This person will collate data and build relations with the media that is the most suited for the company. She / He will also manage the crisis, making sure that the company holds a good reputation in that industry. Picking the right choice of words and having a huge capacity for patience. She will need to remain as the neutral party for the company or a good sense of humor (of course, it depends on the different situations)

Here is one which we thought was brilliant – http://www.boredpanda.com/tesco-cucumber-worm-funeral-wes-metcalfe/

Solution 2: Get in touch with them yourself
If you are just starting-up in your own company, it is good to save costs by doing the work yourself. However, proper planning is required so that you will not overwhelm yourself with these huge amount of workload. You will need to clearly know when you will require to embark on a media campaign before you even start working on them. Idea is to make sure that you achieve the most amount of coverage within a short span of time, with minimal effort. It is your call to decide what kind of campaign / news will reflect well on your company. In good cases, if the ROI is fantastic, you will need to start thinking ahead if your company is able to withstand that volume.

Solution 3: Get an agency to work with them on your behalf
As much as a 3rd party agency is good for management, but you have to bear quite a high cost for engaging these companies. Next in-line would be finding the right agency that would be suitable for your company. You will (again) need to identify the common values, how discerning the agency is, and how established they are. The owners of these agencies are critical because only a familiar face in media would then be able to be kept up with the trends of the media.

All in all, before you embark on your media campaigns, do remember to re-evaluate the differences in cost / time / efficiency in all the 3 solutions.

Which industry has benefitted most from using the media platform?
In our experience, F&B, Beauty, Lifestyle has benefitted the most from this form of partnerships. A few references for you to pick your own brains.

Case Study 1: Oh So Fickle / Tammy Tay
If you have recently saw the viral post about Tammy Tay on her entrepreneur life, you would have noticed that she was a media platform (as an influencer) herself. She leveraged off her own brand with her own personal branding (link to personal branding page) which was an extremely smart move. Her target audience was primarily teens to younger adults which her platform was made for. Once her following increased, she slowly moved her branding to target the corporate crowd. The eyeballs on her fashion, which linked to her business, made her a very successful entrepreneur today.

(Read more here: https://vulcanpost.com/611236/tammy-tay-ohsofickle-entrepreneur/)

Case Study 2: The Smart Local
Reference 1: http://thesmartlocal.com/read/macritchie-treetop-walk
This was one of the most successful content that was widely viral. This publication went on an adventure at Macritchie and since then, there have been so many people headed down there to take photos of themselves doing the walk (3 years and still more). You also need to understand that this was a “out-of-the-mill” activity in Singapore. By working with this publication, both parties will essentially benefit from a partnership (if any partnership was formed in this process). One, publication would get a good recognition from the public, and on the other end, the place / venue would receive more awareness from this activity.

What is the difference between public relations and marketing communications?
“Marketing generally covers promotional, direct marketing and advertising which seeks to return direct sales; whereas PR is focused on reputation management through generating positive media coverage and stakeholder communication.”

(Read more at: https://publicrelationssydney.com.au/pr-marketing-whats-difference/)

Exactly, that is why we refer media partnerships as a form of marketing communications because we are generally ensuring that we hit out to the right target market to bring in the right coverage for the brand, so to bring in sales indirectly through this outlet. We do maintain a good relation (as form of public relations work) but not the entire spectrum of what a public relations agency would do.

So you need to be clear, using this as a form of marketing communication would only get you eyeballs. This is directly related to your brand equity and not sales. If you are looking to increase your revenue with this strategy, we will advise otherwise. Always make an effort to understand the purpose of every activity, and why you are doing this for. Manage your expectations well before you make any decision.