Setting Up a Team of One for Success in Media Outreach

With our Media Relations Conference coming Dec. 8-9, 2021, we’re giving readers and soon-to-be attendees a chance to meet members of this year’s speaker roster.

In this brief Q&A, we talk to Taya Jarman, APR, communications director at the Institute for Public Health Innovation (IPHI). Jarman is building a communication structure for IPHI, an established nonprofit. In a preview of her session, she spoke with PRNEWS about how a team of one can build a media function.

PRNEWS: You’re a team of one setting up a media function. What’s the first step?

Taya Jarman: Have a clear understanding of your assets. Who’s responsible for what? What fact sheets are available? Are the website and social regularly updated? Who has/needs media training?

You don’t want to wait until a media outlet calls you to realize you don’t have a place to send them.

Also, it makes it easier [for reporters] when URLs are short and condensed. If you’re talking about a [COVID-related] program, I’d want the URL to be something like:

PRNEWS: How do you ensure your message is communicated across all departments in a consistent voice?

Jarman: You can create organizational positioning and statements with overviews and fact sheets. Then, as you get into outreach programs or mission moments, work with those departments to help them tell their stories. Know what all departments are saying, and make sure their messaging is aligned with what they should be saying.

PRNEWS: What’s the right time to activate media outreach?

Jarman: Proactive outreach should be done once you have your house in order.

Make sure there’s a clear understanding of who your media contact is and [how to access that person] from your main page. There should be a ‘media’ or ‘press’ button from your homepage that directs [media] to approved stock photos and headshots.

Many organizations have outdated fact sheets or brochures. Do a communication audit that looks at what you have [and] how you are communicating. When you are reaching out to the media, what do your fact sheets and assets look like?  If you have outdated fonts and pictures or clip art with drop shadows, the media will...pass.

The positive thing about this news cycle is there is a lot of space and opportunity, but your story has to be easy for [reporters] to do their jobs. Provide visuals and clearly highlight approved quotes to make it easy for the news desk to grab the press release. You want to do the work for them.

For more from Jarman, as well as a deep dive into media training, pitching, building better relationships between PR and journalists and more, register for the PRNEWS Media Relations Conference.