I am not a media relations girl. To me, it’s the hardest part of public relations and an area I didn’t master while in college. Truthfully, I don’t think any novice is in love with media relations. Practice really does make perfect with this aspect of PR.
Luckily for me, I was able to practice these skills this past weekend while volunteering at the Wawa Welcome America Festival in Philadelphia. I’ve worked media areas before but hadn’t in a while so I very much appreciated the opportunity to brush up on these skills
After my experience, here are a few things I learned when working with the media.
- Prep work saves lives: I was not directly involved in the pitching efforts for the festival. However, their PR team clearly was prepared, with releases printed and available for media at all events. I could only assume their efforts paid off since there was an abundance and variety of media present. There was also a list of approved freelancers and outlets, a vital document that all media areas should have.
- Put yourself in their shoes: Test out shots from various locations at your event beforehand. Is there anything in the way? Can reporters move from one area to another easily?
- ID please: Not just anyone is allowed in the media area. It’s essential that only media with credentials come into the designated area to check in. Typically, big events give out their own specific credentials or press passes at this time. Folks who belong at said events are usually very willing to show you their media identification. It’s the ones who have no clue what you’re talking about or reference a celebrity that should concern you.
- Playing security: You might have to help photographers and camera people get their desired shot. Be ready to hold things, block off areas and gently remove unwanted objects or people from shots
- Under pressure: Do not cave! Random people will want to come into the media area. Others will be unapproved media who will beg to get in. Don’t let the pressure get to you. Be politely militant.
I had an awesome time volunteering with the Wawa Welcome America Festival last weekend. It was the perfect refresher I needed for working with the media. Have you worked media areas? Any tips to add to my list?