There is no doubt, the pandemic and politics have significantly influenced American media. Turn on primetime news and read the headlines in your local newspaper. You are guaranteed to hear about the pandemic and polarized politics. But don’t let these global and national events dissuade you from incorporating media relations into your 2021 marketing and communications plans.

Whether you’re a community bank or credit union needing financial marketing assistance, a large hospital or small physician group seeking healthcare marketing help, a small business, Fortune 500 company or anything in between, here are the top ways to help incorporate a successful earned media strategy into your overall plan, while accounting for the current and evolving conditions of the pandemic and polarized political landscape:

  • Be strategic. You must be surgical about the media outlets you target and extremely relevant in your outreach to journalists if you want to stand out from your competitors. With layoffs and furloughs spreading like wildfire throughout the U.S., newsroom staffing and resources have been significantly cut. They are managing more, with less resources, so it’s essential that you take your time to research topics, reporters, and outlets that could benefit from sharing your key messages with their audiences. If you’re not thoughtful in your approach, you’re likely to get deleted from the inbox.
  • Identify a spokesperson. Engage a specific team member to talk on behalf of your organization to aid in enhancing and building your brand to both internal and external audiences. Just as your company logo is part of your brand, your spokesperson also is part of your brand. A spokesperson helps define you in your industry, separates you from your competition and is recognized as a brand ambassador. If you’re a financial institution, perhaps it’s your CEO or a bank teller that becomes your brand voice. Whomever it is, ensure the spokesperson is authentic and addresses the needs of your current and prospective customers.
  • Develop relationships. Take time now to build new and stronger relationships with journalists. The goal is for better media placement down the road and to become the go-to source. Be patient. Take time to research what journalists are talking about. Follow them on social media and review current articles and news stories to learn more about their areas of interest.
  • Support local. A crucial earned media opportunity is local news. Right now, it’s essential that local news brings global (the pandemic) and national (politics) events back to the local level. Stories related to the pandemic and its effects continue to be relevant. Lead the conversation by pitching human interest stories and your expert spokesperson to make these large-scale events relevant to local viewers and keeping them informed more than ever before.

If you want to enhance and build brand awareness, share your key messages and shape perceptions among your target audiences, then don’t shy away from incorporating earned media in your 2021 marketing and communications plan. Consider all options to tell your stories in the new year, be thoughtful, relevant, patient and lead conversations that help local audiences. If you need assistance getting your media relations plan up and running, contact Chartwell Agency. We have a team of public relations professionals to help you successfully navigate today’s media landscape.