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Media relations: 10 ways to build effective relationships with the media

1. Understand your media
Take the time to regularly read, watch and understand your target media. Look at regular features, issues they are interested in and know the layout of the publication, programme or website.

2. Consider deadlines
Make sure you are aware of journalists' deadlines and adjust your timings for releases if necessary. The lead times for new stories will change depending on whether they publish online, or a daily, weekly or monthly edition. Do ask the journalist directly when the best time is for them to receive pitches.

3. Be relevant
A good news pitch takes research. Rather than inundating your target media with press releases which might not be relevant, think about their target audience and what that journalist has an interest in.

4. Be reliable
Raise the profile of your college as the ‘go to’ organisation. Good PR is based on facts so make sure you give statistics and use reliable research.

5. Give a local slant to a national story
Regional newspapers and news programmes often want to get a local angle on a national story. It’s worth building up a bank of case studies which speak to key national issues (the NHS, green skills, skills shortages) or events (Olympics, the Euros, national awareness weeks) and sending them out as soon as you spot a development in this issue playing out nationally.

6. Offer exclusives
Journalists will appreciate exclusive features, exclusive interviews with senior spokespeople and exclusive visits to your college.

7. A quick coffee
There are huge benefits in meeting a journalist face-to-face, but most don’t have time to get away from the office. Ask if you can drop by their office to meet them for a quick coffee, outlining the interesting issues and stories you will be able to tell them about. Take this opportunity of meeting them to ask what they are working on and how you can help them. You might want to invite them to come and visit the college too if they can spare the time.

8. Engage with journalists on social media
Follow your media contacts on X. Many journalists post their latest stories, so you could comment on or retweet relevant stories. Some will put interview or information requests out via X too.

9. Keep in touch
Once you have developed a good relationship with a journalist make sure you keep in touch. Catch up for a coffee every now and again, keep them up to date with news from your college and call to pitch in an exclusive when you have one.

10. Say thank you
If your story does get covered or a journalist comes to visit the college, take the time to say thank you.

If you need any support or advice on media relations, please get in touch with Kate Parker, Press and PR Manager, on