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Best of NAMA 2022

By Alicia Heun, Director of Engagement, Paulsen, Sioux Falls, SD

Many agri-businesses and rural-facing companies work on shoestring budgets and keep their marketing and communications teams lean. In many organizations, one or two people are juggling every aspect of earned, owned and paid media.

The job description for a small-shop ag communicator may include designing brochures, producing events, posting to social media, ordering the company polos, assisting human resources with recruiting, creating sales presentations and "all other duties as assigned."

So, when it comes to working with reporters, it's easy for their leaders to take the public relations process for granted and ask their small-shop to "get this article in the industry magazine or newspaper right away."

This kind of request can send a small-shop communicator's head spinning!

Help your lean communications team give 100 percent when it comes to media relations with the four R's of public relations: Build relationships, be relevant, get ready, and ensure your team rehearses and has resources prepared.

1. Relationships
Build relationships with reporters before you "need" them. This starts with an up-to-date media list which is especially important with the ongoing consolidation in ag media.

A variety of subscription services provide contact details and press release distribution services. Several do a good job of staying current with job changes with ag and rural lifestyle reporters, so be sure your service covers your specific industry. It's often best to segment reporters based on what kinds of content they would cover. In ag, most reporters and editors specialize in some aspect of the industry. You can also connect with these reporters on Twitter or LinkedIn.

A media relations agency is also a great resource. Agencies already pay the annual subscription fee for these reporter databases. Partnering up for media connections can be a time and resource saver.

2. Relevant
Who cares? Segmenting your list of reporters also ensures you're sending the most relevant content to the right reporter. A national news outlet does not care that you donated $500 to the local county fair, but your local newspapers do.

Why does this matter? Specifically, why does this matter to the media outlet's audience? This is a critical question for small-shop communicators to ask of their leaders who are pushing for a press story. Have tough conversations about what constitutes trying to make news and what is clearly newsworthy.

Timing is everything. Many industry publications share their editorial calendars at least a year in advance. Use those resources to place your company in the spotlight when the editors are looking for specific content.

To view the complete report, click here.

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