Fergus Campbell, head of PR and communications at Gumtree, reveals which tools the company deploys to power its media relations activity.
While the modern day communicator needs to constantly polish their skills across a wide range of new and evolving capabilities, in many ways media relations remains reliably consistent in what attention it requires from the average public relations officer.
This is because a (diminishing) number of journalists remain the gatekeepers of target publications and platforms that brands wish to influence and infiltrate, and building relationships with these media titles is the best way to secure a route in.
However, there are a number of tools and processes which should be put in place to pave the way for successful media relations activity. For example, here at Gumtree – the UK’s leading classifieds platform used by one in three UK adults every month – we have been ‘doubling down’ on creating the best possible media relations and press office function.
Gumtree’s key media relations activity
To achieve this we have put in place three key activities.
Firstly, we ensured we had the right resource in place. This included appointing a PR agency to provide the arms and legs to solicit and support incoming media enquiries, and recruiting a PR manager to focus exclusively on managing the press office.
Secondly, we improved the systems and processes that sit behind the enhanced press office. This has ranged from ensuring that we have the right escalation and approval processes in place (including where we are required to liaise with our parent company, eBay, or sister platforms such as Gumtree Australia and Gumtree South Africa), through to preparing and then stress-testing a series of statements on key and predictable issues in the format of a holding bank.
Thirdly, we have been proactive in building personal and professional relationships with key media, through a programme of formal and informal ‘meet and greets’ and by being unapologetic about challenging media coverage which is inaccurate or unbalanced.
Every brand or agency will have its own tools and preferences for how best to deliver a first class media relations experience. So, media relations rightly remains one of the foundations upon which to build modern and successful brands.
To discover what’s in other communicators’ media relations toolkits, download our latest white paper, How to master modern media relations and deliver the right results: