Media relations

What defence journos value from PRs

What defence journos value from PRs

What defence journos value from PRs

Finding it hard to break into the defence media?  Is there radio silence following your email pitches? Being successful at defence PR requires a little more than pitching Haribo. And whilst it doesn’t exactly take a masonic handshake to enter the writer’s realm, you will need a finely tuned set of media relations skills to execute a successful comms programme in this specialist industry. It helps to have the right connections, as defence journalists and writers are a tight-knit community, but they’re keen to work with PRs who understand their needs.

Here’s our top tips to securing military and defence journalists’ interest and getting your news and thought leadership articles published.

What makes a successful media pitch?

If you’re trying to pitch a story or interview with an industry spokesperson, you should know the market, where your client fits into it, and what makes a good story. Keep the email subject line compelling, ideally less than 12 words, and include only a couple of short / bullet-point paragraphs in the email, with links to further information. Be clear with the defence journalists on what you want from them up front, whether it’s an interview or a thought leadership article, for instance – and when the spokesperson is available. Offering journalists an interesting narrative, including the challenges you help to overcome is key.  According to Pete Sandeman at Navy Lookout, ‘it is always much more interesting to hear about the challenges that have been overcome and problems solved to deliver the result than just how marvellous everything is.’

It’s very important to read the publication you’re trying to pitch to, as the tone and knowledge level of the audience will be apparent. Some general military publications will be excited to hear about subsea defence mine countermeasures missions, while others like Janes have journalists who are virtually in-mission specialists, and your ‘vanilla’ pitch won’t cut it at all. Developing a pitch to the audience’s knowledge level is key. And ensure you understand the publication’s audience location, as it may appear like a UK publication with a UK editorial team, but they are likely to have global reach.

what defence journalists need from PRs

Thought leadership articles

Defence journalists are receiving more content than ever – and not just press releases, but articles on random unrelated topics with embedded links. Due to the amount of this SEO-based content they are receiving, it’s even more important that your synopsis and subsequent contributed articles are of a high standard of writing that reflects the expertise of the business. The synopsis should be a couple of paragraphs, tied into the industry agenda, such as forthcoming themes for DSEI, and authored by subject matter experts. Checking with another team member to review and proof for that objective viewpoint is a great idea.

Most defence publications love the offer of contributed articles as the hard work has already been done by someone else and it helps them in their job. But, remember – quality is key and an article can only be successfully placed by pitching a well-written synopsis. Not all synopses will ‘float the journalist’s boat’, and no matter how hot you think the topic is, sometimes it’s worth offering several before you find a synopsis that they’re keen to run with. Checking the desired word count and submission date – and sticking to these – is also vital.

Are images important?

Lots of good imagery is key – especially in the visually dominated social media world. A good PR should always endeavour to get high-res images (and ideally video) to go alongside any press release. Often, when journalists are supplied with strong or unusual images, they try to use them even if the main content is not especially exciting.


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How to get the detail right?

From a trade media perspective, as much technical detail as possible is welcome (within the bounds of security obviously). Defence journalists receive many handouts or press releases with minimal information about what has been delivered which are just padded out with quotes. If you don’t want to overload the initial press release, you must provide a contact for further information where an interview can be arranged to answer questions in more depth. Generic quotes from the CEO or Senior executive in the press release are a formality – journalists regard them as such and they are rarely used. Defence journalists prefer bespoke content, that can be obtained either as an exclusive or via a one-to-one interview.

If you want to know more about how EC-PR can support you with media relations for your defence technology business, please get in touch. Or find out more about our PR services in the Defence sector or browse our PR case studies here.

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What is B2B PR media relations?

What is B2B PR media relations?

What is B2B PR media relations?

You’ve probably heard the saying, “Don’t put all your eggs into one basket.” It’s true in business and investing, but it’s just as true in public relations.

For effective B2B PR, you need to use several techniques that all work together to form a cohesive strategy. One of the most critical techniques to include in your plan is B2B PR media relations.

B2B PR media relations: the basics

One of the most impactful ways to boost your B2B PR is to be published and mentioned in media outlets because it delivers third-party endorsement which in turn, improves credibility as well as increasing brand awareness. Media relations involves building and nurturing long-lasting relationships with journalists so that you can get into those publications more often.

What goes into a B2B PR media relations strategy?

Media relations isn’t just about making friends with reporters. There are several steps you need to master in order to form and maintain the right relationships.

Identifying the right connections

Not all media personnel will provide the same value for your PR strategy as others. The key is to find those that are most relevant to helping you further engage with your target audience.

Consider the publications and media outlets that are popular among decision-makers in your target industry. Identify the reporters, producers, and other professionals from those outlets that will help you most.

It also helps to focus on the reporters who specialise in your industry rather than generalists. For instance, some media outlets have public safety reporters or healthcare reporters. These would be ideal connections to have if those are the sectors you are targeting.

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Knowing how to pitch content

The purpose of building relationships with reporters is to be able to present them with news and insights that are of interest to their readers – this will give you the best possible chance of being featured in a story or article. For that to happen, you also need to know how to pitch to those reporters.

A B2B PR expert knows what types of stories/pitches appeal to reporters. As you get to know the reporters in your network, you can also identify the best ways to appeal to each reporter.

Establishing a reputation

Reporters have one job: to produce content that gets as many views or reads as possible. You need to establish a reputation as someone who can help them accomplish this.

As part of your media relations strategy, you want to pitch truly news-worthy or unique content that will interest the reporters’ followers. If you frequently pitch content that doesn’t fit the bill, the reporters will stop listening and engaging, or worse, block you.


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Leveraging a media relations manager

Working with a media relations manager can do all of the above on your behalf. Think of it as a shortcut to learning something new and reaping the reward. Media relations in PR is too important to leave to chance, so working with an experienced media relations manager can give you more for your efforts.

Sharpening your B2B PR media relations strategy

Media relations is more of an art form than a science. It takes experience and finesse to identify and connect with the right media personnel while establishing long-term relationships with them that benefit both sides.

For help with your B2B PR media relations, turn to our B2B PR professionals.

Join our #B2BPR tribe:

If you’ve found this article valuable, you can get more useful insight here:

Download our ultimate guide: How to write a B2B press release

READ this Tech PR case study: How SELiS used press interviews to show Thought Leadership

watch our video: how to identify your target audience”

At EC-PR we are passionate about B2B communication. We believe your work is amazing and we want to help you tell the world how extraordinary it is. Get in touch.

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B2B PR – Four steps to effective media engagement

B2B PR – Four steps to effective media engagement

With 5 weeks to go, Seawork will no doubt bring about lots of exciting business and media opportunities. Picture the scene – your stand is a hive of activity and next thing you know, a journalist has caught you off guard and starts enquiring about your company’s activities. We hear time and time again that a situation like this ignites fear and dread where people freeze, become tongue-tied and leave the journalist feeling singularly unimpressed.

You could have a really great story to tell but if you don’t have the experts available who can communicate effectively, journalists will very quickly move on to the next story. Here are four steps that will improve the situation:

1. Prepare: This week, spend ten minutes with a couple of colleagues and brainstorm 20 possible/probable questions, including the difficult ones and prepare some answers. Write up the Q&A and circulate it to all attendees. This will ensure everyone knows what the company position is on a given subject.

2. Buy time: If necessary, you can say to the journalist “now is not a good time, could you come back in 5/10 minutes or later in the day?”. Ask him/her what they would like to discuss – that way you will have some time to think through your responses, particularly if they are tricky and sensitive issues.

3. Have an opinion: If there are potentially controversial or sensitive issues, work out where you stand and don’t be afraid to air those views – the key is making sure you can back them up. Journalists are looking for experts with a strong opinion. If your company prefers not to comment on such issues that’s fine, but don’t be surprised if the reporter then makes their excuses and ends the interview abruptly.

4. Be interesting and relevant: Coming across as an authoritative spokesperson is key – try to refer to real life examples to help bring your points to life. Also, be selective when weaving in your own internal messages.

Emmett & Churchman offers a one day bespoke media training workshop called Credence.

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