This section deals with all aspects of media relations from handling a press enquiry and placing features to organising media focused events.

It covers both reactive and proactive media relations and includes practical tips on building relationships with journalists, including the national, regional and specialist press and the broadcast media.

There's also some quick tips on handling media enquiries, to help you know what to do when a journalist calls.

In this section...

Top tips for media relations

  • Ensure that all your media relations activity is linked to the wider communication strategy and has evaluation built in.
  • Identify your key media outlets and develop long term relationships with a few journalists from the specialist press or with specialist correspondents on national newspapers, TV and radio. This will ensure they fully understand the issues when they need to write a story on the project.
  • If you are dealing with a media enquiry, take down the details and ask the journalist their deadline. Call them back with a response once you have checked out the details. If you can't get a full response within the deadline, give a 'holding' comment.
  • Respond promptly to press enquiries: the way and speed with which you deal with them will affect the media's perception of you and your institution – and therefore the kind of coverage you get.
  • When a journalist or researcher calls, establish if they will be quoting you or if they just want a background briefing. This will help you to decide how much time to give them.
  • Build up background briefings for stories you anticipate will be big news in advance. Distil the essence of your research into three or four key points and then back up the points with facts and figures. Add a conclusion to the briefings that outlines the main policy implications or the 'way forward'.
  • Avoid the use of jargon and too much technical detail when writing press releases or speaking to journalists – especially if the publication or TV/radio programme has a non-specialist audience.
  • Make sure you're available to speak to journalists for a few days after you've issued a press release – and give them your mobile number too.
  • If you need help identifying a good story, writing press releases or giving media interviews, contact the ESRC press team. They run a number of training courses which can help improve your skills and increase your confidence.
  • Liaise with partners on any media relations work for joint projects to ensure you are all clear about roles and responsibilities.