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The reputation of a business is often defined by how it manages its relationship with the media. After all, we can all name companies and industry leaders who have successfully built their profile by maximising positive news at every opportunity, not to mention those businesses whose mismanagement of the press has left their reputation in tatters.

Engaging with the media rather than avoiding it at all costs will help you raise your profile, generate awareness about your business,  highlight the contribution small and mid cap quoted companies are making and provide an opportunity to have your voice heard in a clever and impactful way.

We’ve come a long way since the first wire service in 1882 delivered news to investment houses along Wall Street.  Today with the explosion of cable and satellite channels, more than 5,000 titles in business, professional and trade magazines in the UK and so many websites that there are no official numbers –  can you really afford to miss out?

Like two heavyweights in the ring, the business and media powerhouses haven’t always seen eye to eye. There is much suspicion, mistrust and pre-conceived ideas that leave both sides circling around each other rather than engaging constructively.

So what steps do we need to take in order to develop a successful media strategy? The easiest way of building a relationship with the media is to think of it like making a deal. You would never shake hands on a commercial agreement without doing the due diligence and research, so before striking up a dialogue with a journalist you need to have confidence in your knowledge and be sure about the messages you need to communicate.

Learning how the media industry works and the best way to enhance relationships with journalists are a prerequisite to gaining positive exposure and building credibility that could, quite literally, pay huge dividends for your business going forward.

Arti Halai is Director of Fleet Street Consulting, a specialist consultancy devoted to helping clients maximise business performance through the power of communication.

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