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Learning to navigate the media landscape is no easy venture. In college you’re taught about writing press releases and sending to media, but once you get into the “real world” it’s not as simple as pushing send and magically getting coverage.

Understanding how the media works and paying attention to current news will take you a long way in becoming a media pro. Whether you’re still in college or just starting out in PR, fine-tuning your media smarts right now will give you a head start. 

Here are some proactive ways to get your smarts on now:

Change your perspective
Start looking at your favorite magazines but from a different perspective. If you want to work in the beauty or fashion industry, browse ELLE or InStyle and start looking at these magazines through the PR lens rather than just as the consumer.

Changing your perspective will help you see:
  • What are the reoccurring feature sections in every issue? 
  • What are the hot products that are being written about? 
  • Does your brand/client have a similar or complementing product that would be of interest to readers?


Becoming smart on major outlets that fit your brand/client is crucial for any PR pro. Knowing what type of topics and products they write about and who is writing it will be invaluable when you need to land media coverage for brand news or a product launch. Editorial calendars are also a great resource when looking for ways to proactively pitch a product or idea.
Research will answer questions like:
  • Are there any planned features that your brand could fit into?
  • Who’s the best contact to pitch you story to?


The importance of keeping up with current news both general and in your client’s industry cannot be stressed enough. 
Reading will show you:
  • What are the big trends or news waves?
  • Who is writing about your products and your competitor’s products?
  • What outlets you should be targeting for your brand/client?

These are some very easy ways to start getting your media smarts sharpened and fine-tuned. Even though we wear many hats in public relations, it’s good to be reminded that media relations is the very core of what we do.

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