How to Develop a Media Partnership

by Lisa McQuerrey; Updated September 26, 2017
Young woman reading magazine by window in office

A media partnership is a mutually beneficial relationship between a corporation or organization and select branches of the media, typically broadcast or print media. A company either offers money or in-kind promotional consideration for above-average or specialized and directed forms of media coverage.

Identify Appropriate Media

Some forms of media will be a better fit for your company or your promotional objectives than others. For example, if you're trying to reach a mainstream demographic, a local television news station may be an appropriate venue to approach. If you're a highly technical business start-up, an online or tech trade print publication might be a more appropriate medium. Recognize that traditionally, media partnerships that are in-kind, low-cost or no-cost are facilitated by nonprofit or community organizations while traditional for-profit businesses are relegated to paid advertising.

Establish a Media Contact

Some media outlets have a community partnership or media relations staff person who helps facilitate media partnerships. Contact the medium of your choice and ask to speak to this person. If the position doesn't exist, talk to a community relations manager or a sales manager. Some media regularly participate in media partnerships and have programs or packages in place, while others will ask you to pitch your own ideas to them.

Outline Your Needs

Detail what you need from your media partner. This might include the opportunity to submit press releases or public service announcements that pertain to a particular program or event. It might also mean requesting free airtime for showing commercials or announcements about something related to your organization, requesting advertising space in a print publication or links on a website or social media venue.

Describe What You Bring

Outline what you bring to the media partnership -- in other words, what benefit you provide to the media company in return for their support. For example, if a media partner publicizes a charity fun run, you could thank and publicly recognize the organization through signage, promotional materials, T-shirts, banners and in podium recognitions or on social media. If you're a 501(c)(3) organization, you might also offer tax benefits to the organization, because the media can typically write off the value of their in-kind contribution on their corporate taxes.

Put it in Writing

A media partnership should include an agreement that clearly outlines the terms and conditions of the agreement, including its length, dollar value and the role each party will play in facilitating the agreement. This ensures all parties are operating on the same set of information and establishes clear guidelines for everyone to abide by.

About the Author

Lisa McQuerrey has been a business writer since 1987. In 1994, she launched a full-service marketing and communications firm. McQuerrey's work has garnered awards from the U.S. Small Business Administration, the International Association of Business Communicators and the Associated Press. She is also the author of several nonfiction trade publications, and, in 2012, had her first young-adult novel published by Glass Page Books.

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