Four Tips For Building Relationships With the Media

Four Tips For Building Relationships With the Media

Even though some may frown upon this statement, it’s true when it comes to media relations; it’s a two-way street out there.  There are times they need something, and there are times you need something from them as well. Here’s how to cultivate a good relationship with your local media.

Having a tight relationship with the media is critical in growing your organization, building authenticity, and gaining credibility.

But, many agencies and organizations struggle to set their footing in the media landscape, failing to forge relationships, often due to lack of time, skepticism, and mistrust.

It’s imperative to understand that the media plays a vital role in communicating your news to the public, whether you want it communicated or not. So why not take control of your narrative by building a relationship with the media?

Building these relationships is not as daunting as you may think. Sure it’ll take time, but it’ll be worth it when you begin to gain the benefits of controlling the narrative during a crisis, strengthening credibility, gaining third-party support, and bringing awareness to your agency’s professionalism.

Here are four simple ways your agency can build a positive relationship with the media.

Tip #1 – Identify News Outlets

Before you begin to build relationships with the media, identify news outlets that target your agency’s key audience.

For example, if you’re a law enforcement agency, you would want to target hard-news media organizations, community newsgroups, and law enforcement trade magazines, opposed to entertainment news outlets and lifestyle magazines. Why? Because that would be a waste of time as those news organizations don’t normally or frequently publish law enforcement, public safety, or crime-related news content.

Be intentional with the news organizations, journalists, and reporters that you connect with. If you’ve worked in your community for any amount of time, you’ll know who the outlets and journalists are that usually cover the news in your area.

Tip #2 – Introduce Yourself

When a person can put a name to a face, it enhances the human connection. This is why it’s essential to introduce yourself to news directors, editors, reporters, and journalists – because the more they know you, the more likely they will begin to pick up on your press releases and news tips.

Nowadays, you don’t even have to introduce yourself physically; you can start by reaching out and engaging with them via social media.

But, if you have an opportunity to introduce yourself in person, say you’re both at an event or whatnot, take the time to go up to them and introduce yourself in person; it’ll pay off in media coverage.


It’s sad we have to say this but stay guarded when forming relationships with people who report the news. Anyone today can start a Facebook group and call it a news outlet, and claim themself as a member of the media. They may not have any formal training or education and will push the boundaries of professionalism and courtesy. We’ve had personal experience with these types of people who will try to “buddy” up to you, only to try to write a “gotcha” post.

Tip #3 – Respect Their Deadlines and Keep Your Word

Always ask about the news organization’s daily, weekly or monthly deadline to respectfully remain aware of their time and ensure that you have all materials for them (photos, videos, statements, etc.) well before that date and time.

Continuously turning items in late, rescheduling interviews, and not responding promptly will undoubtedly frustrate the reporter or journalist and make them steer clear of you in terms of giving you an opportunity to tell your agency’s side of the story.

So be sure to identify their deadlines early on and create an excellent first, second and infinite impression to keep the relationship strong.

The last part of this tip is a reminder to always keep your word. If you tell a journalist you’ll call them back in 20 minutes, then call them back. Over time, they’ll know that you mean what you say, which will give you some working time to put something together for them if you’re dealing with a critical or evolving situation.

Tip #4 – Give Them A News Package

You will become a news organization’s best friend if you start giving them entire news packages. However, this can be somewhat a challenge if you are a “one-person operation,” or involved in an evolving situation or incident. However, for those times where you have some time, consider putting together a package of information for the media.


Upload your news release, photos, videos, and sound bites to a Dropbox folder, and share the link with the media. You can even post it in a blog post on your website or push it out on social media to make it easy for the media to get.

With newsrooms being so bare-bones these days, journalists and reporters are genuinely appreciative when you provide them with as much information as possible. Trust us; it’ll set you apart from the other hundred news releases they receive each week.

Giving them a news release, along with appropriate contacts, photos, a video, sound bites, graphics, and links, will be helpful to them as you give them a complete visual story so that they don’t need to start from ground zero.

Building relationships with the media will take time, just like any relationship. Still, when you begin to have the opportunity to get ahead of false narratives that are often spread across social media, critical incidents, and bad press, it’ll be worth it.

California Law Regulates Police Social Media Posts

California Law Regulates Police Social Media Posts

On July 23, 2021, California Governor Gavin Newsom approved Assembly Bill 1475 which regulates the posting of booking photos on social media platforms by law enforcement agencies.

On January 1, 2022, California Penal Code Section 13665 became law. Here’s what you need to know as a public affairs officer or social media manager posting for a law enforcement agency.

Non Violent Crimes

If a person has been arrested for a non-violent crime, you can not post their booking photo on social media, unless:

  • They are a fugitive and posting the photo will assist in locating or apprehending the suspect
  • There is a threat to public safety and posting the photo will reduce or eliminate that threat
  • A judge orders it in furtherance of a legitimate law enforcement purpose
  • Exigent circumstances necessitate the dissemination for an urgent and legitimate law enforcement purpose.

If an agency posts the booking photo of an individual arrested for a non-violent crime on social media, they have 14 days to remove it if requested by the subject of the post or their representative.

“We recommend law enforcement social media managers and specialists meet with their department’s administration and public information officers to ensure they understand the parameters of this new law as well as establish a process for archiving and posting booking photos in the future.”

Tamrin Olden

CEO, TOC Public Relations

Violent Crimes

If a person has been arrested for a crime specified in California Penal Code Section 667.5(c) and their booking photo was posted on social media by a law enforcement agency, that agency is required to remove the post within 14 days after receiving a request by the subject of the post or their representative if the following can be proven:

  • The individual’s record has been sealed.
  • The conviction has been dismissed, expunged, pardoned, or eradicated pursuant to law.
  • The individual was issued a certificate of rehabilitation.
  • The individual was found not guilty of the crime for which they were arrested.
  • The individual was not charged with the crime, or the charges were dismissed.

The bill also requires law enforcement agencies to remove past booking photos of subjects who were ultimately found not guilty of a non-violent crime from their social media accounts.

Infographic for California Penal Code Section 13665

Have Questions?

Feel free to reach out to the team at TOC Public Relations if you need further information about this article.


Assembly Bill 1475
Penal Code Section 13665
Penal Code Section 667.5(c)


Top Three Law Enforcement Recruitment Strategies

Top Three Law Enforcement Recruitment Strategies

Law enforcement officers protect peoples lives who may be in distress and property from crimes, fires, and everything else. Their daily duties can include interrogating and apprehending suspects, providing first aid to someone involved in a traffic accident, and speaking to a class of students about safety or life lessons, all within the safe shift. Therefore, it’s paramount that agencies recruit the ideal candidate who can pivot at a moment’s notice. Finding those candidates isn’t that hard if you create a strategy. Here are our top three tips for recruiting online in 2022.

Tip #1 – Effectively Embrace Your Agency’s Social Media Presence

Notice we used the word “effectively?” We’re trying to convey that you need to create content that promotes the department so that it attracts the type of person you want to hire. No offense to our “more seasoned” leaders out there, but having someone on a video, who doesn’t resonate with the targeted audience, isn’t effective nor practical. For example, suppose you’re trying to attract middle-aged mothers to join the department because their skillsets are valued. You may be doing this because your community consists of an overly abundant number of middle-aged mothers. Whom do you think you need to have on camera in this scenario?

When you have your ideal message carefully constructed and well thought out, make sure you use the most-effective platform for your target audience. We would love to steer you towards a particular platform for a specific age group, but it has been our experience that every community is different from where people gravitate to keep connected with their law enforcement and public safety agencies.

We know there will be some in the profession with the attitude that there are plenty of young candidates who want to be police officers, so there’s no need to cater so much to draw in applicants.

Sadly, these individuals are a detriment to their agency and the community, as they are hindering the hiring of good, solid candidates. According to an article from Yello, more than half of Generation Z candidates won’t even apply if they think the company’s recruiting methods are outdated.

Tip #2 – Connect With Applicants On A New Level

You need to use the correct marketing to target suitable candidates, as we mentioned before. You have to show what makes your organization different from the others and what benefits you offer when you do this. Different age groups will want and expect different things, so you must mention your agency’s appropriate and relevant benefits.

You can go beyond the seldom-seen PDF article posted on your website or a professionally produced video or radio commercial. You need to relate, entertain, and inform your potential candidates to get them to gravitate to your agency. In our social media classes, we show students how to connect with others by being “real and transparent.” We may show you how to have officers who are not intimidated by being on camera make amazing, yet simple and quick, videos to showcase your agency.

Using our previously mentioned police officer, a middle-aged mother, picture this; a live (or pre-recorded) Instagram video where this officer is sitting in their patrol car after having just finished a call involving a child who didn’t want to go to school (yes, people call the police all the time to fill in as the disciplinarian). In the video, she can speak about using her skills as not only a police officer but a mother to help another parent out. This can resonate with those candidates and might get the ideal one to think to herself, “I can still be a mom, help my community, and enjoy a great career.”

It would help if you also considered nowadays that today’s applicants want to know that they’ll be able to use their creativity and skill sets to further the agency’s mission. Gone are the days of shutting down new ideas from a young officer or telling them they need to get some experience under their belt before offering a different way of doing something. While there is a little truth to this, shame on those, who don’t embrace new ideas from newer officers. It’s always amazing to watch an agency bypass the talent they have among their ranks to seek answers elsewhere.

Think about that for a moment. Why would a new candidate, or even a newly hired officer, want to work for their agency when their growth was stunted due to an archaic culture?

Tip #3 – Be A Great Resource (Even If They Are Applying Somewhere Else)

Candidates are looking for a positive experience more than anything. The more assistance and help you give someone looking to get into the law enforcement profession, the more inclined they are to gravitate towards your agency.

There are countless stories in which businesses have referred potential clients to other competing companies because they wanted to be helpful to the person. In doing so, something clicked in the minds of these potential clients and often has led to them becoming a client of the business that referred them in the first place.

We need this thinking in law enforcement. So answer those questions from people who may not even be applying with you. Show you care about the profession so much that you want to make sure anyone wanting to join it has a great impression of you. This will show the professionalism your organization maintains.

Consider making a downloadable infographic (yes, we can teach you these skills, too) with some helpful tips for passing the physical agility exam or motivational quotes from your officers. Then, regardless of where they may be applying, candidates will download your infographic to help them out or keep them motivated. Of course, when they do this, your agency’s badge, name, and social media handles will constantly be in their sight and on their mind. This might be enough to steer people back to complete an application with your agency.

If you’re on a recruitment team, reach out to the people on your social media team, and find out where, how, what, and when you should be posting content to attract your ideal candidates. Then, just as you know your position well, have faith and trust in the expertise of those on the social media team. They’ll get you going in the right direction.



What Happened to IGTV?

What Happened to IGTV?

You might have noticed that IGTV can no longer be found on Instagram. In October 2021, Instagram released an update that merged IGTV with Instagram feed videos. Although this may not seem like that big of a change, it is! Instagram had explained its decision to pull out the IGTV button and said users were only finding IGTV content through the previews shared to the Feed and in Explore. This finding meant that IGTV was essentially leading to clutter and confusion rather than more engagement. 

Now that IGTV and Instagram feed videos have merged, you will see an additional icon next to the reels tab on your profile page. This icon is from the update and is now what we know as “Instagram Video.” Instagram Video has given us new features like trimming, filters, and people and location tagging as part of the updated upload experience. This will save creators a ton of time since they will no longer need to trim or add filters in an external app before posting to Instagram. 

You will still have access to a preview of your video available to be displayed on your feed. Regardless of how long your video is, you will be able to find it in the Instagram Video tab instead of the IGTV tab. From the video tab, viewers will be able to access all of your video content, whether you have a preview on your feed or not. Instagram reels will still have a separate tab remain on its own. All your IGTV videos posted before this update will be safe and available in the new Instagram Videos tab from now on. Instagram’s goal with these changes will be a more streamlined video experience. The Reels will continue to be separate from Instagram Video, so no need to worry about that changing as well.

Take advantage of videos and reels on Instagram. With all of these new updates and features, you can only imagine that Instagram will continue to grow as a video platform and be a large competitor against TikTok and Youtube’s YouTube Shorts. As Instagram keeps evolving and bringing new updates, your strategy should evolve and adapt as well. 

How to Garner a Targeted Audience on Social Media

The key to operating a successful social media account is to be intentional with everything.

We all want to grow our social audience, with not just a general audience but a targeted audience.

Because, what’s the point in operating a coffee roaster’s social media account and garnering followers who don’t even like coffee?

We, as professionals, can use so many social media tactics to maximize our engagement and build our list of followers who support our mission and business.

Here are the top four tips we’ve compiled to build an audience that will strengthen your engagement and lead to a sale or new client.  

Utilize tailored hashtags

Hashtags are so important on all social media platforms these days…yes, even on Facebook. 

If you want to grow a niche audience, one of the easiest ways to do so is to use a handful of targeted hashtags in your captions. 

Using the coffee roasters example again, search the most popular coffee-related hashtags in your search bar and use the top five, but only if the hashtags make sense to the content you are posting. Remember, be intentional. 

When you use those top hashtags, your content will be included in a feed featuring only coffee content where coffee enthusiasts will be skimming through. 

Follow similar accounts

Often, people are nervous about following similar social media accounts, but this is where you can grow your network and garner new ideas. 

Maybe the account isn’t exactly a competitor, but successful niche social media accounts are usually followed by people interested in that product, mission, or organization type. 

We tend to underestimate how often people follow the followers of their favorite social media accounts, so be intentional about who you follow and aim to only follow accounts similar to your brand.

Engage with other accounts

Spreading a little love in the form of a like and comment on accounts that you follow will be appreciated. The followers on the accounts you engage with will take notice of your interactions and likely click on your account to see what it’s all about.

Engaging in a meaningful way with other accounts is a great way to build genuine connections, leading to garnering more followers who support your brand. 

Optimize social media handle and bio

Utilizing a social media handle that is transparent in correlation to your business and services is so important on social media. Being as descriptive and succinct as possible with your handle could help you build that targeted audience you desire. 

If a person comes across your handle and it’s descriptive of your niche, the social media user will likely snoop around on your page and possibly give you a follow. 

When it comes to the bio on the social media accounts you manage, it’s imperative to be as descriptive as possible in a concise way, never leaving new visitors to your accounts confused about the services your brand offers. 

Our team at TOC PR is confident that by implementing some of these tactics into your social media strategy, you will begin to build a targeted audience for your brand in no time.