The declaration that “print is dead” can be misleading. Although it is true that the number of print newspapers dropped at doorsteps continues to dwindle, people are still consuming news and journalism is still very much alive. In 2017, the Pew Research Center found an increase of Americans following national news, “very closely” from 33 percent in 2016 to 40 percent. Though traditional forms of media may struggle to stay afloat, the media landscape is growing and evolving every year. This reality requires PR pros to adapt and stay nimble in navigating the emergence of new media.
For any organization, executing the functions of media relations will continue to be one of the key disciplines to incorporate into an effective public relations strategy. The Pew Research Center reports that roughly nine out of 10 adults gather their news from the digital space (both on mobile and desktop). With the endless depth of content available on the Internet, it’s crucial to find the platforms that will enable you to cut through the noise and get your story heard.
Although the practice may look a little different today in the digital age, here are three reasons why media relations should never be considered as an afterthought:
Ability to tell your story
How you expertly craft your organization’s or client’s story is one of the many joys, albeit challenges, of public relations. Effectively communicating a message takes plenty of care, effort and understanding on both sides. A sharp and intuitive perspective on your organization’s or client’s mission will inform just who you should be talking to and why — helping to make your message become valuable to your audience.
A strong media relations program targeted at the appropriate journalists or outlets can help an organization tell its own story. You still need to tell a good story that will actually interest journalists, but if you tell it correctly with your audience in mind it can help drive business and communications goals.
Coverage still matters
…And good relationships will help you land it. Reporters and editors are bombarded with media inquiries every day, so it’s important to understand who you’re pitching to and why they should care. Have you researched if the publication’s reach, both online and in print, will get you more exposure? Do you have an exclusive story you think would be perfect for their readership? Cultivating meaningful, mutually beneficial relationships with the media will create trust between you and the reporter and could lead to more coveted placements down the road.
Exposure to new, larger audiences
With the depth of the Internet, new media continues to surface. From social media to blogs and influencers, media relations must reach beyond the traditional newspaper or magazine. Although it can seem overwhelming to navigate through all the cluttered content being published every day, it opens the door to create more opportunities in getting your message published. Understanding your audience and the type of content they want to receive is the first step in identifying the outlets you should be approaching. Due to the hyper-connected nature of the Internet, there is now the ability to attract new audiences along the way more quickly than ever before.
For as long as you want your organization’s or client’s story to be told, media relations will always have a place in an effective communications strategy. Owning your narrative, understanding the new media landscape and cultivating those crucial relationships with reporters and beyond will ensure your story and brand, have far-reaching impact.