By: Marie Bernadeau, PR Account Executive
Change can be scary, but the world is filled with endless opportunities if you are willing to embrace new approaches to long-standing tenets in your industry.
The truth is, although some public relations fundamentals will always remain, many things have changed when it comes to how PR professionals interact with the media. In-house teams and PR agencies can no longer rely on old-fashioned practices such as deskside briefings and leisurely coffee dates. Before beginning media outreach, PR professionals must think carefully and strategically about how to navigate the media relations landscape to ensure they establish mutually beneficial relationships with relevant media professionals.
The job of a journalist has changed dramatically over the last decade, and as a PR professional, the way you deliver services to them should change as well. According to social newsroom network Babbler, journalists delete 75% of pitches from unknown PR professionals and press releases from wire services. Keeping in mind there are an estimated five PR professionals for every US journalist, we can conclude that a pitch—no matter how creative and targeted—is usually just an interruption to a reporter’s workflow.
PR today demands real-time, personalized communication between PR professionals and journalists. Use these tips to ensure you stay ahead of the ever-changing landscape of media relations.
The power of social media. Email is still a viable channel to some extent, but many journalists respond to direct messages through Twitter faster than any other platform. Social media platforms also give PR professionals valuable insights into what journalists find most interesting. Simply follow a journalist’s Twitter to feed to see if your content aligns with their current editorial needs.
Date your journalist…the right way. From keeping important information off the record to adhering to the rules of engagement for exclusive embargos, when it comes to dating a journalist, finding your perfect match takes work on your part. Just like personal relationships, it’s pointless to organize a date unless the individuals share common interests. Do your homework before engaging with a journalist to ensure your pitch is relevant. And remember that it’s never a bad idea to pick up the phone and ask your journalist out on a (business) date.
Embrace technology. The majority of media houses have been forced to embrace the most popular digital and multimedia platforms. At a time when PR professionals are overwhelmed with deadlines, they can save precious time by using tools like Meltwater and Cision to access media contact databases. Instead of relying on Google searches, these platforms display current media lists and can provide information on influential journalists that cover your client’s industry.
In PR, we answer to two types of decision makers: clients and journalists. Although the world of media relations is rapidly changing, strategy and planning can ensure the desired outcome of lasting relationships and generating more coverage. You can’t prepare for everything, but employ these strategies to update the way you connect with the media.