Navigating the Changing Media Landscape in Public Relations

The media landscape is vastly different from what it once was.  As our society became global, online, and fast-paced, publications moved away from print editions to adapt to the demand for a 24/7 news cycle. With the surge of social media, blogs, and forums, consumers have alternative ways to consume news outside of traditional outlets.  Publications adapted by consolidating their newsrooms and dramatically reducing their timelines and lead times for stories.  

Previously, the media would use monthly editorial calendars to plan their content well in advance making it easy for marketing and communications teams to plan their media pitches. However, that model is no longer suitable for today’s news cycle. How can marketing and communications teams adjust to the ever-changing media landscape? Follow these three best practices. 

Build Relationships with Reporters 

Reporters are working under even tighter deadlines now and need information quickly. When reporters know you well enough to trust your expertise, they will come to you for interviews, quotes, and information on a time schedule that works for them, saving you the guesswork of anticipating their increasingly small time window. It is important to have a PR team that has experience working with the media, as that experience will lead to familiarity and trust from reporters.  

With newsrooms significantly downsized, reporters are often working on multiple stories and don’t have time to read email pitches from people they are not familiar with. They are more likely to engage with familiar contacts for accurate content. The media is also dealing with a trust gap, in the era of fake news, making it even more important for them to have marketing contacts they can count on to  on to help them maintain credibility with their audience, making them even more likely to respond at a higher rate to contacts they already have that relationship with. 

Use Data To Tell Your Story 

Journalist want to win back the trust of their readers, and they want do it with data. A recent “State of the Media” survey of over 3,000 journalists found that the majority of writers not only rely on data, but rely on public relations professionals to provide it. 68% want to receive data in the form of original research, while 37% won’t even consider covering a product unless the pitch includes data.  

The best way to tell a story with data is to sponsor a survey. Ensure the survey asks questions that are relevant to your marketing goals, so that the results can be used in media pitches that tell the story you want to tell. Additionally, make sure the message you are conveying with survey data is one that would surprise you if you were the reader. Reporters want to write articles that will grab the reader’s attention, and survey data with shock value is the best method for them to increase visibility of their articles.  

Build A Social Media Presence  

Social media, at its outset, was never intended to completely transform the way information is conveyed and received, but that is what we are seeing right now, and the media has taken notice. If a reporter writes a story about a newsworthy event, takes two days to write it, one day to edit it, and runs it the next day, that means the story has been circulating on social media for four days, with new angles, developments, and insights the reporter did not catch. Reporters know that the best way to capture those insights is to be in touch with a marketing team which is following these social conversations, and that is where you come in.  

The survey mentioned above found that 96% of journalists use social media for work-related reasons, and the two platforms they plan to use more in the next year are LinkedIn and Instagram. Make sure you have a team that uses both of those platforms to tell your story. Every reporter and editor knows that all the relevant conversations in 2023 are happening on social media, at least in part if not entirely. The media cannot afford to ignore the social media world, nor can you.  

If you would like help with public relations, marketing, and advertising, feel free to contact us. We offer a variety of services like digital marketing & analytics, marketing & brand strategy, and more to small and large companies. 

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