Ringing in New Year of Media Relations

Media relations hasn't disappeared, but it is evolving along with media itself, requiring successful story pitchers to be nimble, adaptive and creative.Media relations hasn't gone away, but it has changed as media has multiplied and evolved. There are more outlets to monitor and pitch, including your own self-publication platform.

Even the press release has managed to survive in a faster-paced, highly segmented media world, but it also has assumed new shapes and purposes.

The overlapping crazes of social media and content marketing have lost some momentum here and there, but they also are adapting and adjusting.

So the key is not to arrange eulogies for positions and tactics. Instead, be alert for change and learn how to capitalize on new circumstances. Most important, concentrate of delivering quality, useful information with sharp story hooks, which remains the hallmark of attracting media attention

A recent blog went on for paragraphs about the decline of traditional media, presumably meaning print media. Yes, the amount of newsprint consumed seems to be on the wane, but not the appetite of readers to gather news.

It is widely reported that young people don't read newspapers or watch TV news, therefore they are disinterested in the news. Yet Instagram has exploded on the social media scene as the platform of choice for young people whose idea of news is documenting and sharing what they do with their friends. Ask yourself how wide a circle of people read The New York Times everyday?

One of the most fundamental changes in the broad category known as media relations is its shift toward targeted marketing. To be effective, you need to zero in on the publications, bloggers and reporters who follow a specific issue. If you are smart, you will have already established a basic relationship, if not rapport, with them before making a story pitch. The successful pitch will be aimed at piquing the media's interest, not satisfying corporate bosses that want to send a "message." 

The target outlet for your story may vary widely and may not involve traditional media or its digital offspring. The outlet could be a blog or a book. It could be your own organization's website or online newsroom that is home to your brand journalism.

Lots of pundits peddle ideas of how to succeed in this variegated media environment. Ideas are good, but formulas are destined to fail. There are simply too many choices that defy easy identification, not to mention replication. A good bet is to try multiple strategies and several tactics. Some strategies and tactics may not work for every story you develop.

If you yearn for media relations advice as we roll toward a new year, ours simply is to be nimble, adaptive and creative. And it won't hurt to think like a journalist because you still will be dealing with them, even if their world has been turned upside down and inside out. The connection that counts is a great story, well-pitched to the right reporter.