traditional media

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

Media Relations Is Not Dead

A secret to successful media relations is a comprehensive media audit to discover where your stories appear, what key messages are conveyed and whether coverage hurts or helps your reputation.Media coverage can make organizations smile, sigh or grimace. But too few organizations take stock of the cumulative impact of their media coverage to see how it affects their reputation or reflects their intended key messages.

The digital age has turned media coverage on its head. You now need to track a lot more than the local newspaper and television stations. There are media tracking services and software to aid in compiling clips from a wide array of sources. Some services even provide a basic level of analysis of the coverage.

However you collect your media mentions, it pays to take the time to conduct a thorough media audit on your own. Here are some important things to look for:

1. Where did stories about you appear?  Separate your clips into relevant categories — local newspaper, local radio and TV, national media and blogs. This will give you a clear sense of where your stories resonate best.

Major Media Trends

TV news viewership has increased, according to the Pew State of the News Media 2012 report.The Pew Research Center’s State of the News Media 2012 report was released March 19. Here are brief (and shortened) excerpts taken verbatim from the report’s Major Trends segment:

Each year, this report identifies key trends in the news industry. In addition to the shift to mobile and the intensifying gap with the biggest technology companies, here are other trends that stand out:

Mobile may be leading to a deeper experience with news than on the desktop/laptop computer. 

As sales of e-readers and tablet computers grow, PEJ’s early research has found consumers are reading more immersively on these devices than on earlier technology. New survey data released here add to that. More than a quarter of the population, 27 percent, now get news on mobile devices. And these mobile news consumers are even more likely to turn to news organizations directly, through apps and home pages, rather than search or recommendations — strengthening the bond with traditional brands. 

Social media are important but not overwhelming drivers of news, at least not yet.

Dancing With Big Technology

The rapid growth of smartphone ownership is helping traditional news media grow again, according the State of the News Media 2012 report released last week.The downward spiral for traditional news organizations is showing signs of reversing, thanks to the surge in sales for smartphones and other digital devices. Increasing use of mobile devices is adding to the public’s news consumption appetite, says the Pew Research Center in its State of the News Media 2012 report.

Released March 19, this year’s annual media review is far less doom and gloom. Now that Americans are fully engaged in the digital age – more than 75 percent now own computers – some surprising growth trends are surfacing, according to the report 

“New research released in this report finds that mobile devices are adding to people’s news consumption, strengthening the lure of traditional news brands and providing a boost to long-form journalism.”

Audience numbers are being driven up because of easier access to news offered by smartphones. “Eight in 10 who get news on smartphones or tablets, for instance, get news on conventional computers as well.” 

Who Will Write the News?

As traditional news media founder, many wonder who will write the news that people can depend on as truly fair and balanced. That responsibility may fall to public relations professionals, who should bone up on their responsibilities to the greater community of good.

Social media strategist Sally Falkow speculates that the dwindling band of traditional media hands will need increasing help from PR professionals to cover all the news. Writing for The Proactive Report, Falkow says 40 percent of working journalists believe their dependence on PR content will increase as a consequence of shrinking news staffs.

That is a far cry from the days when reporters and editors dismissed most press releases as fluff and wadded them into the wastebasket. I know because that's what I did as a reporter and editor.

An emerging symbiosis between traditional media and PR professionals raises fascinating questions. Can media guardians, however meager their ranks, trust what PR professionals produce? Can PR professionals represent their clients' interests at the same time as fulfilling their responsibility for telling the truth to the greater community?

Falkow adds another issue — can PR professionals keep up with media trends? Traditional media, along with bloggers and manifesto masters, draw people to their online content via sly tweets about breaking news events. Keeping your Twitter feed up and running on your computer or mobile device is a great way to stay connected and remain current on news events. However, far too many PR social media campaigns use Twitter to push their product at viewers, often with mixed success.