Why Media Relationships are More Important than Ever

Kate Lobel
By Kate Lobel

Today the media finds itself in a unique situation. Rather than simply reporting the news, it has become the news. Journalists themselves acknowledge that they have fallen from their pedestals of truth-telling – at least in the public mind. Trust in the media has eroded to the point where over 90% of people believe that the media is less trustworthy than it was just three years ago. And this change in the standing of the public media is affecting many things – including public relations strategy.

The fact of fake news is, unfortunately, not a new phenomenon. Deliberately inventing news stories to entertain or fool the masses has been around forever. But the advent of social media is relatively new – and its influence is at an all-time high, making it easier than ever to start a rumor or make up a story that is soon accepted as fact.

In fact, two out of every three adults in the US report that made-up news causes a great deal of confusion about the actual facts regarding current events and issues.

And more than half of all Americans say they get their news today from social media rather than more traditional media outlets such as newspapers and television.

Another element in today’s media is the fact that politics so heavily dominates media coverage. Long after the presidential election has ended, the news is still focused on politics, to the point where we hear more about President Trump and his administration than we do about our own local news. The lines between fact and opinion have also become blurred, with the pressure to break new stories leading to conjecture published as fact – both in traditional media and throughout social media.

Digital + Traditional PR

Marketers have long used the media, leveraging it to share stories, boost credibility, strengthen brand reputations and get the messages of our clients heard. Unfortunately, in today’s new media landscape, marketers find themselves struggling to be heard over all the false news, political divisiveness, and general media noise. Even when we do get a chance to leverage traditional media, we find our return on investment has decreased substantially. But that doesn’t mean that media relationships no longer matter. In fact, they should still be a crucial part of any public relations campaign.

Today, the lines between digital marketing and public relations are also blurring, making it more important than ever to take advantage of any and all media relationships available to you and your company. Most print publications today also have an online version, so where do you draw the line?

The best approach is to cover all your bases and make the most of every possible media outlet available to you.

Here are a few things we can still do to make sure we continue to maintain, build, and leverage positive media relationships in this ever-changing media world.

Advertorials are the New Placement

Advertorials have continued to grow in popularity as social media placements have also taken over to increase brand awareness. An advertorial is essentially a pay to play placement that identifies itself as sponsored, so that it’s clearly apparent to the readers and/or watchers. Think of “paid for by” or “sponsored by” in a commercial. With today’s challenging media landscape, we often find ourselves putting an emphasis on advertorial placements that are overtly sponsored due to the nature of the media in 2018. The drawback, however, is that advertorial placements can be extremely expensive, and so an earned media placement is always a better option – although, unfortunately, not always feasible.

Mass Pitching Won’t Get You Results

In the past, it was easier to write one pitch and send it out to maybe 50-100+ editors. Nowadays, if that’s how you’re pitching, it simply won’t work. It’s just like sending out the same resume to multiple employers; unless they see how you and your brand or company specifically can help them, they are simply going to pass you over. The key is to grab their attention out of the mass of applications they receive with a targeted resume for that particular job – or a targeted pitch for that particular publication.

At Power Digital Marketing, we recommend selecting your top 10 perfect editors for a specific pitch angle, and then making that pitch heavily customized for each one. Create a catchy subject line to grab their attention and a short pitch that offers just enough detail to lure them in. Include an offer or enticement, such as a sample product, exclusive interview, etc. Most of all, be sure to adapt your pitch to each specific editor. The best way to do that is do your due diligence and research them and their publication first. Then you can simply customize your overall pitch to each one individually. This makes it far more likely that they will actually read your pitch – and respond, hopefully with a positive result for everyone.

Carving A New Path

When reaching out to editors of top tier publications, Power Digital Marketing has also recently learned a new path to consider is trade publications. In reevaluating our approach to media relations, we have realized just how important these media outlets can be. A trade publication is a niche-specific outlet that focuses on one thing in particular. Typically, they are also b2b (business to business) focused, rather than b2c (business to consumer).

The great thing about trade publications is that there is far less competition.

Everyone wants a top tier placement in a major national newspaper or magazine, but not everyone can get it. On the other hand, since trade publications are so specific, not everyone is fighting over those placements. Targeting these niche outlets and deprioritizing mainstream media just makes sense. Media is more about impact than a numbers game. Focus on the market segment that has true potential for growing your business and the actual decision makers and target the publications where they get their news.

Being Hyper-Local

Another way to change course in the modern media world is to focus on local area news outlets. Not only will you face less competition for placement in local newspapers and news websites, but often national news media will pick up a story from a local source. It’s simply a win-win, particularly if you have a product or service that is specific to your region.

As the state of media and the press continues to change and evolve, so, too must your public relations strategies. There are still plenty of ways to use media to share your brand’s message and increase brand awareness. You just need to find ways to adjust your PR strategy to the changing times.

At Power Digital Marketing, we have worked long and hard to build successful public relations with both digital and traditional media outlets, carefully nurturing our connections so that we can get those all-important placements for our clients. To find out how we can help you make the most of the media for your company, contact us  today.

*Original source lives on Medium.com 

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Kate is the director of Public Relations at Power Digital Marketing with an extenisve background in traditional media relations and digital marketing with the goal of bridging the gap between brand awareness and ROI.