There is a saying that the more things change, the more they stay the same.
Take media relations – despite the major changes in the media landscape, it’s still a core part of PR and there are reporters, editors and producers we have to reach out to. So although there have been major changes in the media landscape, the fundamentals of media relations are still the same: find the right reporter, pitch them a good story that meets their needs.
But there have been changes. And just doing your media outreach same old, same old won’t cut it anymore.
“The Great Recession sent the U.S. newspaper industry into a tailspin and the pressures facing America’s newsrooms have intensified to nothing less than a reorganization of the industry itself, one that impacts the experiences of even those news consumers unaware of the tectonic shifts taking place.” Pew Stateo f the Media 2016.
The newspaper newsroom workforce is 20,000 positions smaller than 20 years ago – almost cut in half. And the cuts keep coming: In 2016 at least 400 cuts, buyouts or layoffs were announced and the trend continues in 2017 with layoffs at the New York Times, The Sacramento Bee and others. Radio and TV stations are also hard hit.
That means there are fewer reporters to pitch your stories to. And according to the Department of Labor there are 240,700 PR Specialists employed in the US. That’s a lot of people who want the attention of a dwindling group of reporters and producers.
The good news is that they are under pressure and they need content. So in order to beat the pack and get their attention, you have to know what they need and deliver it to them in the format they value.
MEDIA RELATIONS TIPS FOR 2017
- Have a story that is genuinely newsworthy. Explain to your seniors or clients what the media needs in the way of content. Learn to “news jack” and tie into a news story in an appropriate and relevant way.
- Provide excellent original visuals with the story. Many news outlets no longer have photographers or videographers on staff. Use the visuals to extend and enhance the readers’ experience. Get the Visual Content Guidebook.
- Upgrade your “press release graveyard” to an online newsroom with all the features reporters and producers want – facts, articles, blog posts, RSS feeds for categories of content, experts, images, videos etc.
- Use the newsroom as a content hub. Post the full release, along with fact sheets, expert commentary and quotes, and original visuals in the newsroom.
- Craft a short pitch that will get the attention of the reporter/producer and link to the full data in your newsroom.
A state-of-the-art online newsroom filled with excellent newsworthy content is the secret sauce that will give your media relations a boost in 2017 and beyond..
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