Go with the Flow: Adapting PR Strategies to the Changing Media Environment

November 16, 2015 11:17 am Published by

Seasoned communications professionals know that the media landscape is changing as publications continue to close or merge in an effort to save money. The current situation provides an even greater opportunity for organizations to become publishers of their own content. But it also doesn’t mean that traditional media coverage is dead.

How does the loss of news outlets and staff effect communications professionals and our efforts to still land traditional media opportunities for clients? Well, let’s take a look at some of the ways that we as communications professionals need to adapt for the new, streamlined newsroom:

We must be even more responsive and prepared: With fewer reporters expected to produce the same number of stories, we can expect tighter schedules and quicker turnaround times for each piece. As a communications professional you must have everything ready in advance to ensure that the information and resources provided are available as soon as the reporter becomes interested in the story.

We must be ready to educate reporters: In the past we’ve been used to beat writers who cover a particular topic and know the specific industry very well. Today beat reporters are hard to come by.  They’ve become general reporters who cover a variety of topics and general news. This means it’s critical for communications professionals to educate reporters by providing simple, easily digestible background that will help set up their story.

We must continue to localize our pitches: As communications professionals we are used to following national and state-wide news. With a limited number of local reporters it’s more important now than ever before to provide our clients as topic experts who can localize a national story (this is key as more national news is being spread via online and social media.)  Local outlets are still interested in what it means for the region.

We must give reporters time: With fewer reporters it may be harder to get in touch with him or her via email or phone. This means that it may be necessary to get creative in communication, such as reaching out via Twitter or text, but also means we need to have patience. Allow more than just a day for follow-up.

We can no longer rely on events: Press events used to attract a lot of media; however, with the intensified responsibilities put on reporters, they now have a lot less time to get away from their desk to attend events. Instead, many appreciate pre- or post-event press materials and potentially access that day or the next to speak with a “spokesperson” to share some of the insights provided at the event. Here we can be as helpful as possible by providing diversified content, such as a video or a link to a live stream of the event.

All industries evolve over time in ways that they surmise can maximize productivity while optimizing the bottom-line.  This concept as it pertains to us as communications professionals is no different.  As news outlets continue to shift how they do business, we will continue to adapt to those changes by utilizing the fundamentals of what we already know, applying them in subtly different ways and also generating content via self-publishing options and social media.

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This post was written by Veronica Mikitka Reed

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