A New Age of Media Relationships

Journalists have seen every angle of love, hate, respect, and slander over the years, but from a public relations perspective we need every single one of them. Print media has been on the decline over the last 20 years due to a variety of issues; cost, impact to the environment, and more recently, Covid-19 pushing more towards digital media.
Alex Thompson
Client Services Manager

Journalists have seen every angle of love, hate, respect, and slander over the years, but from a public relations perspective we need every single one of them. Print media has been on the decline over the last 20 years due to a variety of issues; cost, impact to the environment, and more recently, Covid-19 pushing more towards digital media.

The decline of print media.

We know why print media has been reduced over the years, however it’s not going away anytime soon. Not only are there certain people with the view of “unless it’s in print it’s not true” but there is certainly a level of grandeur and finesse surrounding the Sunday Newspapers that should continue to be celebrated.

As with many things in the world, we should accept and embrace innovation where we can, whilst still enjoying a sense of heritage and history. The question is how can we adapt to suit this modern age of media relations?

Let’s start from the beginning.

Media relations involves cultivating and sustaining connections with journalists, reporters, and influencers. This process includes pitching stories, obtaining and supplying information, and addressing a multitude of media inquiries. The objective is to gain valuable media coverage from each story that enhances brand awareness and the reputation for your client or business.

Building a solid bank of journalists and influencers to ensure your stories are going to the most involved and… cliché incoming: ‘finger on the pulse’ kind of people is vital as a PR professional. Networking events and brand shows are all important when building relationships with the media, but don’t forget the all-seeing eye that is social media.

Making strong connections with people, personally and as an organization, is vital within the industry. Media lists are built over time and are ever evolving but a trusted database will get you a long way. Now you have the contacts, it then comes down to distribution, you wouldn’t want a perfectly written press release going into a spam folder after all.

Attach or not to attach.

It is our job to provide journalists with visual content to go alongside the story we are presenting them, and digital media has simplified the process of sharing this content, whether it be imagery, infographics or in the form of video.  

A challenge we face with modern media relations does often come in the form of cyber security. We find ourselves at virtual war with spam filters and internal firewalls with important press releases ending up in spam folders rather than reaching the newest addition of your carefully curated media list. Attachments are out, links are in.

What can we use to be more efficient as a business?

Using distribution software can be a massive help, not only allowing you to send high quality images but understanding and analysing open rates. As we well know, a press release with no imagery at all is unlikely to gain any attention from the media, a journalist with a great selection of stock images might save you every now and then but it’s not best practice.

We all know the big providers, so no need to mention names, but making use of file sharing tools and cloud-based storage services is very easy, efficient, and most importantly safe. Put these two together and you have a polished story and the accompanying imagery landing on the top step of the desired journalists’ inbox on Monday morning.

Out with the old and in with the new… Not quite yet.

Like any form of evolution, it is very much a process where we find ourselves picking and choosing the good bits. This seems to be inherent within media relations as we share news with different people in disconnected sectors, there will always be a route that works on the day.

Although traditional media outlets carry the gravitas of age, digital spaces have made these relationships with journalists easier to create but also much easier to maintain.

So, as a business you can adapt: you can find new ways of connecting with people through social media, you look into distribution of news and methods of sending multimedia and finally, you trust your own experience and knowledge.

Alex Thompson
Client Services Manager
PR and Communications following a decade of experience in the Motorsport Industry. Loves Italian cars, Italian food, Italy.