PR Blog

Why Media Relations Is More Important Than Ever

January 13, 2014, by Ruby Blue

2014 is tipped to be another big year within the PR industry as we watch it shift and change the boundaries of communications on a daily basis. Whether you hire a company to look after the PR for your business or whether you do it yourself, here are five of our thoughts on why media relations is more current now than ever before.

 1.     Crisis communications issues are magnified

In the past, a company that made a mistake (big or small) often just waited for it to blow over. Now, mostly due to the ‘now’ nature of the internet, crisis issues can destroy companies if they aren’t handled correctly. It can begin as a blog post that is tweeted and seen by a regional reporter who writes an article that gets picked up by a wire service and the next thing you know, your company’s mistake is broadcast across the front cover of The Sydney Morning Herald.

So, what role can media relations experts play? They can navigate these waters by speaking with the blogger and getting the post revised, or jump on the phone with the regional reporter and explain where the blog post erred in its reporting and why it’s NOT a story. Someone without a communications background may be ill-equipped professionally to tackle these issues and can often turn it into a bigger mess.

 2.     Everyone is a reporter… 

… and really, we mean everyone. Because we all have blogs, Facebook pages, Twitter handles, LinkedIn profiles and more. Companies of all sizes need to be considerate of treading lightly around sensitive issues, yet being aggressive in their promotion of positive ones. Understanding the correct bloggers to reach out to, introductions to make at conferences or trade shows, and who to respectfully stay away from, are not skills learned overnight. The importance and art of crafting smart messaging and delivering that message to the correct people really can’t be overlooked.

Companies that adhere to the idea that “any publicity is good publicity” are often found to outsiders to have inconsistent messaging and confusing company structure – often times resulting in missed stories that should have been big; or small, negative stories that should have been killed. Being able to discern between an opportunity and a pitfall are two consequences any media relations expert can identify. 

 3.     …but influential print/radio/TV reporters are dwindling

Influential, traditional reporters are becoming a bit of a rare find within the industry – even magazines have recently been combining staff teams to work over multiple publications. While many people do still read the Australian, the Daily Telegraph and the Sydney Morning Herald cover to cove, it’s becoming less and less the mainstream. This means that the pool of influential reporters is also dwindling, and every industry has at least four or five reporters who all the experts, bloggers, specialists, etc. take their cues from. Knowing who these influencers are and having the relationship to make introductions and generate coverage that moves the needle is the chief reason many companies hire a public relations firm.

 4.     SEO is the new King of Cool

This should come as a shock to no one. An entire industry has been built around search engine optimization and online reputation management, and the connection between it and public relations can’t be ignored. Having online media results rank very highly, and when these reflect company messaging or are a ringing endorsement of you or your company, those results will not go unnoticed – especially when they are drafted by 3rd party members of the media.

Having the online reputation to support your business is what makes the difference between an incoming lead or a phone that doesn’t ring. Just as important, is having the volume of online content to battle negative reviews, false stories, and other content deemed detrimental to your brand. These objectives can all be met by having a media relations expert in place to build out positive online search results filled media coverage. 

 5.     Content marketing both requires and creates a need for PR

Even in 2014, people still use brochures and one-pagers for marketing. But they also use, now more than ever, webinars, white-papers, video, and e-mail marketing – all tools most marketers keep in their work belt.

You see, public relations outreach is often what drives people to download, sign up, request more information, etc. for content marketing tools. Most importantly, once that e-mail address is captured, something needs to be delivered to keep your leads and customers interested. Again, this is where media articles, videos and sound bytes can best be utilized. Rather than sending out a blast telling your prospective leads how great your company is, you can send out that same blast with an online or print article doing the telling for you. Public relations experts know that media results speak for themselves – use these to get results from your marketing practices.

At Ruby Blue PR we offer media relations services to our clients at a regional, state-wide and national level. Contact us today for more information and a personalised proposal for your business.

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