This trend will undoubtedly shape the PR industry, especially how PR pros target the media the public consumes.
You don’t have to look far to see cultural changes taking place. All you have to do is turn on the radio and hear Spanish words peppered into Top 40 tunes. The US consumer is changing and PR pros must adapt.
In order to have an effective outreach strategy, there are three things communicators must understand when approaching US Hispanic media:
1. Translating a pitch is not enough.
Your pitch will fall flat if it doesn’t address cultural nuances.
Understanding psychographics is always important when working with any audience group but this becomes even more essential when working within the multicultural space.
Translating is only a small detail of an effective crossover strategy. Being able to understand why certain details strike a chord among readers is essential. A good example is Mother’s Day. You definitely want to craft messaging for the second Sunday in May, but what about the 10th or the other days mothers are celebrated across Latin America? A US resident can still celebrate his or her mother on the day recognized in her home country.
Some nuances are tied to a date, but there are others that are tied to language, geography, history, food and more. It’s always important to do in-depth cross-cultural research before reaching out.
2. Hispanic media in the U.S. is not the same as Latin American media.
Cut and paste won’t cut it when working with media in any context. The U.S. Hispanic market has its own identity. Hispanic media in the U.S. is strongly shaped by its cultural identity drawn from the many Hispanophone cultures seen across the world which creates for a unique blend of characteristics unseen elsewhere.
Talent that is relevant in Mexico is not always relevant in the US Hispanic market, and vice versa. The concerns of the U.S. Hispanic audience are also not always the same as someone from Colombia or Guatemala. General market issues also spill over to the Hispanic side and what is of interest to an English-speaking audience might also appeal to the Hispanic public.
3. Communication patterns may differ.
When communicating with U.S. Hispanic media, you’ll quickly realize that communication patterns can differ from those of general market outlets.
Though it might seem unorthodox, pitching through social media and text messaging is not uncommon for Hispanic outlets. Due to the intrinsic nature of Latin cultures, this might sometimes be the most effective way of communicating.
Your PR team might solely believe in email, but there are producers out there that will not check their inbox. You must get creative and talk to them on their platforms. Some editors will respond much better to a call than another email pitch.
Keep your pitching strategy as conversational and natural as possible. Though you probably learned this in your very first media relations class, it is a fundamental element when working with U.S. Hispanic media outlets. It’s a small world—especially in Hispanic media—and you are likely to work with the same people again farther down the road.
Jon Salas is a NYC-based publicist and multicultural strategist. Find him on Twitter @holajonsalas. (www.holajonsalas.com)
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