5 media relations takeaways, 5 months into 2024

How you can make the most of the year we have left.

Media relations for the rest of 2024.

Madeleine Shin is executive vice president, US Health Media Lead at Weber Shandwick

We’re almost half-way through 2024, and as media relations professionals, we face a daunting second half with the Olympics and election slated to command news cycles. These headwinds mean we need to obtain an even clearer understanding of journalists’ needs (and limitations) during this time.

Our team has gathered as much information we can to ensure successful storytelling for our clients in the face of competing news moments ahead. With over 25 coffees, meet and greets and panels hosted with journalists this year, I’m sharing my five takeaways to help drive your media strategies over the next six months, and beyond:

  1. SEO and trendcasting are becoming a major influence on reporters’ assignments.

In recent months, we’ve seen a hiring surge of SEO editors and reporters who are laser focused on the longevity and searchability of articles. Health journalists note that as much as 75% of their assignments are tied to SEO requirements. Additionally, nearly one-third of US adults under 30 now regularly get their news from social platforms like TikTok. The more we can verify that a story will perform well — matching stories with online dialogues, searches and behaviors — the more our stories stand a chance in a competitive environment.

2. Journalists expect MORE from our spokespeople.

With health journalists being already pulled into election and Olympic coverage, we can expect them to become even more selective with interviews and meet and greets. Maximizing time when we do land an interview will be critical. Media expect your C-suite to have risen there for a reason. Train executives to raise topics and trends beyond the company’s news to illustrate a broader understanding of their industry – and illustrate their value as a long-term resource.



3. DEI reporters expect results and year-round attention

This year, attention to social issues like diversity, equity and inclusion will become even more prominent. But that doesn’t mean companies should issue new announcements. Rather than pitching another DEI program, invest in tracking outcomes of existing initiatives and gather stories of the real people impacted. These are human-centered stories DEI reporters are looking for. Another grievance? Reporters note only being pitched around DEI moments and awareness days and wish to hear from you year-round.

4. For mediable partners, think unexpected

Ever since Barbenheimer, unexpected “partners” are popping up everywhere. As consumer brands create Croc-Tarts, healthcare brands are following suit, with the American Heart Association partnering with a mattress brand to bring attention to heart health and sleep and Fortnite teaming with an Alzheimer’s advocacy group to raise awareness to younger generations. The takeaway? In a crowded environment, brands may benefit from breaking away from typical partners and toward unexpected bedfellows. In addition to eliciting more attention, cross-collabs can double the population target – thus making the SEO value greater to reporters.

5. The election and other news is going to trump yours (no pun intended)

In this crowded time, journalists are going to choose stories that are of interest to the broadest number of readers or viewers. But there are ways to stay ahead. Think quality over quantity. Offer exclusives to the most appropriate outlet. Leverage analytics and trends to demonstrate why the story will perform well. And stay at least 2 months ahead for evergreen content, to give reporters a runway to write on a topic that piques their interest.

The bottom line? The onus is on us to create fully packaged stories and offer well-rounded spokespeople that catch reporters’ attention when they’re stretched and distracted by bigger news. It requires more time, more thought, more research – and more patience. But if you have it, you will find success in the most challenging of cycles this year.


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