Why media relations is alive and well

Some say that the print’s decline, along with the rise of online content, is a death knell for the strategy. One PR pro argues that current trends make journalist outreach even more important. 

Media relations alone doesn’t drive a PR strategy for a brand or client, but that doesn’t mean outreach to journalists is dead—nor even dying a slow death.

Citing a decline in print media, an increase in brand and news media partnerships and a rise in content marketing, some experts say that PR pros rely too heavily on building rapport with reporters.

I disagree with this conclusion.

To the contrary, those points reinforce the necessity for the practice. Here’s why:

Print media’s decline

Though circulation numbers, newsroom staff and number of publications with print editions steadily decline, blogs—along with online and mobile versions of publications—continue to grow their audiences.

Traditional media relations doesn’t just mean pitching stories to print magazines and newspapers—bloggers, influential social media users and reporters who write for online publications require love, too.

Media relations isn’t rocket science, but it takes communications savvy, excellent writing, established relationships and elbow grease to be successful. Most brands don’t have an internal staff to dedicate the time toward proper media relations, and many outsource to a firm that specializes in media relations as a cost-effective solution.

An increase in brand/news media partnerships

Brands like Netflix and Clorox are shelling out big bucks to purchase native advertising with publications from The Wall Street Journal to Gawker. These partnerships are undeniably cool, but the majority of brand managers can’t afford the amount of money on a one-shot tactic.

In a time when native advertising is blurring the journalism/advertising line, brands should look to seasoned media relations professionals more than ever.

Without traditional media-relations chops, marketing pros might reach out to editorial contacts to ask for native-ad partnerships or spend thousands on an advertorial that isn’t as effective as a third-party review or interview from a reporter.

The rise of content marketing

A CMI study revealed that 90 percent of businesses are using content marketing—proving the trend’s popularity and highlighting a huge commitment for brand managers.

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The manpower and creativity that go into content marketing—from social content to blogs and infographics—is an immense investment, so created content must be used to its fullest capabilities.

Media relations is one of the best tactics for amplifying content. From pitching blog content to trade and national media outlets to earning thought-leadership placements and offering e-book and infographics to blogs, media relations is an integral strategy.

Kim Jefferson is the vice president and director of accounts at BLASTmedia. A version of this article originally appeared on the firm’s blog. (Image via)


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