This year marks my third working within the PR Industry, and even though it seems like a short amount of time, I’ve experienced more than a few changes to the relationships between PR and the media…
Having started my PR career in-house, I was somewhat eased into my first-ever relationships with the press. Back then, the presence and growth of digital media platforms was nowhere near as pronounced as it is now, so the type of editorial content, the methods with which it was distributed and the pace at which it was written were very, very different.
Online was still very much shadowed by print, and PR-Press relationships were much harder to generate. PRs would have to adhere to the more traditional methods in order to create trustworthy and mutually beneficial relationships, by ‘wining and dining’ journalists at press events and meetings. This ultimately meant that PRs secured coverage for their clients mostly through face-to-face conversations with press, often rendering these relationships feeble and short-lived.
The ‘digitalisation’ of media publications has not only changed the type of content being written by journalists, but has also welcomed a whole spectrum of content that was scarcely explored before.
Online journalists today have to produce twice, maybe three times, the amount of content than a print journalist will have to. And on a daily basis no less. This immense need for content has had a definite influence on PR and media relations. Time consuming and costly methods like conferences and lunch meetings have been ditched, and PRs now rely on creating relevant content to capture interest and create meaningful and genuine contacts with journalists.
However, journalists are no longer the only ones creating content, as the rise of content producers and brands becoming publishers in their own right has increased significantly. While most journalists specialise in one or two fields, like fashion, travel or food, independent content writers and bloggers provide different types of content spanning a variety of topics and formats for multiple platforms. In turn, they look for a much higher level of material from PRs.
Another important factor which has strengthened the relationship between PR and the media, is the influence of SEO and the availability of search data. This growing bond means that a PR can now be one-step ahead when it comes to online search trends, as well as keyword & topic data sourcing. This allows them to anticipate what journalists will be working on and, more importantly, what their audiences will be interested in reading about. Just as SEO now plays a large part in making the PR’s job a lot more efficient and effective, it is also a case of ‘you scratch my back, and I’ll scratch yours’ as the offsite SEO requirement of authoritative mentions and links is being fulfilled by these high quality editorial placements
When securing online coverage, a journalist might have a good understanding of what SEO is, however a Digital PR may still have to supply the tools for them to embed a video or use code for a feature. Although, the digital age has certainly fortified PR and press relationships, making things a lot more effective, building good relationships with the press is still very much about being able to find the right balance of tech and traditional communications.
Find out more about how to use Digital PR to your advantage by speaking to our award-winning Digital PR team.