‘PR, Then and Now’ Analysis: Reporter Begot Blogger, Press Conference vs. Twitter, Media Kit or Content

Earlier this year an infographic created by InkHouse Media + Marketing examined the ever-evolving role of public relations. With your permission, I’d like to take the next few blogs to review some of the elements of the infographic.

Reporter Blogger

The media landscape has absolutely changed, as has how we get out our compelling messages to the appropriate audience. Frankly, it is overwhelming. The number of blogs is staggering, providing many opportunities and challenges.

My thoughts:

  • All bloggers are not created equally. Some will follow the “reporter’s handbook” while others…not so much.
  • In many ways, bloggers are much like newspaper columnists. His/her take on things. More opinions.
  • Whether pitching or responding, consider the reach and influence of the blogger. Frankly, very similar approach to a traditional reporter.

Press Twitter

Well, I’ve never been a fan of the staged press conference. That said, there are still instances where they makes sense. Reactionary, crisis situations where you want/need to answer a variety of questions. I believe what is trying to be illustrated here is, the days of a company having to “call a press conference” to get the message out are over. Today, companies should be interacting with their real audience regularly and, according to this, more and more are doing so.

Critical with these interactions is to not be over-the-top promoting your company. Similar to pitching a news story, most times we are part of the story – – not the entire story. In any social interaction, your real audience is fully-aware of who you are and don’t need/want the hard sale. The idea should be to position your company as an expert, someone your real audience likes and respects.

Kit Content

Along the same lines, this graphic illustrates the migration from press kits to the content I referenced above which, in addition to content on Twitter feeds, includes content on company blogs, Facebook pages, Pinterest pages, etc. All of which, again, are less promotional and more about how the company fits into their real audience’s “puzzle of life.”

We shouldn’t forgo the press kit. Thinking that media are going to go through a company’s content to find a story is a mistake. Part of our job is to act as a gatekeeper and content-editor of sorts and provide the media (here it comes) with the most compelling aspects that make a great story.

As PR professionals, we are now responsible (or should be) for both earned (traditional) and owned (social) media – – making sure those compelling messages are being delivered to the appropriate audience. And we use traditional and social media to do so.

Next week, more insights and perspectives off of the infographic.

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4 thoughts on “‘PR, Then and Now’ Analysis: Reporter Begot Blogger, Press Conference vs. Twitter, Media Kit or Content

  1. Thanks for the great context and commentary, Andy. As you referenced, the most important aspect in all of this – whether engaging the press or going direct to customers – is to deliver content providing value and expert insight (real thought leadership). Many communicators are pressured to more overtly promote products and services by those who lack experience in successfully engaging target audiences through these channels. But, in order to maximize compelling brand-building results, it is imperative to avoid being overly promotional with the hard sell. Look at Richard Branson – does he use his blog to pump his airline? No.

    The great news for communicators is that there’s a real dearth of true thought leaders out there. But, where there’s a void, there’s great opportunity. Those who know how to tap into the issues and challenges of the day have an amazing opportunity to leverage these content strategies to build brands that are much bigger than the products or services they sell.

  2. I remember about 20 years ago, I was at a conference and listened to an up-and-coming PR executive who spoke about how news would become less and less important and communicators should focus on creating and owning their own channels and content and rely less and less on the gatekeepers. “Go right at them,” he said. “Don’t rely on the postman to deliver your letter.”

    He said the credibility and reliability of the news media would wain and if the PR profession was going to be taken seriously in the future, it had to come to grips with that. I was just a few years removed from being a newspaper reporter at the time and working in a profession who’s primary function was to generate news coverage. I recall laughing and laughing at such a preposterous notion. Fast forward to present day…and I’ll be damned if Richard Edelman didn’t know what he was talking about!

    Add to that the recent perspective of a former colleague who was also a Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist at the WSJ…”If it doesn’t have some stink or blood on it, journalists won’t be interested. And who reads or listens to them anyway.”

    Fact is, news – as an information delivery channel – is less important now than it ever has been. Fewer and fewer people rely on it and/or see it as a trusted source of information. As Andy alluded to, we’ve become an “opinionation” and one of our primary jobs as communicators and marketers is to shape and create the perspectives that lead to the “right opinions.” While there are certainly audiences for which media relations should be a primary means of shaping perspectives, for most audiences it ranks way down the list. In most cases, informed, honest and transparent communications through other channels with original, resonant content is much more effective. In fact, in today news environment, I would suggest that products, ideas, people, places and things will not be reported about until an “opinion” (good or bad) has already been formed in the marketplace. And at that point…that news story or blog post…is just icing on the cake if it’s positive, or if negative, the result of non-existent or bad perspective-shaping strategy to begin with.

    Bottom line: Worry much, much less about media relations and more about building and owning the relationship with your target. Build strong channels, create strong, compelling content and “go right at them.”

    1. James – Great stuff. Very thought-provoking. My initial inclination is earned (media relations) and owned (blogs, social interactions) is not an either or proposition. We are in the business of creating compelling messages for the appropriate/real audience. Owned and earned media is used to reach that real audience. While the “shine” of third-party creditability may be a little less bright than in years past (due in part to 24 Hour News, commentators acting as reporters and technology), I do believe the right placement will deliver the right message with impact.

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