The value of media relations
Great media relations skills are honed through years of hands-on experience. They cannot be learned from a text book. Top media relations practitioners have a raw talent, an instinct for a ‘story’ and eye for an ‘angle’. Importantly, they know their audience and understand the media which, in the digital age, is no mean feat.
So what makes a good story? There is no doubt that bad news shouts louder than good news and that bad news spreads faster and stays longer than ever. But how do we make a compelling story out of good news? There are six main components that make up news:
- Immediacy – it is about something that’s happening now
- Impact – it has the ability to affect lives
- Change – it is about imminent or actual change
- Interest – it excites; worries; intrigues; motivates
- Importance – it is of consequence to individuals and/or communities
- Relevance – it is topical and of significance
The media landscape has changed dramatically in just the past few years and now employs over ½ million people in the UK. It is now vastly more complex and dynamic than it was with every member of the public now a potential reporter and self-appointed journalist. With more channels for news than ever before, competition for editorial space is fierce, so why communicate through the media at all? Why not choose another way to communicate with target audiences and raise the profile of your company, products or services?
The one overriding compelling reason is that the media offers the potential for mass dissemination of your messages. With the right angle, making your story newsworthy, you have the potential to reach many millions of people across the world. Even more appealing is that, with careful planning and media knowledge, you have the ability to engage with niche markets of interested customers and potential customers. And, now that the media is so joined-up, you have the ability to push audiences to your own media outlets – your website; blog; pages on social platforms.
Of course one of the reasons why great media relations still carries such value is because a story reported by an independent media channel carries the implied endorsement of that channel, the journalist/editor. Even better, if the story is delivered in the form of a third party review or endorsement, giving personal endorsement of the products/services, it has yet more value.
And while, prior to the new media age, stories in traditional media became chip paper and were lost overnight, with today’s digital channels, your story has an infinite life, potentially resurfacing time and again dished up by search engines, for many years to come. So, a little media relations expertise can go a long, long way.