Let’s be honest: media relations is about more than just distributing a press release and praying for coverage. Earning consistent national placements requires insight, strategy and — most importantly — solid relationships with key media contacts. That’s why our team is constantly booking trips to meet with journalists from across the country.
By educating ourselves on the changing media landscape, we stay in tune with the needs of journalists, and we’re able to get our clients in front of the best in the business — all while working to build and grow key relationships. Over the past year, MediaSource has traveled to several cities (like New York City, Washington DC and Chicago) to meet with dozens of key national media outlets.
Whether we’re picking a journalists brain about their workflow, the state of the industry or their pet’s name, we know that the magic happens when we get out of the office and build relationships in person. Then, once we’re back at our desks, our team uses these insights to refine our media strategy, story development process and pitching decisions.
Below are some of the big-picture trends our team discovered through our media visits that can inform a successful media relations strategy.
Bandwidth continues to shrink.
Newsroom resources are dwindling. Because of this, journalists are being asked to do more with less, like adding multimedia to digital pieces, creating engaging social content, producing multiple stories per day or refreshing old stories with new research. The more responsive PR Pros can be to their needs the better — meaning it’s critical to deliver quickly on media requests.
Deadlines are shorter than ever.
Most journalists are working on tighter deadlines than ever before. This means they often need an expert within 48-hours or sooner — especially for “news-of-the-day” stories. Because of this, distributing regular expert advisories can be especially helpful for journalists in a pinch.
SEO is driving story selection.
Creating stories based on SEO results continues to be a growing trend among outlets across the nation. This means journalists are writing pieces that answer questions people frequently Google. At times, this can even take resources away from covering the latest research because these pieces will drive more clicks over time. Because of this, using SEO data to inform your story development and pitching process can make your ideas more enticing to media contacts.
Stories still need broad appeal.
The more things change, the more they stay the same. The top criteria journalists evaluate when covering stories continues to be its relevance to a broad group of people and the presence of a valuable/actionable takeaway. This means every pitch should be backed by solid research that factors in audience insights and a clear headline and call-to-action.
More information is usually better.
To help them envision the end piece, media outlets want the majority of story elements up front. This means it’s critical to share key stats, multimedia elements, interview opportunities and additional press materials all at once. Because of this, all story elements should be in place before outreach begins and PR Pros should be careful that email exchanges don’t drag out.
The news cycle continues to speed up.
We’re in a 24-hour news cycle, which means journalists are continually chasing “news-of-the-day” topics and trends. Paired with dwindling timelines and resources, this makes it especially challenging for outlets to find time to cover feature stories. Because of this, it’s more important than ever to pitch compelling characters that emphasize the selling power of the piece.
Interested in building your brands local, regional or national media presence? We’d love to help! Our team has been helping brands earn consistent headlines for over 20 years. Head over to our Contact Page and drop us a line!