Media relations is a tactic in your communications strategy that helps rubber stamp your content with an unbiased opinion. It's called earned media, it's good fun, and incredibly satisfying.
As a job I've been doing for the last decade, I love media relations. There's something about taking a story, finding just the perfect media title to tell it through and amplifying the results to reach new and existing audiences.
It's hard, though. Like, really hard. Years ago (back when we used to clip the coverage from a newspaper and fax it to our clients) it was very acceptable to write a press release and send it out to a cast of thousands and wait for the journalists to bite. It was super common to tell our receptionist not to put through calls from lower tier journalists until we'd heard from our big mainstream contacts. I'm quite mortified that we did that.
How the mighty have fallen! In 2016, we have probably two-thirds fewer journalists writing for fewer newspapers and magazines than we did when I cut my teeth in PR 16 years ago. Pulling the press release spam trick out to our journalists now ends in a deleted email and potentially a black list. You can't do it and what's more, there's no point to it. No point.
Our industry has changed massively, where press releases are out, business stories are hard to sell in, and business profile pieces are even harder to place. We now need to make our business news appetising to a consumer audience.
Integrated communications models are what progressive PR firms are offering now. We have happily adopted the PESO model coined by Gini Dietrich in 2014 as our MO and it's working well. PESO is made up of Paid, Earned, Shared, and Owned tactics which in conjunction with search-based methodologies for content creation, create a winning formula for achieving authority in domain and personal brand.
There's lots to read about PESO, but the crux of it results in a focus on the story and content type, the audience and how they will consume it best. Very little point, trying to get your story meant for youth in a business publication, when you could actually just snapchat the whole thing. Good to note the Earned part of the PESO model doesn't limit itself to earned media like what you might get in your local newspaper, but also extends to promoting your own content on another site. And if that site promotes links back to your own website, then all the better for you.
Lou Draper is Managing Partner of Draper Cormack Group and a public relations veteran. Originally from Auckland she is now living, working and breathing public relations, personal brand and content curation in Wellington City.