As technology has evolved over the years, so too has the way we have consumed news. First, we had newspapers, then the radio, then TV, and then the Internet. Fast forward to this past year, the preferred news medium of choice included portable devices like tablets and smart phones. Consuming news and content on these devices has many benefits, most often due to the ability to quickly scan and engage with what we see while on the go.
The “short reads” afforded to us is a by-product of the busy 24/7 news and social media cycle, always plugged in, always on the go. The idea of short reads and quick consumption is a growing trend. Sources such as Buzzfeed that provide snapshots of the news are becoming increasingly popular. As consumers change the way they access information, we as PR professionals have to change our strategies to better reach them.
The new digital landscape has created new opportunities for how companies small and large handle PR. Here at WISE PR, we present a few collective PR vows for 2014 that we hope many others will also accept and embrace:
1. Consider the growing trend of “Snapshot” news. More and more consumers are reading and engaging with content in shorter quicker snapshots. Re-posting an article on Facebook, liking an article, tweeting about news, etc. It’s never been more important for PR professionals to keep things short, sweet and to the point. Don’t worry about a lengthy press release or the over-involved pitch, list out your main points and why they are important.
2. Continue to research reporters and know them before pitching. Nothing is worse than hearing from a reporter who feels they are getting spammed by useless pitches and information. With reporters and bloggers writing and posting multiple stories daily, sometimes even hourly, things need to move quickly and you have to make sure you capture their interest just as quickly. Continually send too much information on politics to a lifestyle reporter and you’re either going to get radio silence or an ear-full.
3. Build more relationships. It really is about who you know. You’re going to find a lot more success pitching to someone you have an established relationship with than a complete stranger. Remember, you are just one among thousands pitching competing stories to the same reporter. Relationships can really help you stand out amongst the chaos and noise as well as create a future reference point. Meet people and learn more about them and what they’re interested in.
4. Adjust your strategy to fit the evolving traditional media ecosystem. The need to be multi-disciplined is increasing rapidly. Traditional media is shrinking, and shrinking fast, slowly making tools like the press release obsolete. We find ourselves increasingly doing work beyond the traditional boundaries of earned, owned, and paid media. We need to anticipate creating more content and content marketing, decide the best ways to use mobile media channels, consider native advertising if/when necessary, and learn how to use video, infographics, and events — when they are most effective.
The media ecosystem will continue to change as technology continues to advance, and it’s important that we as PR practitioners find ways to grow with it. Learn several skills, push content, build and nourish relationships, consider new creative ways to create content, and form new strategies for messaging.