You are probably tired of hearing about the COVID-19 pandemic, but the pandemic is the reason why navigating the “new normal” is daunting. The 2020 pandemic has changed norms, routines, and expectations. Just like all other industries, the communication industry – specifically public relations took a huge knock that still influences the effort of moving forward. Living through a pandemic has changed so many aspects of the communications industry. Some companies have returned to the office while some have decided to work remotely. Such changes have fundamentally changed the networking that drives public relations. In this article, we will be discussing two media relations challenges in the communication industry – specifically Public Relations.
Challenges in 2022
Lack of media connections
Having a good relationship with the media is important for public relations practitioners. PR professionals send press releases, pitch articles and interviews to journalists to ultimately reach the desired target audience. Journalists need a consistent stream of newsworthy stories, so creating compelling news stories for media involving the brands looking for media exposure is a win-win for both parties.
The pandemic has caused shakeups in the staff at many media offices. The dislocation caused in staff through downsizing or closures has resulted in further loss of media relationships. Many connections that PR practitioners had at a particular office or media outlet are no longer there. Working remotely has made it difficult to reach the right journalist or producer to pitch to over the phone. Keeping track of which reporter or key contact at which media outlet still covers a particular industry or area is difficult, as many media houses continue to downsize, rely on freelancers, or reconfigure. Even though some media outlets don’t have major changes, working from home doesn’t make it easier to get in touch with the right people.
In 2020 and 2021, it was almost impossible to meet journalists in person at events. In the era of virtual events, it can be difficult to foster the media relationship that is the goldmine of PR. Luckily, in 2022, in-person conferences, seminars and events are returning. An opportunity to do a bit of “housekeeping” has presented itself. PR practitioners should do a lot more research and reach out to new contacts or re-introduce themselves to previously established contacts they may have lost touch with. It helps to go the extra mile by following journalists on social media, so you are up to date on what they are writing and what interests them.
Getting top-tier media coverage
Any PR professional can tell you that getting top-tier coverage is a classic challenge faced. Clients want to read about their brand and appear on major news platforms. The competition for attention is fierce as breaking through the noise of getting noticed in journalists’ inboxes is hard. Can you guess what’s even harder? Well, reaching out to someone you don’t have a media relationship with. This is because of the information overload journalists are faced with. Since it has become difficult to reach them by simply calling their media house PR professionals have resorted to extreme measures. PR pros reach out to them not only via email but also by text, phone calls on their cell number, DMs, LinkedIn requests, Tweets, Instagram, TikTok comments, and any other possible way. The creative use of these platforms can help PR professionals overcome communications challenges. However, PR professionals need to respect boundaries and have an approach strategy when reaching out on social media platforms.
PR has evolved over the years as companies have learned to tell their own stories. Without a doubt, media relations will always be important in PR. However, PR professionals have taken into consideration that there are other ways to feature brands. For instance, PR professionals are using other channels such as social media, corporate websites, webinars, etc. This is because getting clients featured in top-tier media has become increasingly hard to come by.
Wrapping up final thoughts
The communication industry has indeed come across media-related challenges. However, with every challenge presented success comes to those who think outside the box and go that extra mile! Look at media relations challenges as an opportunity to try out exciting new methods to build your PR profile over time. This will help you have more buzz and get noticed by prestigious publications. Perhaps you’ve wanted to implement a new strategy, and now is the perfect chance to do so. Leverage challenges as sources of innovation, creativity, and growth. PR is a marathon, not a sprint.