Lots has been written about the decline of traditional media. Falling circulation. Falling listenership and viewership. It’s unlikely to get better as communications evolves with society’s preferred methods for receiving news.
New media startups, on the other hand, are getting it right. They are putting a strong focus on engaging with audiences and involving them in the news process. Many of these startups, however, are still in their early stages of growth.
But let’s get back to traditional media, for the purposes of this article. Traditional media should remain a component of your media relations. Don’t kick traditional media to the curb, just because the headlines about its future aren’t as bright. If you had the opportunity to use a daily newspaper with a circulation of 21,000 to reach people in a community, would you dismiss it? Probably not, if it reached your target audience.
There are many reasons why it’s more important than ever to update your media relations skills. Here are three reasons to do so in 2011:
1. Media priorities have shifted big time. OK, your organization did a media training session about 10 years ago and it went great. Super! So, what’s next? Well for starters, completely forget almost everything you learned 10 years ago. It’s gone. Kaput. Goodbye! The media landscape has undergone a gigantic upheaval. This upheaval has changed priorities for coverage, beats, workload, staffing and even how you approach reporters about story ideas. Different tactics are needed today to be effective in leveraging media to your advantage.
2. Your fax machine is still a prime media relations tool. I recently asked a room full of people to raise their hands if they still used a fax machine to communicate ‘important’ news to media outlets. Nobody put up their hand. I suspect it was out of fear. The reality is the fax machine is still being used by way too many organizations in their media relations. This approach is so 1990s. It’s time to put fax machines aside and learn new, better methods of communicating with media that actually work.
3. Media is morphing rapidly. Gone are the days from 10 years ago when you dealt with just a newspaper that reported via the written word, or a radio station that used just voices. Media today operate across multiple platforms. This means you need a strategy that encompasses multiple approaches to gain the most exposure.