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There’s More to PR than Just Media Relations…

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Written by: Alicia Eu

In the first few months of my career as a comms consultant, I believed that success for my clients equated to media coverage. I quickly learnt that media relations is not synonymous with PR, and that media is simply ONE of many channels that can be used to reach my clients’ key audiences.

As a recent article in PR Daily reminds us, PR is “a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organisations and their publics”.

With that definition of PR in mind, think about the way information consumption habits have shifted in recent years. Traditional channels for communication, like broadcast and print news, are no longer seen as the leading information source. We now need to think of the individual as being at the centre of all channels – both print and online.

If we are to build ‘mutually beneficial relationships’ with our audiences, we must remember that media relations isn’t a standalone means to reach them. We should look at an integrated omni-channel approach that segments and targets the audiences we want to communicate with according to their consumption habits.

There is also an opportunity to educate business executives to look at how PR is supporting them in reaching their end goal. Rather than merely counting article numbers, PR can help them achieve their business goals, be it through generating leads, making sales or educating.

An omni-channel approach also allows us to look at different tools of measurement, particularly online. For example, we can now look at where leads are generated and who is engaging with our content. At the end of the day, it is this sort of data and analytics that will help us show the true value of our work as PR consultants.

Don’t get me wrong – media relations is still a very important component of many PR programs – it can offer third-party validation and can help build and protect a brand and its reputation. But as Kevin York, Founder of Kevin York Communications said in his PR Daily article, PR will lose some of its business relevance when it becomes too reliant on media coverage. We must integrate other communication channels to “solve problems, meet business objectives and both support and drive sales”.

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