Jul 02, 2013

The Future of Media Relations: Changing Audience Behavior

martinet quoteSocial media has created the unprecedented ability to form direct brand-to-consumer relationships and share news in real-time. Its influence is so powerful that just last month, Yahoo! announced a groundbreaking new partnership with Twitter that would integrate the site’s social media feed as a news source. This rapid shift in relevance from print to online content puts the future of media relations into question. Stacy Martinet (@stacymartinet) Chief Marketing Officer at Mashable.com, joined Business Development Institute and PR Newswire in a roundtable discussion to share her insight on the latest trends in content marketing and the future of media relations.

According to Martinet, most of todays’ content marketing is concentrated online. With a new emphasis on storytelling, PR and marketing are no longer disjointed industries. In fact, Martinet predicts that PR specialists will soon be held more accountable for metrics. However, the number of ‘likes’ or ‘followers’ on social media is simply not enough to accurately measure ROI or KPI.

“In media relations, ROI is more about asking, ‘have you changed the behavior of the customer?’ ” says Martinet.

Producing customized content is one of the ways to change customer attitudes. mr blurbMashable.com works with brands on building a “custom mission” or goal that embodies the brand’s culture. It is crucial to manage a product content portfolio to sustain a positive brand image with customers.

“Corporate websites are more important than ever,” Martinet says. “Images, info graphics and other rich media are a must.” More importantly, the sites must provide an immediacy of information in order to build trust. Martinet suggests that content be delivered via stream. It should be clear what the stream is about and updated on a regular basis.

Traditional journalism still matters

With the current emphasis of online content marketing, what does this mean for the future of journalism? Now that news is breaking faster on Twitter than other sources, the future of “exclusives” appears to be grim. Although they can offer behind-the-scenes opportunities, “To me, exclusives are the end of an era. [They] tend to only matter to journalists or news outlets” Martinet admits. She also emphasizes that fact-checking is still more important than breaking the news first.

Martinet says that although technology is changing, “Remember, the mainstream media still matters so that’s still a huge get!” Using social media tools in conjunction with mainstream media can provide insight on branding, audience development and purchasing.  Sites like Twitter can also identify consumer influencers who may not be journalists, such as users with a massive number of followers.

Updating your media outreach tactics

Martinet offers a few tips for media outreach today:

  • Even though Facebook is among the most popular social networking sites, journalists rely on Twitter for sourcing.
  • Email is still an effective way to communicate with journalists.
  • Be sure to get straight to the point, offer exclusive content and provide visuals and screen shots when possible.
  • Remember that anything you write can be posted; it is important to explicitly state if none of the information should be shared on social networks.

Martinet believes that mobile technology will lead the new wave of media relations. She says, “In many countries mobile consumption bypasses desktop usage, but the products and platforms currently available are lagging in a changing business model.” Therefore, investing in advanced mobile technology and content streaming is vital to prepare for the future of content marketing and media relations.

Despite the shifts in media relations from print to online technologies, the core approach remains unchanged. As Martinet says, “We still must develop and create a compelling message as always. We just have several tools now to use.”  Conveying meaning through powerful words and images should always be the main focus of a PR or marketing campaign. Strategically pairing a captivating message with technological elements will resonate with audiences and be the driving force for a successful media relations campaign.

Co-authored by PR Newswire’s  Shannon Ramlochan, marketing, and Brett Simon, media relations & audience development. 

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