Before I founded Samson Media in 2006 I had been in the public/media relations business for over 20 years.
Even when I left the PR business in 2006 a tsunami of change was already underway — Facebook was only 2 years old, YouTube was a year old, and Twitter was only weeks old. Little did anyone know that these three companies would be the pillars of the coming digital revolution. And when you think about it, the World Wide Web itself was only eight years old. While I didn’t know to what degree things would change, even then I was 100% positive that the Internet would continue to have a profound effect.
It was against this backdrop that I quit my six figure job as an agency vice president to start my own business focused strictly on Internet marketing. Good thing, too, because the company I was working for went out of business in 2013.
HAVE YOUR PUBLIC RELATIONS SKILLS KEPT UP?
But as my business has grown and I’ve kept in touch with many people I knew in the media relations business, most people continued to approach media relations as business as usual. Or they would continue to focus on the Old Guard of media — TV, radio, print, all of which are now experiencing enormous pressure to remain relevant in the face of digital media. One only has to look at the recent old school media convulsions as Time Life spun off their magazines, the venerable NY Times looks to downsize or the Ladies Home Journal closed their doors after 131 years! And remember Newsweek?
And print is far from alone. The TV audience is fragmenting and DVRs were a game changer putting the viewer in charge. I, for one, always fast forward through the commercials.
BY-PASSING THE GATE KEEPERS
The point is, if you’re a media relations professional whose job depends on getting exposure for your clients or a business owner who works with a PR agency or consultant, the old ways of going through media gate keepers are crumbling and even when you do get through the audiences aren’t there like they used to be. Yes, there’s still value in getting a product placement on Good Morning America but what are the odds of that? The good news for media relations pros is that now you can reach consumers directly via social media, websites and blogs without having to seek permission from the gate keepers. Now you can go direct to consumer, even in the B2B realm. Everyone now has the same level of access to speak directly to their prospects and potential clients and customers. The challenges are:
- How do you reach them?
- What do you say?
- How do you manage it all?
For those who embrace the new rules of PR and marketing the more valuable you’ll be to your clients. And if you’re a business owner, mastering the skills of new media outreach are really a matter of your company’s life or death.
These are topics that we will continue to explore over the course of the year.
If you are interested in the list of tools we use to manage various aspects of media outreach today, feel free to download our resource list of tools HERE.