As we continue our discussion about public relations and the media, we turn to a special guest, business journalist and podcast host, Mario Toneguzzi, to give us his perspective on how the media landscape has changed in the past few years, and particularly since the COVID-19 pandemic began.
The shrinking legacy media
Mario has spent decades writing about business for various platforms, and he knows how important it is for anyone who develops PR strategies to understand the media and how it works. From his insider’s perspective, the entire media landscape began to go through a drastic change about ten years ago. Traditional newsrooms in the print and broadcast sectors have been decimated, leaving only a shell of their former selves. Declining advertising revenues have reduced these platforms to the point where they have only a fraction of the resources they once did. Any company approaching the media for coverage has their work cut out for them as they jostle for a few minutes of airtime or a few column inches. For better or for worse, this is where the legacy media stands today.
How can PR agencies work with the media today?
How can PR agencies continue to work with the media, considering its current state? Unfortunately, when you approach a newspaper or broadcaster to get them to cover your business’s story, the likelihood that they will actually do so is pretty low, unless it’s a powerful story that connects to the hot topics of the day. The media is less inclined to offer this kind of coverage for free, and they will be more likely to push for paid advertising. Hence, it is becoming more difficult for PR agencies to place stories in publications on their own merit.
In the digital world, on the other hand, there are more platforms and channels than ever, and these are continuing to expand. Even in this arena, however, it is not easy to earn media coverage. It can also be challenging to decide which channel to choose for your content in the first place.
On the whole, media is getting more expensive, which means that if businesses want to get exposure for their stories, they need to set a part of their budget aside to cover media relations. An experienced PR agency can develop an effective strategy to garner media coverage, but it requires a mix of paid, earned and owned media.