In PR, we often hear about how important is media relations. Be it a new story, a controversy, a big buck event or even a very small piece of news, you will only get your coverage if you have strong relationships with the media. Hence, anybody who joins the industry is taught the tricks and ways from the very first day itself to build their contacts with the media and how to leverage them too. But, in this digital age where press releases and print newspapers are dying a slow death, what will you do wasting your time in building relationships which will be of no use to you. Now a days, journalists do not wait for your press release anymore. Neither do they wait for someone to confirm the news for them. There are enough technologies and software through which they get their share of information and before you could even complete even the headline of your press release, the news has been covered. So, why should a PR professional take all the hassles of going to media rounds, updating media lists etc. in spite of knowing that it’s not a necessity anymore. But, is this really true? Do media relations not matter anymore?
“Having a good rapport with journalists does not necessarily mean that you’ll get coverage even for the stupidest of news. Media Relations in PR still matter as long as the news you’re providing is serving a purpose and is authentic and relevant.”, says N.S Rajan, the founder and CEO of Ketchum Sampark. Just like us, media too has evolved drastically and it is still evolving every single day. Neither is media limited to our typical print and television media anymore and nor is media relations limited to making friendships with journalists. Media relations now include everybody from journalists to editors to bloggers to influencers and even micro-influencers. You never know whom you might need. Also, the days of genuinity aren’t completely eradicated. People are still excited when you show unfeigned interest in them. Thus, when you remember a journalist’s anniversary or an influencer’s birthday and send them a small token of love, there are high chances that you’ve made your mark. This way, they are inbound to you. In you time of need, they will also help you with whatever they possess. Not only that, but people care a great deal about authenticity. So, when you have an established relationship with media personnel, it’s likely that you’ll get all authentic news even if they are confidential.
Having said all that, this shouldn’t be expected that since the media person is a friend, he/she will carry anything provided by you. The news that you give them should have some information that is directly or indirectly useful to the audience. Ergo, to conclude, no matter how advanced technology becomes or how far the digital age extends media relations shall always be significant in the PR world. The only thing to be kept in mind is that whatever news you put on a platform or disseminate should be bona fide and germane.
Baishali Banerjee is a part of the Class of 2020 of PG Programme in PR and Corporate Communications at SCoRe, Mumbai. She completed her winter internship with Genesis BCW, Mumbai.
She is from Kolkata. She did her graduation in Media Science with a specialization in Public Relations and Advertising from NSHM Knowledge Campus, Kolkata. She has always been curious about the corporate world and how all these huge brands function and connect with their consumers on a day-to-day basis. She interned with Ketchum Sampark for a period of three months under the Brands & Lifestyle team. This experience made her more curious about the PR fraternity. Also, she is a person very open to learning and her interests lie in corporate, entertainment and lifestyle.
She can be reached at @baishalibanerj5 on Twitter and as Baishali Banerjee on LinkedIn