Reports of the death of media relations have been greatly exaggerated.
According to practitioner and entrepreneur, Shane Allison, media relations accounted for 51% of agency revenues in 2018. As such it remains a core skill for PR professionals, but in many ways the way we practice media relations has not evolved from when we used fax machines to reach journalists.
Shane has launched a new platform, Public Address, bringing much needed innovation and technology to improve the practice of media relations and help remove the friction that can exist between PR practitioners and journalists.
In this episode, Shane supports the view of David Skapinker in Smoke Signal episode 8 that there are now more journalists and media outlets than ever before.
As a profession we’ve gone from interacting with 2500 media outlets in 2013 to nearly 5000 media outlets today. In the same time we’ve seen nearly 1000 journalists added to the population of journalists.
As Shane puts it: “You look at that explosion of media outlets you understand why the PR is struggling to meet the needs of journalists. There are so many different titles and outlets that we need to be communicating with, and pitching to, on a daily basis.
“As a result we have never been busier as an industry. The number of people employed in PR has doubled in the last 8 years… We are putting more and more resources to get the same impact as we would have done five years ago with a placement in mainstream media… So the net effect for the PR profession has been declining productivity.”
For Shane, the PR profession has often confused innovation with diversification. So we’ve innovated by diversifying away from media relations – we’ve introduced video, social, content creation, community management among other skills. But, in Shane’s view, that is now holding us back, we need to come back to our core and ask how we innovate in this core skill of media relations.
Shane is excited about what he sees as the imminent golden age of media relations in a time when media relations has never been more valuable for brands – the process can be improved and evolve but the discipline will remain at the core of what we do.
In the news
Earlier this month I attended the launch of the 2019 Edelman Trust Barometer. In the news this episode I discuss three of the key findings:
Take a listen and you can view the full results here.