Skip to content

Is the fine art of media relations dead?

April 1, 2013


Yeah, I know we’ve been asking that for ages now. Every time a media outlet shuts down, or a corporate PR budget gets slashed, I think ‘well, that’s another nail in the coffin for good ol’ media relations’.

The harder it gets to achieve good media results, and the more I see traditional PR budgets shrink, the closer I get to giving it all away and joining an ashram in the mountains of India.

But then … I don’t. And not just because I wouldn’t cope with the vegan diet.

I don’t because I know that media relations will always have a place in PR and marketing. The other shiny, social media stuff is important too. I know there is waaay more to PR than getting a good run in the newspaper (despite what clients sometimes think).

But you know the most compelling reason we’ll never see the end of media relations? One word: ego.

There is no greater buzz than seeing your mug in the media. CEOs love it, spokespeople love it, board directors love it (as long as it’s positive, of course). I know, because I had MY OWN byline recently. Yep, a PR person actually penned an article in their own name.

Ok, it is admittedly for one of the nerdiest corporate journals around, Keeping Good Companies. But I wanted to look at the role of company boards in managing social media, and it just so happens my dad is a total guru on the topic of board governance. (Yes, the conversations at our family dinner table are just as geeky as you might imagine).  So we wrote an article and placed it in the publication that made the most sense*.

And when I got the proof of the article, with my own little name at the top, it was a buzz! It felt like being famous. Validation, ego-boost… whatever you  call it, there is something satisfying about seeing your name in lights.

So, remember that next time you’re thinking about winning or keeping a client. Those making decisions about budgets are people, and as such, their decisions will be informed by emotion, ego, or some combination thereof.

Yeah, sure, there is ROI. There are statistics and metrics and KPIs. But there is also the very human desire for recognition – of your brand or your name. Every time you, or your client, or your spokesperson lands a good piece of media coverage, you have a little reward centre lighting up in your brain. It’s the same neural pathway as when you get a compliment – a feelgood reaction. (Don’t ask for my neuroscience credentials, just accept my pop psychology, ok?)

So there will always be a place for media relations. It’s a crucial part of brand positioning, it helps create awareness and it demonstrates expertise and authority. That’s the textbook stuff, and it’s all true.

But beyond that, media coverage makes people happy. It makes PR people happy, it makes clients happy, it makes CEOs happy. And it will hopefully keep me out of the ashram for a while yet.

*The article isn’t online, so I can’t link to it.
photo credit: via photopin cc


From → Uncategorized

  1. I really enjoyed your article Belinda (found it through a tweet by Joe Soltis). There is no doubt that media is hugely driven by emotion. Numbers and stats can be great, but seeing your or your company’s name “out there” is a “rush”!

    • Thanks for the feedback Kimberly! I think that in business, we have a tendency to think of our decisions as rational, not emotional. But there is always a bit of both.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. The 5 Types of Marriage Breakdown (in PR) | Getting Past PR

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: