If you want to navigate the ever changing media landscape, you need to change with the times, our Managing Partner, Jennifer Robertson, writes.

PR is dead. Long live PR.

The global pandemic has irreversibly changed the media landscape, accelerating pre-existing trends and forcing new ones, sometimes for the better.

A classic example is a newspaper splash being the definition of success. Now it’s about being the most viewed story online because we know that after TV, that’s where most people in the UK read their news.

PR as we traditionally know it is no longer, having evolved predominantly to multi-platform digital media relations with news and content now consumed mostly online. According to Ofcom’s 2021 report on news consumption nine in ten 16-24 year olds follow news online but TV still comes out on top for adults at 79%, closely followed by online at 73%, radio 46% and newspapers 32%.

So here are my top ten takeaway on the new(ish) face of media relations and what this means for brands looking to build their profile:

Relationships with the media are still important, they’re just different. Since 2020 there have been over 2000 jobs cuts for journalists in the UK accelerated by a global drop in advertising. This means your agency’s contacts system is key to keeping track of journalists, many of whom now write for multiple titles and are working from home.

Digital media relations is media relations. Given the majority of media is consumed online, brands need to think of platform execution and content. Issuing a news release still happens but is a small fraction of what you do to get coverage.

News is still news, and therefore important in terms of generating coverage, but compelling content can also generate the story with trending videos, photos and prose often taking centre stage, backed by a great creative strategy.

News rooms have radically changed. Beat journalists, as they were traditionally known, are becoming a thing of the past as titles adapt to online;, the global restructure of Conde Nast is a case in point. Job titles like live news, insights and lifestyle editors are now the norm.

We’ve gone mad for newsletters with some now with as much reach as mainstream titles. And some of those redundant journalists have started up their own e-newsletters, with platforms like Substack becoming very popular for ex-journalists to expand their reach and monetise their work showcasing journalism in a more personal way for specific groups of people. Emails help build habit and loyalty and should be a key part of media lists.

Journalists now regularly crowd-source stories and content on social media via hashtags like #PRrequests

Big media has increased and local media continued to shrink- except for DC Thomson which is an outstanding example of a traditional company radically adapting to a content first digital age.

Our reality is virtual, or it sometimes just feels that way. The glitzy PR launches people expect from my industry have been replaced with slick broadcast quality virtual events. World-leading experts, whisky warehouses and other experiences can now be brought to you at home while you sit in your PJs- make the most of it.

The rise of good news and fake news. The media are hungry for business success stories in the challenging economic climate. But it’s hard to cut through especially with the meteoric rise of fake news. A huge proportion of audiences being reached are actually fake, driven largely by digital advertising.

Earned media is more important than ever, as it’s the most trusted. When rated by their users on measures such as importance, trustworthiness, range of opinions and impartiality, TV and magazines performing strongest, and social media performing least well (Ofcom 2021). That’s why we always recommend that you use paid media to drive earned media, making your hard won coverage results go further and faster maximising impact.