Posted by Caren Begun – Tonic Philadelphia, US
As a media relations specialist in the business of public relations for more than 15 years, I have truly seen and experienced a shift in how pitching media has evolved over the last nearly two decades.
In the mid-90s, pitching media primarily involved getting on the phones and having conversations with reporters, editors and producers. While email was wildly popular and gaining momentum in communicating with press, the phone and in-person meet-and-greets were many times the greatest approaches to securing interest and placements for clients. Fax machines were also a very heavily used resource for disseminating press materials and promotional copy to generate interest and coverage.
Fast forward nearly two decades it is incredible to see the significant shift in how engagement with media is done in the new millennium, mostly online, especially with the rise of social media vehicles such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Skype, and sometimes directly through websites.
For example, in 2011 one of my clients wanted greatly to be featured on QualityHealth.com, a prominent health website on which they were also advertising. However, the outlet did not have an actual editorial staff to pitch, and I later learned they relied heavily on freelancer writers for content development. Thus, I took to the Internet and found a forum on their site in which they were seeking patients with empowering and compelling stories to profile. This was the key. After submitting a patient story for another client…I was in. While the phone will always be an important tool in pitching press and will remain a preferred medium for some, success can also be found in communication through social media platforms.
Even when it comes to interviews with spokespeople there has also been a transformation. Interviews can happen now in multiple fashions: by phone, email, Skype and in-person.
Therefore, in order to stay in the game and on pulse with the evolution of media communication it is important to be involved in these social networks moving forward to further establish dialogue and remain connected especially as media contacts may change over time.
The Internet continues to be a strong networking source that provides us as PR and media relations professionals a significant forum in which to engage with media, consumers and key target audiences for our clients and their brands. Getting involved in social media channels will help us to continue to remain connected with key critical media targets and evolve with them as technology continues to advance over time.