You may have heard a rumor that the press release is “dead,” but what you may not know is that the press release serves a different purpose than it used to. In fact, what we used to think of media coverage as “news” but that usually isn’t enough in today’s new age of media.
In working with associations over the years, it’s a common mistake to believe that because something is news to your organization, it should be news to others. When it reality, most news is only meaningful to those who originated it and not to the audiences of the new outlets.
In a recent article I wrote for Association Leadership, I explored what this new age means for associations—and how communicators can navigate this landscape to earn media. Below are a few highlights from that feature article, “Earning Media for Associations in the New Age.”
What valuable information do you have?
It’s always important to think strategically about the type of information your organization has that no one else does—and how this information might create value for reporters and their audiences. By providing a unique point of view to your industry, you can be seen as a valuable expert to the media. Start by looking at the insightful news that you’re regularly providing internally, whether to your members or your clients.
Think beyond the means of traditional media.
Increasingly the media we care about are no longer “media” anymore. In the age of the internet, online “influencers” are those who write for online publications, have their own blogs and attract a large following on social media. On the positive, online influencers are a great way to share your story in a broader scope than traditional print or broadcast. However, online influencers should be treated with as much care and respect as traditional media. The fastest way to earn an enemy is by making someone with a large platform feel like they’re not a priority.
Get creative about who tells your story.
Traditionally, spokespersons are usually the organization’s chairman or CEO. However, the days of PR representations asking reporters about their deadlines are gone, as the answer is always as soon as possible. Reporters are often trying to beat other reporters at publishing a story, so the timing is always sooner rather than later. This means the reporter could need a 30-minute turnaround for an interview request—forcing the PR representative to track down a spokesperson and ensure that it works within the schedule. This is why it’s important for organizations and associations to have leaders and members who are trained and authorized to speak publicly ready to be interviewed at a moment’s notice.
To read this complete article, visit Association Leadership’s November/December issue.
Stacy Armijo is Senior Vice President and General Manager of Pierpont Communications’ Austin office. She spearheads strategic planning and program execution for clients across diverse verticals, including real estate, transportation and professional services.