I recently heard a communications consultant claim his firm didn’t do much media relations as it’s no longer influential.
It’s not an entirely new proposition – the importance of media relations has been down-played by some practitioners for many years now.
I suspect the real reason is, that they are not very good at it, rather than it being of no importance. There are many people who just can’t do it well.
It’s been 13 years since I was a journalist, but friends in the media tell me that public relations people are still making the same annoying mistakes they did with me.
Like having a junior member of staff following up to see if I was going to use a media release; receiving calls about a story from someone who obviously had no idea the subjects I wrote about or who my publication was aimed at; being offered exclusives that had also been given to competitors; and receiving badly written, totally irrelevant material.
I could go on, but you get the picture and every journalist will tell similar stories.
But you have to wonder: what do these practitioners tell their clients? That they are not able to get clients the coverage they deserve because they’re not good at it? Or instead convince themselves traditional media is not important?
While there isn’t the same variety of media or the same opportunities there used to be, traditional media hasn’t disappeared and it is still influential.
We simply have to work smarter to help clients reach their audience effectively, whatever the channel.
In Financial Services, where trust has been shattered, trusted information sources and third-party endorsement have never been more important.
For all organisations the communication challenge is reaching target audiences with their messages.
In Financial Services the trade press is a cost effective and direct way to influence and inform gatekeepers and talk directly to intermediaries, so they understand your story.
Dismiss trade press all you like, but that is what it can do for you.
While reaching retail investors through the media has become a lot harder with the number of opportunities drastically reduced, this doesn’t make it a waste of time for skilled practitioners. It just means we have to work harder.
What clients need is access to the full suite of strategies and communication paths available, including media relations when appropriate.