Media relations hasn’t changed much at all over the past decade, but everything else around it has. That was the message from a webinar last week run by Gorkana. Traditional media has been hit hard by social media, and journalists are increasingly doing more for less. “Traditional media has been hit hard now that we are all media owners through social,” said David Frossman, head of media at W Communications. But the core ingredients in media relations remain building strong, meaningful relationships with the press, investing in those relationships and second-guessing what those journalists and target titles need. “It’s about talking to journalists, whether that be over the phone, over a coffee or over a beer and giving them what they need so that they want to work with you.”
As well as a rise in social, there are also structural changes happening, Frossman said. “Paid and earned media used to be all separate. Now they have converged.”
The webinar followed the publication by the Public Relations and Communications Association of their 18 recommendations for great communications in 2018. We picked some of the best below…
1. Integrated communications: With communications disciplines converging and lines being blurred between practice areas, thinking with the mindset of a traditional PR or public affairs agency won’t work anymore. first step on this journey is proper audience understanding.
2. Misinformation: Businesses will increasingly be exposed to allegations based on misinformation, as distrust of authority and those classed as ‘experts’ continues. The need for intensive social media monitoring, rapid rebuttal, and crisis handling skills will continue to grow.
3. Take a stand: The lines between business, politics and culture are ever more blurred, and organisations can no longer sit on the fence as consumers demand clarity, commitment and action. Marketers and communicators need to harness this trend with authenticity.
4. Ethics: Companies and their supporting PR and communications agencies will have to work harder to maintain high ethical standards as communications techniques continue to be scrutinised.
5. Radical transparency: Brands and businesses will increasingly have to prove that they are adhering to their values. Trendwatching calls this trend ‘Glass Box Brands’ – the idea that people want to see beneath a carefully curated surface to the real culture and integrity of an organisation.
6. Diversity and inclusion: With the publication of the PRCA Census findings this Spring, diversity will be in the spotlight as recognition grows that people who work within PR and communications should broadly represent the world around it.
7. Sexual inequality: Sexual harassment and the gender pay gap were big news stories in 2017, and they will continue to occupy the media spotlight in 2018, with businesses needing to think carefully about their policies.
8. Gender stereotyping: This summer saw the ASA publish an in-depth report on gender stereotyping. They plan much stronger guidelines to end the stereotyping of gender roles and characteristics.
9. Crackdown on social media abuse: Social media providers will continue to be called on to deal with online abuse, following Twitter’s move to ban accounts that propagate hate speech.
10. Datanation: Expect/demand to see campaigns that are measured on indicators that truly impact on a client’s bottom line. We’ll see more data analysts coming on board within agencies, as well as the up-skilling of agency employees with specific data analysis skillsets.
11. Artificial Intelligence: PR and communications will continue to find ways to use AI to take out the laborious tasks. But as an issue there will be more crisis handling around AI’s ethical controversies.
Read more from the PRCA and keep up to date with the association here.