Want the Media to Pay Attention to You? Do This.

May 3rd, 2010

It’s no secret that the media landscape is changing. As a member of the advertising, marketing and PR industry and a freelance writer myself, I’ve noticed a major shift in the way reporters and editors get their story ideas.

We’re no longer in a world where the press release is the way to get trending stories. Today, the blogosphere and social networks are where the news is being made and broadcast. Bloggers and social media participants and their followers are criticizing and praising the brands and companies that they like. Since this is where the readers are, you must not be surprised that this also is where the reporters are.

Since 2004, the blogosphere has rapidly grown and whether you as PR professionals or marketers like it, it is providing a place for news, opinion and reviews that have not been “spun” by a PR professional. The most powerful and successful bloggers can clearly and articulately discuss their opinions on a product, service or company with credibility. They’re often well-known in their industry or seen as an influential person whose opinion matters.

As a writer, when I’m looking for a story idea, it is not uncommon to search online to find trending story ideas and potential sources from these credible bloggers. I can find ideas, sources and potential facts and figures (that, of course, need to be verified) easily all over social networks. I search for trusted bloggers, Tweeters and websites whose information I know is credible.

What this means for the PR and marketing professionals of the world is that you can no longer bank on the standard press release. Yes, press releases have historically been the PR tool of choice. And, in some cases, they are still practical, but only if the content is timely, relevant, news worthy and has lots of potential interview sources quoted and opportunities for video, photo and audio. And, ultimately, if the topic is of interest to the reporter’s beat, column, current issue, episode, show or publication.

You should instead be focusing your efforts on generating relevant and timely content in a variety of mediums including on corporate blogs and social media accounts in all formats: print, video, photo and audio. Find stories within your organization that bloggers and reporters and editors alike can grab onto. Provide sources and quotes. Be visual.