Newspaper and magazine circulations continue to decline while social media and the power of key influencers on YouTube, Facebook Twitter, Periscope, Instagram and Snapchat grow as more people choose to get their news through these platforms.
Does this signify the beginning of the end for the traditional public relations offerings of media relations and media training? Not at all!
Despite the challenges traditional news media is experiencing, more people trust information they receive via these communication channels than they trust information received via social media.
The UK PR agency, Edelman’s Trust Barometer report, which is one of the largest studies into trust, stressed the continuing importance of retaining trust relationships in businesses, organisations and the media in 2016, and its latest version found just under a quarter of people trust social media.
Interestingly, last year's Colmar Brunton's Trust in Media survey (commissioned by Newsworks) found that 7 out of 8 New Zealanders trusted the news media [link to
Third party validations and other social media activities may be de rigueur, but they are not always the right tool for the job.
Effective, well prepared media relations remains a powerful – and credible – channel for getting your organisation's message across. What's more, the skills learned during media training courses can be put to great use in all types of communication, including presentations, speeches and social media PR.
Whether you are considering communicating via news media, social media or any other communication channel, the same rules of good PR practice apply. For example:
- Consider your target audience/s and the relevance of the communication channel/s to them.
- Remember the fundamentals of relationship building; honesty, trust and transparency in communications.
- Using social media stars can be great for driving sales and traffic, but they are not as effective in building customer confidence or loyalty – so use them carefully. Take a look at our blog on this subject for further insights.
- Traditional media consider themselves ‘heritage brands.’ They have been around a long time and are likely to be more recognisable and trusted, particularly by older generations.
- News media articles often also appear on those outlets' websites and are shared through those news organisations’ own social media channels – it’s an easy win.
No matter which communication channel you choose to use, remember that they should be used as the means to an end, rather than the end in itself.