Media relations is not social. Or is it?

Is media relations social?

A big piece of modern public relations is maintaining relationships with members of the media. Journalists, broadcasters, producers, editors, etc.

These relationships are the inside track that allows a PR firm to get a story to the front of the line for consideration. As opposed to waiting or hoping that word of mouth will carry a company or celebrity’s news through the labrinth of today’s news avalanche.

And the reverse is true. These relationships allow media outlets a trusted bullpen of sources of different topics. If they need experts or relevant comment on different sources, part of the playbook is to reach out to public relations professional for these sources.

Ok, enough of the preface. At this point I have basically described a professional networking custom that exist in many industries. In PR and media and journalism though, the result is much more public facing.

As PR transitions to include blogger outreach and beyond bloggers, new media outreach (Youtube stars, Twitter celebrities, etc), the rules are remarkably similar in many ways.

  1. Find relevant media professionals that can help your client
  2. Find relevant media professionals that you can help (Bonus if 1 & 2 are the same)
  3. Build a mutually beneficial relationship
  4. Nurture relationship

That word relationship is of course what we talk about a lot in social media. It is what we are talking about (or the lack of) when we complain about spam, or bad PR pitches, or brands that do not talk to us online.

In media relations, the behind the scenes social relationships are essential. Relationships are of course at the heart of most of the things we do in life. Giving value. Getting value. Nurturing the delicate tension between the two.

Media relations and new media relations can differ in scale I suppose. Today, some of the bloggers and Twitter users and forum admins we reach out to as marketers have communities that are quite small.

Of course, sometimes these are more relevant or niche than any print or broadcast audience traditional media relations could have ever hoped for. And sometimes, these communities are not so small.

The real difference is only eco-stystem. Learning the ins and outs of how to approach journalists and producers and editors is the learning curve. The skill set, the ability to build useful relationships, is the same. From public relations to social media, those that succeed for their clients in outreach are those that do well at building relationships.

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