Elite AgentOPINION

PR isn’t what it used to be

In today’s mediascape, you must have a strong story to tell. If you need to push your product, that can work on your social media platforms, EDMs, newsletters and blogs. But, when it comes to media coverage, you need to find those storytelling moments. A new penthouse or light and dark colour scheme isn’t news—no one cares.

In the last five years, digital and social media have fundamentally changed the way PR works.

Once upon a time, media outlets had the power to decide which ideas, products and services the public wanted to hear about.

Now, audiences hold the power. With search and social at their fingertips, consumers know what they’re looking for and have the tools to find it.

In the past, publications would run small news pieces as favours or simply out of enthusiasm. Today’s smaller journalist teams and easily measurable results make it much harder to justify these sorts of articles. Resources are now focused on stories that will travel and attract clicks.

In today’s PR environment, it’s essential to recognise why the challenges of generating media interest have changed:

  • The pool of journalists and publications is shrinking.
  • Journalists are more time-pressured—this increasingly means media relations is a game of luck. Complex stories that require time to explain are often overlooked.
  • Household names that are big advertisers can trump businesses with a great story to tell.
  • Trade journals and niche publications increasingly require ad spend before running a story.
  • It’s a fact that people will read your story for 15 seconds or less—most skim, rarely reading a full article.

But it’s not all bad news—digital and social media have also opened up a whole new way of working with media. It’s vital to understand how to harness this change to achieve success:

  • Brands with a strong story to tell, thrive. They push stories, not products, and put the reader’s interests first.
  • Visuals are powerful. They’ve become the new media release.
  • Immersive event experiences can bring brands and products to life, encouraging sharing on social media.
  • Digital influencers are a whole new set of ‘media’ to target.
  • Social media gives brands a way to target customers directly.

The property industry (and many others) shifts to “tell mode” often, pushing a product instead of a story the audience wants to read.

But, in the age of measurable clicks, media can see what stories resonate with readers in real-time.

To capture interest, it’s important to not only tell the audience about your company or product, but also show your expertise by turning your best features into useful tips or advice.

With any trend article, expect a journalist may source other examples to support the story and will mention other brands in the article. It’s important to remember that PR isn’t advertising. It needs to tell a story that’s useful to the reader. Simply pushing your own product isn’t enough in today’s media landscape.

A quick look at any online media portal will confirm story topics now primarily feature tips, industry trends and expert advice, not strong sales pushes.

Storytelling is the key to PR and media success. If you need to push your product, the best place to do it is through your own social media platforms, EDMs, brochures, blogs, and sponsored content. But, even on these platforms, you’ll generate more engagement from purchasers and potential targets by adding value and telling a strong story.

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Trish Varker-Miles

Trish Varker-Miles is the Director of The Trish Nicol Agency specialising in Property and Lifestyle PR, Influencer Marketing, Events and Content Creation.