by Michael O'Neill
October 9th, 2017

In the first of a three-part series on Media Relations, Weber Shandwick Asia Pacific’s Head of Editorial Content Michael O’Neill outlines the essential trends to address and understand in building professional media relationships.

Building a productive relationship with the media begins with developing an understanding of publishers and journalists and the environment they are working in. Being sympathetic to the needs and challenges of the media in your respective markets will go a long way to building healthy media relations.

In developing strategies, there are four Asia Pacific media trends to consider.

1.     Journalists are time-challenged

Digital consumption has revolutionised the newsroom. Gone are the days of journalists working toward the morning edition, replaced instead by 24-hour news cycles and publishing across multiple channels.

Journalists have less time to write more stories and we need to be careful not to add to the pressure that many in the media are under. This means clear and straightforward communications, both online and offline, including fast access to information, data and spokespeople. Be helpful – not a hindrance.

2.     Media is socialised

Journalists and media companies are active on social channels and, often, for the very same reasons you are: to source and and share interesting content, including their own. Social gives PR a great opportunity to enhance media relations and engage directly with journalists.

Know who your target media is and who the key reporters are. Follow them on social channels – both your own and those you manage. And don’t forget to interact: share, like and comment. This is an easy way to build or strengthen relationships.

3.     Multimedia is important

A 2014 report from PR Newsire uncovered an interesting piece of data: press releases that include visual assets receive 1.4 times more views than copy-only releases. Releases that include video assets receive 2.4 times more views.

This can be explained on a basic level: pictures and video grab attention better than copy alone. But, it can also be attributed to the media’s evolution into multimedia publishers. With more pressure to produce quality video, slide shows and bite-size graphics, ready-made content packages – digital press kits if you like – can go a long way.

4.     The press release is still alive

We’ve all heard about death of the press release. But guess what? Not only is it still alive, it is just as relevant as ever, at least in Asia Pacific. According to a 2016 PR Newswire APAC Journalist Survey, the humble press release was the number-one most trusted source for journalists, just ahead of corporate spokespeople.

Never underestimate the ongoing value of a compelling and well-crafted press release. At the very least, it can act as a foot in the door and help get you noticed. And don’t forget that, like any form of communication, a press release needs to be practical, informative and a little bit creative.

In the next part of the series, we explore the best approaches for bringing those qualities to your media relationships.

Need to craft an effective press release for your pitch? See Media Relations 101 – Part 2For insights into how best to pitch your story to a journalist, see Media Relations 101 – Part 3.

Michael O’Neill is Senior Vice President, Head of Editorial Content at Weber Shandwick Asia Pacific

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