Every time a hot, new social networking platform or media monitoring/distribution service emerges, there’s a mad dash by communicators and media alike to adopt and master it. The dark side of this, of course, is that it creates questions as to how to best allocate time and resources, and how to set budgets for media relations efforts.
Richard Laermer, CEO of RLM Public Relations and a speaker at PR News’ Nov. 30 Media Relations Conference in Washington, D.C., wrote the book Trendspotting for the Next Decade, and is the blogger behind the trend-a-day site, Laermer.com. In the following Q&A, Laermer discusses media relations strategies and offers a preview of his presentation at the Media Relations Conference.
PR News: As the CEO of a full-service PR agency, how have you seen media monitoring change in the last few years?
Richard Laermer: Now you have to be in it as opposed to being passive about it. Monitoring is, in fact, the one area of our business that has changed the most. We now give our clients information, knowledge or intelligence on areas that they don't even realize they need to know about. The better informed they are, the more likely we will be able to come up with trends that will showcase who they are and why they are crucial to media.
PR News: What is the biggest challenge organizations face when trying to allot time/resources to media relations?
Laermer: Everyone has a different sense of what a deadline is. Most people want to rush to get it done, but it is always a matter of quality of quantity. Media need us and we need them, so there has to be a sense of trust and integrity—and respect—to every dealing.
PR News: What should every news release contain, ideally, moving into 2013?
Laermer: It should be shorter than an iPhone screen in length, it has to have contact information up front and a subject that says precisely what it is and why anyone should care. And, if possible, it should be personalized for everyone.
PR News: How should organizations choose which channel is best suited for their media relations efforts?
Laermer: By testing them. It's so urgent for everyone to remain unglued by GMOOT (get me one of those) and the idea that just because a brand you admire or compete with is "doing that kind of thing," you should, too.
If you really know your constituency or demographic you'll see what they are looking at or studying or holding onto, and that will be the best venue for you.
PR News: What’s one concept/idea you want to share with Media Relations Conference attendees?
Laermer: That everyone has to work together because we are all producers of content now, not conduits. I think time is of the essence for everyone to become more informed and be "the whole person" when pitching, because in the end it's your material and not necessarily your boss' or your client's. And you have to be the one who is sold.
Follow Richard Laermer: @laermer
To learn more from communications pros like Richard Laermer, register to attend PR News’ Nov. 30 Media Relations Conference in Washington, D.C.