Media Relations on a Global Scale: Know the Territory

The key components to any global public relations campaign, whether social media, traditional media or analyst/influencer relations, must be executed uniquely depending on geographic location and business culture. Despite the trend to a more global media, PR professionals must still identify the unique attributes of doing business in each individual territory in order to develop the compelling stories required to secure exposure. PR pros must still know who the key influencers are for their client and its business and devise intelligent and cost effective strategies to influence the industry players that matter most to them. 

However, with the world of media changing so rapidly, organizations now increasingly must understand how different the PR process can be as a result. With the transformation in media as we knew it taking place at differing speeds around the world, an organization or overseas PR agency client may not appreciate the state of play in a local market and therefore not understand the reasoning behind the communications strategy and tactics being suggested.

Further, as online and social media congregate around specialist topics and themes and physical, geographically focused media continue to erode, the trend is toward media that cover a topic on a global basis and reach a more global audience. This means that on occasion some of the highly sought-after tier-one national media may not be as influential for a client after all. The challenge here lies in the shifting attitudes, so that the high-profile and offline media titles are no longer seen as the only ones that really matter.

There is no doubt that these days, any media relations strategy worth its salt must include a healthy mix of traditional and social media tactics. Social media is an increasingly prevalent business tool and is already an effective and efficient way of delivering news and information to highly targeted audiences. The key benefit of social media for communications professionals is that you can communicate directly to your client’s key audiences, as well as to those third parties that might influence them through more media-oriented channels.

Globally Speaking: Asia

While Asian countries are well ahead of the social media curve in terms of adoption and planned adoption, there are some challenges that arise from a cultural point of view. Social media and online coverage is still not as highly regarded as physical newspaper coverage in well-known national titles. So while there are blogs and online titles that perfectly strike the target audience, a lack of business press coverage or national coverage can significantly impact the perceived success of a campaign.

Further, Asian cultures favor face-to face-meetings, because relationships and trust are key elements to society and therefore to any successful business relationship. From a cultural point of view, social media is seen as a potentially lazy and easy means to maintain relationships with a target audience rather than seen as communicating effectively and efficiently with that audience on their terms.

Globally Speaking: Europe

European countries, on the other hand, tend to be a bit behind the social media curve, still relying heavily on industry trade publications for news. This is largely to do with the geography of Europe—lots of relatively small countries with significant variation in economic output, located very close to one another. Unlike the U.S., this allows more publications to maintain physical versions of trade publications, and the influence of national press is higher because there are generally more truly national newspapers and business publications in competition with one another.

Let’s take Germany for example. From a traditional media standpoint, reporters in Germany prefer to meet with company spokespeople face to face. They will interact using social media but when offered an interview, the preference is face to face rather than telephone based, which is the norm in the U.S. 

PR: Globally Speaking

As global public relations professionals, we must have a thorough understanding of international media landscapes and social preferences to successfully manage clients’ exposure with key media. It is also equally important to fully understand the role each plays in touching our clients’ business, determining where each individual client is in their own social media journey. European and Asian countries have differing opinions on media usage, which we must understand fully. By taking these key elements into consideration when devising a PR plan, you can ensure campaign success.

Martin Jones is the managing partner of March Communications, a boutique tech PR firm located in Boston. He can be reached at