If 2020 taught media relations professionals a lesson, it’s about the importance of relationships.
Meeting media contacts in person, securing press tours and catching up over coffee have taken a backseat amid the COVID-19 pandemic. For savvy practitioners, though, continuing to build relationships with the media endured, and in many cases, thrived.
It’s not a surprise that 2020 wreaked havoc on media. With declines in advertising and subscription revenue occurring prior to the coronavirus’ economic debacle, it was inevitable that local and national publishers would experience layoffs in 2020. In addition to furloughs and layoffs for journalists, entire departments were killed and, in some cases, publications closed. In other instances, some content creators–whether by necessity or choice–launched newsletters on platforms such as Substack in an attempt to monetize their brands.
Despite this, relationships remained more important than anything else in media relations, said Nati Katz, Honeywell’s senior director of external communications, during the PRNEWS Media Relations Virtual Event last month.
To that end, it’s best to get to know reporters beyond their beat, said Lauren Young, an editor of digital special projects at Reuters. Such relationships can yield dividends “down the line,” Young added, noting that she has contacts at many organizations she can turn to for sources or introductions.
Clearly, with so much movement in the industry, sending regular check-in emails is a best practice. Be prepared, though, for bounce-backs.
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