It is no surprise that our dependence on digital media has revolutionized the way we connect with people. And, though many public relations fundamentals will always remain, many things have changed when it comes to interactions with media.
Reporters’ jobs have changed dramatically and as a PR professional, the way we service that industry should change as well.
News develops in real time
The news cycle is now 24 hours a day and reporters must be ready to produce a quick blurb, at the least, on the news event within minutes. Television and the web are even too slow in the Twitterverse, however. An outlet must be prepared to cover the news on Twitter, while enticing their audience to seek out the longer-form story on their original platform for more details.
With this in mind, compiling the facts quickly are of the essence and you might be the first person they call. Competition between outlets is more intense than ever so if you aren’t answering the call, they will work to find someone else – most likely someone you do not want them speaking with.
Social media makes everyone a reporter
Because everyone now has access to the public through their social media platforms, anyone can become a reporter. Not only does that mean the message can’t be controlled, but every rumor must be investigated. There will most likely be a lot of outlandish inquiries, but there will also be some that are true and may catch you off guard. Be consistent in your response. If you deny every false report, but state something to the effect of “we don’t respond to rumors,” to another report, the media and the public will assume the rumor is true.
I can guarantee that there is always someone from the media on the lookout for the next story, so you need to be in touch with what is happening with your organization. Getting blindsided gives you a huge disadvantage in putting together a response. Waiting too long allows others to make their own conclusions as to what happened, while rushing to put out a statement can be detrimental if you do not think through all scenarios.
This is where trust comes into play. If you have established a trust with the media you regularly work with, there is a chance that they will give you a heads up and a chance to respond before reporting. It is in their best interest as well to be able to provide an instant response and it is smart to take advantage of that opportunity when afforded.Although this world of instant reporting changes things drastically and causes challenges, it can also work to your benefit with strategy and planning. You can’t prepare for everything, but you can certainly set up policies and procedures to help set you up for success.
Although this world of instant reporting changes things drastically and causes challenges, it can also work to your benefit with strategy and planning. You can’t prepare for everything, but you can certainly set up policies and procedures to help set you up for success.