With news of The Village Voice and other large publications folding, the press’ future seems even more uncertain. The recent misfortunes are not just limited to print, this past year alone several large publications have drastically cut staff or been bought out. As journalists, politicians and everyone in between ponder the future of the press there is one thing no one seems to be considering: what does this mean for the future of public relations?
At its core public relations is the art of storytelling. The gatekeepers of these stories have always been members of the press. From pitching to media to list building, the relationship between publicists and journalists has always been a close one. Although headlines are easy to pull in the age of social media, public relations has survived for a reason: publicists still offer compelling stories and top-tier sources. As we consider the ever-changing landscape of journalism and its relationship to public relations, here are some things to keep in mind:
The Internet is Forever
As long as the Internet exists, there will always be headlines, which means that journalism will never truly die. However, the way public relations professionals nurture those relationships and distribute their stories HAS changed. With staff cuts and quick deadlines journalists and editors are no longer interested in Bcc’d pitches and press releases – they want personalized emails and truly interesting stories. Sometimes offering journalists stories by using their name in the greeting or even asking how their week is can make a difference.
Social is THE source
Various outlets and journalists now post when they need sources on Twitter and Instagram. This can help cut through the noise and get right to the heart of their story. Additionally, influencers are now key targets. The age of pitching solely to traditional media is over. At various times in my career I have pitched book releases, grand openings, product launches, and more to notable Influencers. This has helped catch the eye of journalists looking for the next big thing.
Bridging the Gap
It’s time to end the journalist/publicist feud. I’ve heard various journalists complain about publicists and various publicists complain about journalists. The fact of the matter is that both industries need each other. Even though the public relations industry has been growing by nine percent every year, it won’t be long until publicists far outnumber journalists. And then who will we pitch to?