Public relations is no longer simply sending out a press release, hosting a media conference, and giving yourself a pat on the back for a job well done. With the advent of social media, technology, and changes in the media landscape, PR had to evolve over time to stay relevant in our ever-changing, fast paced world.
So what has changed and how should PR professionals navigate this new playing field?
Evolving media landscape
Media organisations have been forced to reinvent themselves in order to keep up with the changing landscape. With the rise of online media, social media, and mobile journalism, media organisations are beginning to invest more in digital media. Over the years, media organisations in Malaysia evolved and underwent several rounds of restructuring and retrenchment.
Newsrooms are smaller, with a strong online presence to keep up with our fast-paced world. The rapid changes have made the media industry a highly competitive one, and those who do not adapt will often find themselves being left behind, with some publications being forced to close down. For example, Malaysia’s oldest tabloid newspaper The Malay Mail announced they were ceasing their print publication and going fully digital in 2018; notable marketing trade publication Mumbrella Asia exited the market after struggling with profitability at the end of last year, and more recently, magazine publisher BluInc Media Sdn Bhd ceased operations due to challenges arising from the digital disruption.
The shrinking media pool means newsrooms must be extra selective when it comes to shortlisting media pitches – not just because they have to identify a highly curated content fit for readers, but also due to manpower and resource limitations.
That is why PR professionals must know how to pitch stories that add value to media publications and their readers. It is about going beyond the standard product press release by using data to make the story more relevant, supplementing your release with infographics, photos, videos or animations, or even by introducing thought leadership analysis.
Combating fake news
The wide reach of unmoderated channels like social media and instant messaging apps has brought on the rise of fake news – articles, videos or posts that masquerade as “news” but are not substantiated or published by real news sources.
The good news is that consumers are becoming increasingly aware of how fake news looks and how it spreads, as well as the consequences of spreading misinformation. To assist with media literacy and to debunk fake news, The Star has a dedicated section aimed at busting rumours and viral news.
Combating fake news is not a fight for the media alone. It is also the responsibility of PR practitioners to provide journalists with accurate and timely information from brands. It is key to position company executives as thought leaders who are reliable sources of truth. The onus also lies on PR professionals to counter misinformation proactively and to take a stand against the misrepresentation of facts.
Having trouble with media coverage and communicating accurate information? Use the right combination of PR and thought leadership to propel your brand forward. Talk to us, we are here to help — firstname.lastname@example.org