The media and its approach to news has changed, it’s not enough to churn out a press release and hope it will be picked up by established media such as The Financial Times, Times, Telegraph and Guardian.
Nowadays, the media is constantly changing, the business school audiences are doing most of their reading online and while coverage in the FT, Economist or Forbes is still a vital target, people are also looking towards trade publications, such as Poets and Quants and BizEd Magazine to get more specific.
Trade publications are specific kind of media outlets that target people who work in a certain businesses or industries. They are much smaller and niche than the top tier publications but they often hit the right target audience.
These more specific publications could actually benefit the business schools more than getting into the top tier publications. If you get into a trade publication, say they have a readership of about 10,000, you know that all of those people will be interested in the topic your school is talking about.
Whereas, with outlets such as The Times, about 400,000 people read it, whilst this does mean that there is a higher readership, not everyone will be interested in the topic that is being mentioned, which could result in it reaching a smaller audience.
It depends on the topic that is being written about, some are perfect for top tier, others will suit a trade publication better, your PR professional will know which publications will be best for you.
Social media is one of the main reasons the media has changed. It has become a prominent part of the news agenda as it’s a way for journalists to not only find news but also to distribute it. News has become 24 hours and immediately available to anyone on the latest platforms.
For this reason, media outlets now have a range of different mediums and content options have increased and become more varied. They produce videos, audio, as well as your standard written pieces, as a way to reach a larger audience. While this is good for our businesses as it heightens the opportunities to get business school media coverage, it’s now more important than ever not to waste journalists time. Social media has accelerated the news agenda; therefore, they are always on the go.
Opportunities to get clients in the media have increased considerably, but that means we need to be even better prepared to exploit these media avenues, to know the capability and knowledge of professors and alumni, so that we can pitch to journalists even the most complex topics. Doing this could open up more doors which you might not expect.
An example of this is, BlueSky pitched a journalist at the FT about a piece of research which showed that in the Japanese city of Kyoto, century-old companies prosper because of their special relationship with the local community. It was a really interesting piece of research, that in places was complicated, that was taken by one of the PR professionals and made more appealing to the media and resulted in an article in the FT.
Many of the PR approaches that we use today, employ core principles which don’t necessarily change, such as cultivating and not over-stretching willing commentators; maintaining good contact with clients; harnessing good journalist contacts and utilising market sector opportunities.
To make it all work, you need to have a strong knowledge of your client but also a good relationship with them; you need to know their communications team; their knowledge capabilities; if they’re comfortable engaging with the media directly. You also need to know the news agenda, media and the publications and the journalists. Plus, a passion to get the message out there.
Even though the media is changing, the old-school PR principles will still get you results. Press releases still work, you just need to tailor them to specific publications (which isn’t always top tier). Social media is just another way for us to contact journalists or vice versa, yes, they do have time restraints, you’ve just got to make sure that you pitch them relevant content and don’t waste their time. As PR professionals we need to change and adapt with the times, just like journalists are doing, and use these new media outlets to our benefit, whilst still using our ‘old-fashioned’ PR principles.
It’s a lot to remember and requires special public relations qualities which is where BlueSky scores highly, with its in-depth knowledge and track record of success in business education.