What I Learned: Three Takeaways from Media Day 2018

Media Day 2018 is in the books. Once again, PRSA welcomed members of the local media and PR pros to share some best practices around media and influencer relations. Here are three takeaways:

Welcome to the Brave New (Media) World

Unless you’ve been in a cave the past 10 years, it’s no great surprise to learn that the media landscape has changed. Many of the “old timers” in PRSA can remember media days that were panel after panel of traditional print, broadcast and trade journalists telling us how they prefer to be pitched. One only needs to glance at this year’s program to see how times have changed – this year we welcomed influencers and spent a good portion of the day learning about new outlets and news ways of breaking through the clutter.

Keynote speaker Paul Fox framed PR’s role, talking about the threat of fake news and PR’s ability to help propel truth. 

Ever hear of Cheddar? No, not the stuff you slap between buns on a burger. As speaker Kevin Dugan shared with us, Cheddar represents an emerging category of “post cable” news outlets, providing on-demand content to a generation of viewers who want information on their terms. Knowing these outlets — and how to engage them — is critical for savvy PR pros.

Our influencer panelists helped show how the lines have blurred, making what used to be unpaid pitches to garner coverage look more like an advertising-PR mashup.

Social content is still king

Ever think of the scope of what’s put out on social media each day? Breakout Session speaker Matthew Dooley shared the following stats:

·       4.3 billion pieces of social content are produced each day.

·       You’ll receive, on average, 1500 pieces of content in your individual news feed.

·       There are 60 million Facebook pages for brands, yet only 4 million (6.5 %) advertise on the platform. 

The takeaway? Having good content is important, but it needs to be backed with dollars to be seen.

The basics still matter

Despite the proliferation of new outlets and ways of sharing news, traditional PR skills still matter. These include:

·       Building relationships. All our media/influencer panelists stressed

·       Give the list some love. It’s hard to build those productive relationships when PR practitioners continue to blanket-pitch reporters without taking the time to understand what they cover.

·       Crisis communication panelists Chris Kemper and Courtney O’Banion shared keys to navigating a crisis, emphasizing the importance of making sure you’re prepared with a robust plan and media training your spokespeople.

·       Jennifer Tan and Bo McMillan showed how creative collaboration helped their organizations earn more coverage.

If you attended media day, offer your takeaways online or in the comments section!

Check out the gallery below for photos from the event. Photos courtesy of Paula Norton and Tom Uhlman Mark Bowen Media