December 28, 2017
Around the holidays, I always get questions from my family as to what it is I do all day. “You’re a writer for the Wall Street Journal?” No. “Oh the Wall Street Journal is writing about you?” Getting there…but not quite. “Ok, you’re not in the Journal, but wasn’t that company you represent featured in the front-page article?” Bingo. Explaining public relations to those outside of our industry tends to take a few steps, but the dots eventually connect between PR and the importance of how PR professionals help the news media.
In a recent study by the Public Relations Global Network (note, that CooperKatz is the NYC agency in the network), this becomes increasingly clear: 86.7 percent of reporters use past media coverage of a CEO as a top consideration when determining their credibility. Front-facing CEOs, along with their forward-thinking companies, drive the future of business, and PR becomes a powerful visibility aide for advancing their credibility.
The same survey cited that 63.7 percent of reporters use info supplied by a PR agency. This is where my work comes in. Behind-the-scenes, PR professionals are zeroing in on the right outlets, right reporters and right timing for the news of our clients. We build relationships with journalists across industries and publications to fully immerse ourselves in their coverage. You wouldn’t send exclusive news from your healthcare client to the retirement reporter at Money magazine – or would you? Seems simple enough, but what if it was regarding drug pricing for a medication taken by 80 percent of Baby Boomers? Mastering the in’s and out’s of knowing how to find the right reporters and why that’s important for providing the right info for reporters is what we do. Further, it’s my job to champion my clients and insert them correctly and appropriately for the next breaking news story or in-depth investigation: News that shapes our daily lives.
The media landscape is changing in such an interesting way, and as a PR professional, I’m also excited to keep ahead on the next trends. While print isn’t dead (and don’t worry, I’d take the bet that they’ll stick around), outlets are evolving into more channels of content – be it, exclusive online-only articles or subscription-based access. The PRGN survey found that only 57.3 percent of reporters are being asked to provide print content [from their respective media outlets]. This is a 10.3 percentage point decrease compared to 67.6 percent two years ago. This statistic not only shows how we, as consumers, are changing how we read our news (tablets and mobile vs. the print edition), but also shows that news publications want to keep adding value to these most read news channels.
As a member of the communications industry, I’m keeping the pulse on how this evolution affects the news. And while I may have a few repetitive conversations around the holiday table as to what my career is, my friends and family know why PR is important. This survey helped me realize just how critical our trusted news sources are, and I continue to appreciate how impactful my role is in the bigger picture of making headlines for my clients.
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