If I had a pound for every article I’ve read about the death of media relations, I’d probably be able to go for a few beers and maybe even grab a curry afterwards (admittedly, that doesn't sound all too expansive but I am in London after all).
Once I'd polished off my last local pale ale, I'd likely reflect that as an industry, we’re all too keen to write off traditional 'earned' media coverage as the past. Yet most will quietly admit that the vast majority of briefs agencies see coming through the door are still seeking ambitious agencies to deliver - you got it - earned media coverage. Why? A number of reasons of course but one I firmly believe is that – despite journalist and publication numbers falling – people still rely on traditional press outlets like newspapers (likely more in their digital forms) and broadcast for their intake of news and insights.
Am I nay-saying on integrated comms? Of course not. In fact, quite the opposite. As an industry we need to think of how we influence our target audiences through a variety of channels - from paid to earned, shared and owned (the PESO model for those not acquainted).
This ensures our messages reach as many possible influencers and decision-makers as possible. Not everyone can afford to read a newspaper or watch BBC Breakfast every morning, the same as not all of us will find the time to browse LinkedIn on our lunch-breaks.
So the more channels our campaigns can generate traction on, the more likely they’ll be to achieve their desired outcomes. Will this spell the end for media relations? Robert Bownes, I say not yet.
For decades, the art of pitching stories to journalists to secure positive media coverage has been at the core of what most PR agencies do and although it may be 'fake news' to say this 'media relations' avenue is dead, it's certainly dying quickly.