Risi: Five ways to navigate today's changing media landscape to maximize business impact

Transformation defines today's media environment, says Ogilvy's Jennifer Risi.

Jennifer Risi
Jennifer Risi

Transformation defines today’s media environment. Stories are shared, tweeted, liked, and reposted thousands, sometimes millions of times in the course of a single day. Journalists break stories every second in this 24/7 news cycle, and anyone with a following or a camera is considered a journalist.

As traditional newsrooms continue to shrink, tensions are rising between editorial and business, and new media powerhouses likes BuzzFeed and Upworthy are challenging the old guard. Opportunities are being created each and every day for the savviest brands to build their business.

There is significant opportunity in this new reality. How can PR professionals most effectively navigate this changing environment? A critical eye for media relations is more important than ever when it comes to building the brands and businesses of our clients. While headlines for years have proclaimed the end of print journalism in the digital era, it is imperative to think both more strategically and creatively about the media landscape and the unique intersection of print and digital. Successful agencies will place more emphasis on creating a sphere of influence, and focusing on the most influential reporters regardless of their medium to shape reputation today. 

PR professionals have a greater opportunity than ever before to build the business of our clients. By creating integrated campaigns that focus on a strategic mix of earned media, social media, and content, we have an opportunity to make our clients industry leaders, drive consumer awareness, and increase market share.

Here are five critical steps:

Step one: Define the story
We are in a unique position as PR professionals to share valuable insights with our clients about the current global news agenda. Insights inform the narrative, and it will be important to serve as the bridge between our clients and the media – creating relevant, timely stories.

Step two: Leverage expertise
It should not be overlooked that it is the responsibility of PR professionals to possess an unrivaled knowledge around the most influential outlets and reporters, across print, online, and broadcast. This knowledge is paramount in our ability to create, phase, and sequence media campaigns. After all, a generic approach will not be as successful in defining reputation as one that is customized and targeted – focused on the right reporter at the right outlet at the right time.

Step three: Create a playbook
In this step, we employ a surgical media approach – going beyond the beat reporters – to make our clients leaders of business. To do this, we create a custom activity playbook focused on a strategic mix of earned media, social media, and content creation to maximize impact for our clients.

Step four: Build and amplify
In line with creating maximum impact, it is increasingly important in today’s digital era to take full advantage of earned media coverage. A coverage email is not enough, as creative PR professionals think about providing clients with recommendations that leverage social media and content across an increasingly complex set of channels, platforms, and devices.

Step five: Measure success
The days of buzz-building are over. Today, strategic media campaigns focus on sustainable business growth and new opportunities. Through the creation of actionable and measurable PR programs, we can examine effectiveness and share of voice. These success metrics are pivotal in driving business outcomes, the key reason why our clients hire us.

Jennifer Risi is MD for Ogilvy Media Influence and head of media relations for North America for Ogilvy Public Relations.

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