InStyle going digital shows how PR must adapt to the new media environment

The recent news that InStyle is becoming a digital brand is one of many ways traditional media is adapting to the new age and the PR industry needs to keep up.

PRs need to be more media savvy than ever, argues Jonathan Kirkby
PRs need to be more media savvy than ever, argues Jonathan Kirkby
We all have those ‘old school’ clients that want nothing more than a double-page spread in a national newspaper or a celebrity ambassador name-dropping their brand in a glossy magazine interview. 

We spend so much time making it happen and it’s getting harder with so many titles closing or going online. 

Is it still worth the effort if fewer people are consuming ‘traditional media’ these days? 


There is a job to be done to educate clients and work with them to evaluate which coverage is making a difference.  

Clients always want to prove that PR is a worthwhile investment and the digital age is making us all a bit greedy. 

With new print publications, digital magazines, websites, bloggers and influencers popping up each day, we have a whole pick n mix of target media to choose from and it’s tempting to go to all and sundry to get that big fat coverage book at the end of a campaign. 

The key is to choose the right media that has influence, reach the target demographic and most importantly drive sales, awareness and engagement with the brand.  

There is now a need for PRs to be more media savvy than ever and understand what your clients want to say, what a journalist or influencer wants to write about and what their audience want to hear. 

It’s as much about having good relationships with press as it is about good ideas. 

It’s a jigsaw puzzle and sometimes there is a need to mix traditional PR coverage with paid-for media to reach the sweet spot for the target consumer. 

Just because it’s paid for doesn’t mean it’s not a viable PR idea. 

To be a good PR in 2016 you have to not only be a capable publicist, but a media buyer, digital strategist and a creative planner.

Lead times are ever-changing, embargoes are becoming irrelevant and the lines between seasons are increasingly blurring. 

‘Christmas in July’ now spans across July, August, September, October, November and December.

Media is becoming more instant and the PR industry needs to be prepared to adapt to whatever is coming next.

Content is key. 

Many publications are now vlogging and live-streaming their own content to huge audiences. 

The only way to maximise all the opportunities out there is to develop a menu of assets and tailor your approach. 

Sending out a press release with some high-resolution pictures still has a place, but the overall outreach strategy needs to be peppered with clever, engaging and relevant ideas that will grab the attention of the most influential and impactful media out there. 

The UK media industry isn’t dying a death and neither is PR, so long as we’re adapting, educating clients and constantly trying new ways of working to get meaningful, worthwhile results. 

Jonathan Kirkby is the founder of Instinct PR

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