Economy's effect on media relations, celebrities, more

How are PR pros affected by the widespread staffing cutbacks at various media outlets?

Media relations
How are PR pros affected by the widespread staffing cutbacks at various media outlets? 

Some 67% of broadcast journalists cite economic pressures as their greatest concern, according to the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism.

“Despite cutbacks, producers and reporters have to provide the same level and quality of programming,” says Lynn Harris Medcalf, EVP at News Generation.

Cutbacks can put more pressure on reporters and producers, but media relations pros can help. “By pitching relevant and compelling topics, and providing resources to reporters that they don't have to dig up themselves, media relations professionals can solidify existing relationships and open new doors,” she adds.

This is a prime opportunity to provide needed resources to operations that are getting tighter every day, Medcalf suggests. But remember, compelling content is the key to pitching success – lean times or not.

Celebrities
Are there any tips to help companies ensure they use celebrities effectively in campaigns?

Companies need to take advantage of the individual assets celebrity spokespeople bring to campaigns.

“Some spokespeople have a large social networking or viral foothold, while others are more bookable with national media,” says David Schwab, MD of First Call, Octagon's celebrity acquisition and activation division.

Look for a star who will have increased marketplace awareness during your campaign launch. This will help increase media interviews and online interest. “And add an appendix to your contract which lists all the media outlets you are pitching,” he adds. “This will save you a headache down the road from a celebrity's publicist.”

Schwab also advises that you think through all the ways you could use the “hired talent” in advance of signing them. You don't want to battle about usage in the middle of your term.

Online news
How can PR pros best use the online news space?

A large portion of the public uses the Web as its main source for news and information. As more people visit local media Web sites, it becomes clear that they provide a distinct advantage for delivering PR campaign results, says Chris Cavello, VP of Internet and specialized media at WestGlen Communications.

“Because they are receptive to video content streaming, editorial coverage, awareness banners, and text links, audiences can select the content they are most interested in, rather than being force-fed campaign messages,” he explains. “This provides focused audience engagement with the opportunity for the viewer to click to the campaign Web site for further action.”

With marketing budgets constrained due to the current economic outlook, Cavello points out that leveraging the opportunities available on media Web sites will be essential to PR campaign success.

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