As difficult as the 24/7 clock is personally, the resulting preponderance of media outlets is actually freeing. Social media has added another layer of opportunity that disintermediates the traditional altogether.
Look at it this way, as hard as it is to keep up with everything, and as overwhelming as it can sometimes feel, the options for impact are virtually limitless. So you didn't make The New York Times or The Wall Street Journal? There are thousands of other ways – including social media – to achieve your goal; dozens of media outlets that you can work that are more fluid, accessible, and receptive. It's just a matter of nosing them out and having someone on your team capable of working them.
It's a fact: there are fewer traditional media outlets than ever and more PR people than ever (according to a report from a few years ago, the number of PR people will only increase through 2018). So it's up to us to get a handle on the alternatives: smaller, friendlier, cooler options, and focus on building momentum by leveraging platforms that you wouldn't have considered a few years ago.
At a recent Publicity Club of New York lunch, for example, we heard reporters from The New York Post, Mediapost, and The New York Times say they appreciate the corroboration of an early trade story. So take advantage of that; create your own momentum. Rationalize the thousands of outlets by creating a plan.
It feels so good when you finally know how you're going to tackle it. Instead of feeling at the mercy of the landscape, consider ways to tell your story that depend on no one. And, as much as I don't want to respond to 2 am emails – or feel I have to – I do like the ability to browse, write and refine at any hour of the day or night. One friend of mine actually takes it a step further and makes it a habit to reach out to press at 11 pm. They answer, and he generally finds them more relaxed and responsive. That certainly won't work for everyone, but it does illustrate the flexibility that the 24/7 model involves.
Following are five crowdsourced recommendations for dealing with the volume:
1) Have a plan. There's nothing like a plan of action to take the heat off and make you feel in control.
2) Incorporate tactics that stand alone, without media dependencies.
3) Look for smaller niche outlets with influence.
4) Use social media and trade to create a groundswell that traditional media cannot ignore.
5) Strengthen relationships with journalists at coveted outlets to streamline communications and get straight answers.
6) Use exclusives.
Ruth Sarfaty is managing director and head of the New York office of Sparkpr.