COVID has certainly played havoc with the media landscape.
Magazine titles have been shut down, local radio and TV programs are now networked from other locations and newspapers have been shut down or moved their content online (often with a paywall).
It’s devastating on so many levels, the job losses, the loss of quality content and from a PR perspective the breadth of opportunities we could once offer our clients.
Which is why NOW more than ever, the relationships many PRs have formed with media contacts is really worth its weight in gold.
Public relations has often been positioned as the best way to secure “free exposure”, but as we all know, nothing in this life is FREE.
It’s earned. So what is earned media – from a PR perspective?
It’s networking with those media contacts, time spent with these professionals, finding out what content they want, what’s going to resonate with their readers /viewers /listeners. It’s constantly monitoring a multitude of media outlets to stay on top of trends for clients – potential and existing.
Earned media is staying in touch with those media contacts when we don’t have something relevant to say, but strengthening the relationship.
It’s equally important to stay in touch with those who have been made redundant to check on their wellbeing and to see what exciting possibilities they are pursuing and explore collaborative opportunities.
Earned media doesn’t happen overnight. It’s based on relationships and skillsets, both of which take time to develop.
However, we (the PR industry) have now been offered a brilliant chance to (yes, I’m going to use *that* word…) PIVOT from the perception of “free exposure”.
It’s an opportunity to almost “peacock” and show our multitude of colours and talents and really wow our customers.
It is the PR industry’s chance to put the value back into “earned media”.