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  • Writer's pictureMary Lilja

Why media relations doesn’t matter anymore – until it does

I have noticed a trend among companies of late to downplay public and media relations in favor of the more controllable and “fun” aspects of marketing. Things like content generation, videos, social media marketing, etc. Some are even setting up their own “news studios” to film stories.

After all, it isn’t fun to handle media inquiries from bona fide journalists, especially when the news isn’t good.

But guess what? We still have a working and independent media, as beleaguered and short-staffed as they might seem. And it behooves every entity – and for that matter, individual – to be aware that their actions are subject to media scrutiny every hour of every day.

I’ve worked with professional journalists for 37 years, and most of them want to get the story right. Yes, I’ve dealt with my share of stories that aren’t accurate, or contain some mistake – in fact, many of them do. But mistakes happen, especially if you’re churning out copy 24/7, and they pale in comparison to those made elsewhere in our media universe.

More and more, content is being created by social media users and bloggers who don’t have the same devotion to facts as a true working journalist. This creates more misinformation and situations that must be untangled by someone.

Enter the PR professional. Diligent, resourceful, trusted, reliable and – for better or worse – reachable. You want a PR person on your side – in good times and in bad. Someone who can help you be prepared, to strike a balance between being proactive in sharing your story and responding quickly in difficult moments. While the best PR people are good storytellers, they depend on facts and data to shape the story.

That’s why the media relations aspect of PR is not dead. I predict that those companies that swing too far to the marketing side will swing back to rely on PR – it’s just a matter of time.

And one diligent journalist in pursuit of a story. Better be ready for it.

At Lilja Communications, media relations is our passion. We can help you develop a thoughtful media strategy, navigate a crisis and even prepare you for your moment in the sun. We also enjoy the "fun" stuff, too! Explore all we have to offer.

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