Media Interviews Go Digital: Email is the New Phone Call
Every business wants to be interviewed by media in a traditional way - sit down, have a phone conversation or video meet - but recent changes in the media industry have made journalists, many who are freelance now, be more efficient through email.
This may not feel like a genuine interview, but it has its merits for both journalists and our clients.
How We Got Here
Via American Press Institute 2022
U.S. newsroom employment has fallen 26% since 2008 (Pew Research Center) . . . but did you know: The average journalist now covers 4 beats, and most work in more than one medium (Muck Rack) A new survey of more than 2,500 journalists has found that the average journalist now covers four beats, up from three in 2021. The vast majority of journalists primarily create online news content, and 74% also work in a secondary medium like newsletters or podcasts. More than three-quarters (77%) of journalists say Twitter is their most valuable social network, and 64% say they track their stories’ coverage on social media. More than half of journalists (58%) say they are optimistic about their profession; the beats with the most optimistic reporters are fashion/beauty and religion, and the most pessimistic are weather and crime. Less than one-third (32%) say they think that audience trust in their coverage has increased.
In the past couple of years, we've seen more requests by journalists to our clients to answer questions via email. This helps the journalist get accurate answers, ensures correct spellings, which reduce the need to request article corrections - rarely ever done - and turn around more stories faster.
It also allows clients to think through their responses so that they're meaningful and thoughtful for that story. While these stories are typically around trends, using a variety of experts to comment, the right answers often lead to more inclusions in the story and perception of our clients as experts.
Scratch Their Backs
Public relations has been always about "what the media can do for me". Instead, we need to change perceptions to be of service to our journalism colleagues, without whom we would not be able to provide the kind of media coverage clients want. We need to be flexible and understanding of their needs and not just ours.
Part of this process is to think about the relationship with media as an equal exchange. It's a two-way street.
Journalists looking for great stories and expert sources, and need eyeballs and engagement, which results in more story assignments and advertisers for their publication. This, simply put, is how they earn a living.
The more we can do to meet their needs, the more likely they are to return to us looking for more expert content or commentary for their stories. This is how we establish strong relationships with media. They can count on our clients to understand their needs and they see them as "great to work with". They'll scratch your back, you return the favor whether its later buying an advertising program or amplifying the story.
It can be as simple as sharing the story they wrote or podcast interview across all of your social media channels and including it in email campaign. This generates more positive perception of your company - expert, product, service - among your customers and drives the traffic journalists want, and need, to the story.
Things feel different because they are but it doesn't mean it's a bad thing. Just open up to the variety of ways that PR can be achieved for you and your business.