What would happen to the public relations industry if all network news disappeared? A report published by Convergence Consulting Group shows that 190,000 Canadians cut ties with their TV subscriptions in 2015, an 80 per cent increase from the previous year. This trend, while alarming, doesn’t mean jobs or opportunities for coverage will disappear. According to Mark LaVigne, owner of Hunter-LaVigne Communications, as long as your pitches are newsworthy your content will find a home.
“The trend is the Uberization of everything and news media will be the same” said LaVigne referring to how Uber’s on-demand service model can be applied to almost anything. “Soon the industry will move toward a direct to subscriber services model more like Radio XM, Netflix and Apple’s offerings.”
Newspapers like The Winnipeg Free Press are already testing this model and both Bell and Rogers have direct to consumer entertainment offerings with Shomi and CraveTV. To continue to get coverage before that shift takes full effect, your pitches need to be hyper-relevant. Google has even built a product that provides TV listings of live TV, the future is now.
It is newsworthy or nothing.
LaVigne’s insights are featured in a 2015 text book on the public relations industry in Canada, Fundamentals of Public Relations and Marketing Communications in Canada. In his chapter on media relations, LaVigne shared seven questions to ask yourself to ensure your pitch is relevant and impactful.
What impact will the story have on society or one of its facets? Even if it doesn’t affect all of society a targeted niche can be of great interest.
Is it locally important or nationally important? Great pitches can be both, providing context on a national, regional and municipal issues.
Is it happening now? Real-time brand news can be pitched in advance of an event and or on the day of driving a sense of urgency to the message.
Does it speak for itself? Depending on the voice and the company, a headline any message can be newsworthy. Think about what those stories are for your brand.
How many sides are there to the issue? How contentious is it? A strong position in the middle of a conflict can insert a brand into a news cycle.
Is this something new, or is this a regurgitation of something from the past? There is nothing wrong in adding a new thread in an existing story but beware rehashing old news or engaging on an already accepted norm.
7. Human interests:
How much of the focus is on people? If your brand is discussing population groups ensure they are represented in your pitches – give the human element a voice.
The media won’t disappear but it might shift dramatically. Build relationships with content creators of all kinds and pitch the most relevant content possible.