Like any digital discipline, the world of digital PR is constantly evolving which means we have to be smarter with our communications to drive valuable coverage and links.

This year, the industry focus is on building genuine and innovative PR content, whilst also having a greater understanding of your audience and industry.

Journalists, influencers and customers want the brands they interact with to provide multimedia rich content. This presents a huge opportunity for PR professionals to tell newsworthy stories in a variety of formats.

Data, images and interactivity are the new written press releases

The days of writing and successfully distributing text heavy press releases are slowly waning. We are entering a new era of visual and interactive press releases that allow the reader to navigate from one part of the story to the next, including minimal text.

Although press releases are still important and journalists will still expect them, it’s important to reinvent the way we produce them. The PR industry will have to adapt to these changes so that their stories stand out in a very noisy journalist’s inbox.

Including multimedia such as graphs, images and infographics in press releases is quickly becoming standard practice within the industry and recent findings show that the most viewed press releases by journalists included multimedia.

The same research also revealed that press releases including images received an average of 1.4x more views than text-only releases. Video releases average 2.8x more views than text-only and double the performance of releases including images.

The power of video

Video content is already a major force and, as media consumption continues to change rapidly, the rise in usage of multimedia and video is set to continue growing, according to a study by Cision.

On Facebook, videos see 8 billion average daily views and 100 million hours of video are watched every day. By 2021, it is predicted that 80% of global internet consumption will be video content and that growth will be driven be a boom in live streaming, courtesy of services such as Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and Twitter.

To cater to these rapid changes in media consumption preferences, both journalists and PR professionals will have to produce more engaging and entertaining content.

By providing video content to journalists, PR professionals will increase their earned media opportunities and provide more engaging and powerful stories - an opportunity we can’t afford not to capitalise on!

Social media

As we mentioned above, video is shared more often than any other type of content and Instagram videos see double the engagement compared to photos.

This means that the content produced by the PR industry must be unique, eye-catching, effective, snappy and shareable. In fact, some businesses are already seeing up to 53% more shares from videos.

The golden rule is to produce content where your audience spends the most time and is most likely to see your story, which is often on social channels. Social media is also the place where journalists share their stories and engage with their audience.

Many news organisations and journalists tweet frequently about the content they produce and consume. This puts us in a much stronger position to build relationships with journalists and the media through channels such as Twitter and Facebook.

Social media is also becoming an acceptable form of media outreach and will remain a prime source of communication. According to a report from Triggertrap, journalists make up nearly a quarter (24.6%) of Twitter’s verified users.

Influencers

In addition to contacting and building relationships with traditional media journalists, it’s also important to be aware that media outreach is expanding beyond these channels.

More and more consumers are turning to channels they trust such as bloggers who they choose to follow in their everyday lives and take product or service recommendations from.

This is a great way to establish connections with an established audience on your specialist subject matter so it’s important to branch out from more traditional channels.

Conclusion

The biggest challenge in PR is building relationships with journalists. Media relationships are built on trust, respect and anticipating both the needs of journalists and their audience. However, this requires a high level of awareness, knowledge, enthusiasm and proactivity on the part of PR professionals.

Taking the time to follow necessary steps, telling good stories with visual assets and offering smart and helpful information will result in much stronger relationships.

Ultimately, stronger relationships lead to driving the desired results for your brand, which often in the work we do for our clients, is valuable links. Working with a variety of clients in different sectors in the past 14 years means that our team have established strong relationships with key publications in most sectors.

We tailor our communications to ensure that they have a reason to link back to our clients, we’re not just asking and hoping that they’ll be kind enough to do so! Take a look at how we did this for a campaign for our client Oxford Home Schooling, driving 21 high authority links and 2,000 extra visits to their site.

Creating and establishing strong connections can lead to you becoming the go-to person in your industry of expertise, meaning you’ll secure coverage time and time again.