Several shifts have been happening in the field of public relations in the last decade, which are so apparent now that there is no excuse not to know or accept what is being done differently.
The first is with the decrease in content length. Gone are the days of 5-10 page news releases. Avoid the release format altogether whenever possible, and if you must do a news release, ensure it is no longer than one page. Post it online and send the link to the release instead, or include it at the end of a short e-mail pitch.
Newsprint articles are shorter, and reporters are constantly working on multiple stories. Readers do not have time to sit down and read 2000 words, and must learn the news in fast, concise information bites. Long-format broadcast shows are dwindling. Even online news sites – which do not have space limitations – aren’t publishing stories longer than 500 words.
The other change is with the move to online. Newsprint, magazine, and broadcast shows are finally re-publishing their content online. News sites, mobile and tablet apps, downloadable podcasts, and streaming video make it easier to consume stories from traditional outlets in real time.
What does this mean for you? When you are sending to media or other industry organizations, you can’t tell your entire story – there just isn’t enough time or space. Keep backgrounders, biographies, and audio/video clips on your website in an online newsroom page. Stick to sending media reporters, producers, or bloggers the short, hard facts, and point them to your newsroom where they can retrieve information. Often, they will even leave those facts for spokespeople to answer.
Start forming relationships with online media. Many of them are approachable on social media like Twitter, and it may not be long before you see print columnists and show hosts change their titles to “Digital Reporter” or “Online News Anchor.”
When you think you can’t make your content shorter, edit some more – and remember that media is moving online.
Sandra Garcia has executed Publicity campaigns for some of Vancouver’s biggest events, including the EAT! Vancouver Food + Cooking Festival. In 2012, she launched Conscious Public Relations Inc., a brand that reflects more of her personal values. Its mission is to change what we see in the media and online by communicating client stories clearly and consciously.