It seems hard to believe, but I wrote my PR Death Watch series, which chronicled the changing nature of the profession, seven years ago. One of the tactics that I questioned back then was the media tour:
“With news cycles dwindling to zero, and media becoming more fractured and democratized, old school strategies like making the time to meet with journalists seem ever more quaint and slow. Journalists have their hands full just keeping up with an increasingly competitive marketplace for information.”
Indeed, tours seem to be falling by the way side. I was reminded of this when we were booking one recently. It was for a client with technology so compelling, well you just had to be there to see it.
The team did a great job of scheduling reporters to come to demo rooms in several major cities. However, we did run into resistance, especially from the major tech blogs. One replied via email:
“Tech journalism has become so difficult that it is now all about the page-clicks. We can no longer afford the time it takes to meet with companies because that is time that could be devoted to writing more stories. Sure, our story could be more in-depth, but [our competitor] would post five in the same amount of time.”
So what does this mean for PR and media relations? Should we go with the flow? We know that meeting in person is great for building relationships. We also know that you have a better chance of connecting and getting key points across when sitting across from someone, with their attention undivided.
You would think it would be good for journalists too. Ultimately, we need to work within their realities and accommodate their wishes – the media do not owe us coverage. But some things are worth pushing for.
What do you think?