Don’t Murder The Media

Don't Murder The Media - media relations tips for 2021 from Finsquared

Don’t Murder The Media

Insurrectionists destroying media equipment during the siege of the Capitol, January 6, 2021Murder The Media. Scrawled on a door at the U.S. Capitol by crazed insurrectionists on January 6, 2021, a day that will live in infamy.

Insane, but it captures the festering, misplaced anger of a disturbingly large group of the population. Perhaps in the Biden administration, we’ll go back to playing nice with the media. These past four years have been antithetical to everything we learn in public relations. Rule #1: Don’t Fight The Media. They have the printing press (digital or otherwise) and you don’t. You can attempt to circumvent the traditional media through social channels but you can’t go to war with national, established media and expect to win.

Biden is congenial with the media. Respectful of their position and their role. He’s a politician. He’ll get in his talking points, and he’ll dance around questions he doesn’t want to answer but he understands that it is a relationship. That means you develop goodwill with the media so when you face difficulties, and you will, the media will not come hunting for you. Choose your battles wisely. We call it media relations for a reason.

Three Tips for Media Relations in 2021

#1 Cut the politics.

I used to count on business as being a politics-free zone where we come together for mutual benefit. Last year killed that notion, as the professional channels such as LinkedIn and free-fire zones like Twitter became platforms for professionals to vent their political views. Three reasons not to do this 1) it’s not a conversation 2) you’re not convincing anyone 3) it damages your reputation.

#2 Do good.

March 15, 2020, when the U.S. went into lockdown, was the demarcation point. Our world contracted (we sheltered in place), and it expanded (we realized we’re all connected). Simply, in the pandemic era, your story needs to include your commitment to the greater good. We’re in a global crisis on several levels, including a rampaging virus, economic and political instability, and climate change. Playing a part in improving the world is good business and good media relations.

#3 Add value.

Make yourself a promise – thou shall never “spray and pray.” Google has tagged most press releases as “spam” because that’s what it is. Add value to the conversation. Self-serving talking points don’t create news and it’s not good SEO. Related: See Public Relations Is Google Relations.

2021 is a year of recovery and hope. It’s a great time to tell your story!

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Mark Rose

Founder Finsquared, The New Equation in PR.