Why media relations still matters in social media agency land


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Has social media agency land forgotten the importance of media relations skills?

As a social media agency we’re about modern communications. This means we talk on behalf of our clients to consumers wherever those consumers are – whether it be social media or a print magazine.

All too often its seem that agencies forget to think like the consumer they’re trying to target and instead get caught up in the latest trends. Just think Siobhan Sharpe from the BBC comedy W1A. If you’ve worked in a social media or PR agency you will have no doubt been involved in a brainstorm where someone suggested the latest trend for the sake of it, “Like, let’s do a Snapchat campaign yah”.

 

However, with all the hype about social media and digital marketing it’s easy for agencies to forget that media relations still matter.

The journalist, blogger, influencer relationship is still and will always be hugely valuable. You might come up with the best creative social media campaign that appeals to your community but if you want to grow that community you need to look outside of the ‘owned’ media channels.

‘Earned’ media, as we now call it, plays a vital role in a well-executed campaign. It’s naive to think all your target consumers can be reached through your channels.

Brands (led by their PR, advertising or social media agency) run the risk of becoming too concerned with their owned media. We shouldn’t be afraid to look beyond our owned social media channels and create and give content to other players, like we used to do in the olden days of PR (by that I mean the early noughties).

There are a couple of core skills PR’s still need to master if they’re to forge a successful career. Good writing and strong media relations.

Finding a good story, writing strong copy, pitching it at the right time and daring to pick up the phone are all still vitally important to the success of any campaign.

A report from PR Moment in association with the www.prca.org earlier this year found a worrying skills gap when comparing the recruitment demands of public relations hirers with the skill sets of public relations candidates.

20% of people surveyed thought that media relations skills were lacking in PR agencies, and 40% thought writing skills were lacking. If it’s lacking in PR then it must be even more absent from the social media agency skillset.

Social media and PR agencies need to tackle this issue and not get caught up in the hype around social. To be good across the board in PR, communications and social media you need a mixture of skill sets. The foundation of good communication transcends channels.

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