‘Placement’ not ‘distribution’

Written by David Reade, PRINZ member and MediaPasifika

The marketing and communications disciplines are said to be converging. Is the advent of media portals, interactive websites, and the social media big three of Twitter, Facebook and the blogging community turning the simple newspaper into a basket case along with many other traditional forms of print media?

It all may be true, or at least true-ish. But in fact at least as many editorial voices remain, though channelled into different forms. If the newspaper transforms into a news hub serving many outlets then media relations still has its double role: of feeding stories and story ideas to the content providers as well as tracking and analysing the consequences.

So building relationships with journalists and knowing how they like their material presented is more than ever important. Customising stories was always key to optimising coverage. Now more than ever — and the MediaPasifika database sits where the rubber hits the road.

Distribution — as opposed to placement — only works for very large entities who are so important that whatever they say carries the weight to guarantee attention and consideration. That’s the press release route — government policy announcements, warnings of imminent disasters, changes of commercial direction. For the rest, story placement is the way to go. It might be called a press release but if it’s not a story it’s got no traction. And if you want to optimise content then it’s placement not distribution.

Daily newspapers may be changing shape — adding interactive websites and blogs — but they’re still the benchmark for many submissions. Some stories are strong enough to command ink unchanged from Whangarei to Invercargill. But it’s a long thin country, split into two, and local loyalties are strong. So re-writes are often necessary to satisfy editors up and down the territory, which covers communities from Stewart Island to Hawaii.

It’s flexible and responsive enough to supply contact details of all the chief reporters of the dailies, or the editors of business magazines, nationally or by region, in not many seconds. Its News Express program-within-a-program gets a major announcement out to all the country’s news media in even less time. News Express groups, ready-made for service, include Oceania-wide coverage of ethnic groups — Maori, Polynesian, Indian and Chinese.

Equally important are consequences. Media relations has two legs. MediaPasifika partners with Mediamine who cover results of PR campaigns or one-off stories providing comprehensive reporting, aligning media evaluation metrics to business outcomes.