Media relations via social media – much ado about nothing?

Beliebter als Social Media: Fototermin für Journalisten. Foto: Stephen Petrat

More popular than social media PR: Photo call for journalists. Photo: Stephen Petrat

Media relations via social media? The hype is over before it had even reached many. According to a new survey published by the ECCO network, only one in ten journalists frequently uses Facebook and Co for the gathering of information. More than half of them, however, use the good old faithful press release.  Yet back in 2012, the same survey found that more than eighty  journalists named social media as an important source of information.

This corresponds to our experience as an agency specialised in kids PR and parenting PR. Based on many observations and talks we can even go further and say: Few of our media contacts in parenting magazines or other consumer media have ever used social media for their research.

Experienced PR practitioners will not be suprised of another result of the newly-published survey: Classic PR events such as press conferences, press briefings and one-on-one interviews have lost importance, but are still popular if the story is important enough. In a time when editorial departments are shrinking and freelancers are fighting for economic survival, journalists just do not find the time for visitors or outside appointments, even less so if they involve travel. Nearly half of all respondents (48.9 per cent) confirmed the waning value of these PR instruments. Press releases are still the preferred means of communication, personal contacts are still the be-all and end-all of effective media relations – even if only by phone or email. Furthermore, the right timing has not changed: Tuesdays, Wednesday and Thursday, between 10 and 12 a.m. Interestingly, evening events or press breakfasts – a big hit with the British media – still have not made any new friends over here.

ECCO (The online survey was carried out in December 2013 among 324 journalists from all types of media in Germany and Austria.)


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