How relevant is the media is 2018?

This was one of the questions we were asked in a meeting this week. It’s not a straightforward question to answer. 

Looking back 15-20 years, PR for B2B tech brands was pretty much 90% media relations. In those days there were more specialist media outlets than there are today and they were staffed with bigger teams of journalists. Simply put, it was easier to place a story.

Now, with fewer titles and fewer journalists, media relations has changed, especially as more and more brands are vying for the attention of a smaller group of people. Today, I’d say about half of our time is spent on targeting journalists, with social programmes, content development and influencer relations making up the rest.

Just because media relations no longer completely dominates our days like it used to, doesn’t mean the media has lost its relevance. After all, nothing endorses your brand like a high-quality piece of press coverage. And, in today’s climate of fake news and self-published content, stories written by journalists hold particularly special status. Indeed, in its annual Trust Barometer survey, the behemoth of the PR industry, Edelman, found that there’s been a ‘huge increase in trust in traditional media’ in the UK within the last year.

Of course, it’s not always that easy for readers to distinguish between high quality journalism, self-serving marketing content and outright made-up stories, but developments are afoot to address this. For example, one of the offspring of the Eleven Hundred team has just been taught about the perils of fake news and given tips on how to spot it, and she’s only nine.

For all of us over the age of nine, who haven’t been taught about it in school, and – whether we recognise it or not – live in well-insulated social bubbles, researchers at Cambridge University may be able to help. They’ve developed the Bad News Game, which claims it can ‘vaccinate’ you from fake news.

That’s got to be worth a shot.