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Exactly how it sounds. The challenge arises for most regular (unrepresented) businesses in that they have no real way to connect to the media.

It’s possible you can email online magazine editors or local newspaper staffers directly, but the chance of you being contacted back is low – and the chance of you being called for a media interview about your business is absolutely zero. Overseas in small European and American towns, it is entirely possible that you could contact your one local media organisation to discuss an issue in print or on radio, because they do not have a huge number of things to report on day-to-day.

Media relations Thailand

In a fast-moving mega city like Bangkok though, with its rich tapestry of traditional and new, business and lifestyle, online and offline publications, there is too much competition, too much noise to achieve any cut-through.

What you need is a fast track which gives you the “backstage pass” to get your content published. This is exactly the primary purpose of a PR firm; they already have those approved “streams” of client content delivery set up between themselves and the press – and so you will have a high likelihood of being published; a high chance of being published dozens of times actually, as content, pitches and feature stories go out simultaneously to hundreds of media organisations – and the approach is already solicited (like when a literary agent says it’s okay for you to submit your book draft, so you know it won’t be thrown in the trash).

PR firms employ a team of consultants, media liaison and support staff, and yet their primary goal is the same as your own would be were you to go it alone – amplifying your messages.

Where your PR partner ultimately proves to be valuable is in media relations. The good ones will maintain strong (and personally friendly) relationships with many of the media organisations you are looking to use to promote yourself; crucially, this typically includes all of the daily newspapers in your city, perhaps some lower-level connections at national TV companies, and a whole truckload of lifestyle and business magazine editors.

The relationship between a PR firm and its media partners is symbiotic; the magazines help to publicise stories and features on the PR company’s clients, and in return, the publication gets free and unlimited access to written and photographic content for use in the magazine (and sometimes advertising revenue).

If you were to use a good PR firm and you wanted to be featured in a certain magazine, not only would they stand a good chance of getting you in there, but you would probably be having dinner with the editor the following week at a private function, organised by the PR team, at which you could present yourself and your product, and of course begin to build a personal relationship with the editor. This is the fast-track advantage of outsourcing your PR.

In the PR world, there is a not a “media relations strategy” in such a way that it exists in isolation – it is an overall PR strategy, of which one considerable component is media relations.

In media industry days gone past, this was essentially all of PR. Now though, with the rise of the influencer, the pervasiveness of digital platforms, apps and stakeholder groups, things are a lot more … distributed, you could say.

If we were to ask the question, “What is a media relations strategy”, it would immediately raise the follow-on question of, “What media are we talking about?”

Traditional media relations tactical tools – the press release, calendar news, photo release, scoop feature, press conference, launch event, post event news, social release, etc. etc. – all these are connectivity possibilities for getting content to traditional media organisations in the hope that they will run stories on your business and publish features and photos of you and your business.

Now though, the bandwidth for alternative B2B and B2C connectivity is much wider. You have social media, digital marketing, influencers and KOLS, Youtube, VR and hybrid events, virtual press conferences, MS Teams interactive panel discussions … it goes on and on.

This has had two primary effects. One is that there are now a thousand routes to market, and if you wanted to weigh up a blend of “traditional vs new” in your comms planning, it’s not a bad start to simply think of the ratio between the two, which will give you somewhere to begin when thinking about how to allocate your marketing budget re PR comms.

The second primary effect it has had has been on the industry generally. Large, established old-school PR firms with “set in their ways” approaches to doing things are struggling in the modern era to adapt and now look like dinosaurs; this is where newer, smaller, more agile and more digitally savvy next-gen PR firms like Gemini are thriving.

We are the asteroid coming their way.

There are actually way more than 5 types of media, and in fact there are many different types of media organisation, publication or platform. At Gemini, we have extensive and up-to-date media lists which cover all possible use cases and media consumer demographics.

We tend to segment into the following categories to help with our targeting, although a typical campaign will bridge several and be pitched to many:

• Lifestyle: Women’s
• Lifestyle: Men’s
• Free distributions
• Photo-based news/social pages
• Travel & Business travel
• Dining & gastro
• Industrial & commercial
• Property
• Finance & business reporting
• Home & décor
• Technology and innovation

The short answer to this is to: A) keep them supplied with consistent, good quality, highly relevant content that their readers and viewers like to consume, and B) make sure they are invited to all of your events and launch programs – and taken care of whilst they are there.

In reality though, building exceptional media relationships requires many years invested into both sides of the relationship. It is common to see PR teams hanging out with editors at social (non-media) events in Bangkok in a non-work context; there is a great blur between the two sides of the industry, with workers regularly moving between the two fields.

Amongst the C-suite here at Gemini, several of our exec team have worked for both sectors for years. Just as the media industry has been subjected to rapid – and at times painful – adjustment to changing macro circumstances, so too has the field of PR. Just as the innovative, exciting, well-followed, insightful and agile media organisations are the ones that have continued to be successful, in the PR world, it is agencies like Gemini that are picking up the baton and running ahead of the last-gen agencies.

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