Historically, the core of public relations has been media relations, which includes efforts to gain the attention of members of the press (e.g., TV, online news websites, radio, newspaper, magazine) and other influential voices (e.g., specialty websites, bloggers, podcasters). In particular, PR professionals attempt to have information associated with an organization (e.g., new product introduction) appear in the media outlet’s content. This is done by developing engaging and relevant story angles, or other content ideas that are pitched to the media. It is necessary to understand that media placements only come when content ideas are of interest to the media and that no direct payment is made to the media for placements. In fact, in order to maintain the highest level of credibility, many news organizations bar reporters and writers from accepting even the smallest gifts (e.g., free pencils with product logo) from organizations.
For marketers, it is essential to know that many content items mentioning an organization or its products that appear in a media outlet often start with a suggestion from a PR person. This may occur through various media building techniques or through direct conversations with the content creators (e.g., journalists). If things work out, a content creator will, at best, produce a positive content item with the organization/product as a key feature or, at a minimum, include the organization or product name somewhere within a wider industry-focused piece.
In addition to reaching out to journalists, PR professional also target segments of the media market that are not part of an established news organization including independent bloggers, influential YouTube personalities, and important podcasters. Within some markets, these voices have attracted a large and loyal following. Public relations campaigns targeting these groups are rapidly gaining favor and, for many organizations, represent a media outlet that carries significant influence within a target market.