Shifting PR Priorities: From Press Releases To Value-Driven Partnerships

In a rather optimistic prediction, 2018 may be the year when the press release will slowly die under the knife of a story-driven audience.

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By Loredana Matei

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The days of the press release sent in bulk to hundreds of editors are coming close to the end. In the past decade, the UAE has seen the experimental use of the press release as a weapon of mass mailing, often doomed to a painful ignore. Hundreds of potential valuable stories died unopened in the editors' inboxes because they were not properly story-told, and were pitched as a bulk to a totally untargeted audience. When pitching a story to media, you have to target the right "audience" if you want to reach the eyes of the readers.

In a rather optimistic prediction, I consider 2018 the year when the press release will slowly die under the knife of a story-driven audience. No one wants to read dry releases of boring facts, be it digitally or in print. Readers crave stories, inspiration and texts that fuel their imagination, and editors crave quality subjects, great journalism, and of course, traffic. 2018 will hence be the year of a major shift in the PR approach. The pointless press releases should become value-driven partnerships, and even the most boring industries will have to change their communication tone. Here are a few ways your company can lead this change:

1. Social Initiatives

Consider taking on a social initiative (one that is in line with your business and efforts, of course), and involve your employees, media editors, and readers in it. Aside of the social impact of giving back, you will gain a story that's potentially worth covering by the media, as well as the respect of your B2B target audience. Companies working with charity and social cases are often well respected in their industries, and every busy CEO wants to get into business with a partner he trusts.

2. Leverage the power of partnerships

If you don't have enough budgets to develop social initiatives or to sponsor educational matters, look into the potential partnerships you can create within and outside your industry. Partnering up with other companies will create an automatic third party endorsement and your company can create joint-media stories to reach the target audiences.

3. Pro-bono cases

If you are a doctor, lawyer, a consultant and you are on a budget, look into pro-bono work. On a yearly basis choose one case or cause to work pro-bono for, by giving a little of your professional services and your valuable time. This type of initiatives increase the level of trust in your brand and it's always amazing to help someone in need.

4. Pitch your story to the relevant people

No matter how good your story is, pitching to the wrong media channel will always result in rejection. Editors are handling a huge amount of information on a daily basis. The limit between newsworthy and totally uninteresting is shrinking everyday. Read the magazines or digital platforms you want to be featured on and understand their readers profile and type of stories they often publish. Once you've done your research, send your pitch to the relevant people, and don't forget to mention you've read them before.

The media landscape in the UAE and the region is still developing. Together with the brands, sourcing the right stories to serve the taste of a diverse group of readers is a tough mission. Because of this specific reason, more than anywhere else in the world, it's here that we have to create value before we pitch our story.

Related: Five Tips To Get Your Startup The Media Love It Deserves

Loredana Matei

Founder and Executive Director, Jensen Matthews

Loredana Matei is the founder and Executive Director of Jensen Matthews, a PR agency based in Dubai. Loredana is an international communications professional with 11 years of experience in Europe, Middle East and Asia.

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