In todays world of real-time communications, there are tons of channels that organizations can use to reach their audience directly with valuable online content -- videos, podcasts, ebooks, white papers, photos, infographics, and much more -- and then have that information shared in social networks. Yet many organizations are still acting as if the only way to reach an audience is to use the media as a mouthpiece.
Yes, media relations remains important and is still valid as a way to get attention. Who doesn't want to be quoted in an important newspaper, magazine, or television broadcast? But what we need to realize is public relations and media relations are different activities.
The role of public relations
Public relations simply means communicating with your constituents.
Decades ago, the only way to easily communicate with your public was to use mainstream media and analysts as your mouthpieces. So the public relations department and the agencies they employed spent a great deal of effort convincing editors, reporters and analysts that your company was one worth talking up.
Prior to the Web, there wasn't an efficient way for organizations to communicate directly to the public.
But now there is. You can reach the public directly.
In this new world, smart PR pros realize they have a tremendous opportunity if they can effectively communicate directly to their constituents, bypassing the media. Many are transforming themselves into content creators. However, most are still operating in the traditional press release and pitching mentality.
Don't confuse the superset (public relations = reaching the public with your information) with the subset (media relations = using the media to tell your story) and therefore insist that PR is only about mainstream media.