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Microsoft’s Johanna Snickars On The Evolution Of PR, Journalism & Media [Q&A]

Blog post   •   Jul 11, 2016 14:50 BST

Johanna Snickars, Communications Lead at Microsoft, discusses the importance of exclusives, the role of PR and why social media is a fundamental tool for media relations.

The participants of our latest webinar, “What Do Journalists Think of PR?” (which you can listen to here) pinged across their follow-up questions to Johanna. Here's what she had to say:

Q: Do you have to give journalists exclusivity?

A: You don’t have to give exclusivity, sometimes it’s strategically wise and sometimes not needed. Even with exclusivity, you should always have a plan B prepared if the story doesn’t turn out with the focus you wanted or gets no coverage at all. Sometimes you aim for scale and to go wide, and at other times, especially for stories that demand more detail, research, and knowledge, it’s better with just one article. Often, when you get a good exclusive story published, it’s usually picked up by other news outlets as well.

Q: How do you see the relationship between PR and media evolving?

A: As the gap between native advertising and news, content marketing and PR are closing in on one another, it’s crucial to be able to separate the two. You can still work with both simultaneously and even re-use the same content, but they are fundamentally different. PR is earned, while content marketing is bought. Usually, a brand’s owned channels are followed by fans, but often you want to reach wider than that and therefore need to buy or earn space in other channels to reach new audiences. PR naturally has a higher credibility, which is essential for a brand, as someone other than you has valued it newsworthy. Therefore, PR is still an important element to building trust, relationships and brand.

Q: Why do you think Twitter is the best social media tool for media relations?

A: Twitter is brief, quick and real-time. That’s its biggest perk, which is crucial when working with the news. If you look at news trends and cycles, it usually breaks and buzzes on social media, like on Twitter, and then moves on to the traditional news. I’ve seen several potential crises first appear on Twitter, and if you always keep an eye on it, you can even get a jump start on your crisis management and possibly prevent it from getting out of control. As a tracking tool for PR professionals it’s invaluable as you can see trends, follow topics discussed, find influencers and brand ambassadors. Most journalists are active on Twitter, so follow and interact with those who are relevant to you. That way you’ll learn what interests them, so you can tailor your stories and build relationships.

Communicators and PR professionals must understand the challenges journalists face. Both should work effectively together to create and publish better stories. To understand the state of modern journalism even more deeply, get your copy of our e-book “Journalism Trends 2016” today.