Role of technology in media relations

Technology has created a revolution over the past few decades. Primarily information and communication technologies have been strong growth drivers connecting the world, shrinking the globe, and humanity to flourish. Unimaginable have been the changes in our ways to make outreach, discuss, interact, share, and communicate over the past few decades. What was once available to the privileged few while the technologies were being launched, today they are in ubiquitous abundance and available for every one of us.

Media is often an early adopter of new technologies by the sheer availability of early information and accessibility of the technologies to them. Corporate communications and public relations professionals are usually the immediate lots to play the role of adopters and even influencers.

I recall the mid-90s when mobile phones were launched in India, they were valued more than precious gems in society. Only the rich and privileged in the society had access to them which they could flaunt. In those days, a global public relations agency, that had made a recent entry then into the Indian market would give their executives mobile phones for work purposes. That was by far a big statement from the organisation on one hand, and on another hand became a great facility for the executives to carry out their profession.

Using technology for enhancing productivity is something all organisations work towards. However, in the context of corporate communications and public relations, it becomes imminent to be the first line of action, as it has a direct impact on the represented organisations. Social media is used by almost all media today in some or another manner.

Media persons do remain active and participate in discussions related to their choice of subjects irrespective of their designated beats for covering as a part of their jobs. Most of the reporters, copyeditors, bureau chiefs, and senior editors today will have either a presence on Twitter, or a blog, or social media page/profile in their names. And most of them would be present with their views, ideas, thoughts, and opinions on these platforms.

Professionals from corporate communications and public relations can benefit from replicating their monitoring habits of traditional print media, where they would track the stories on specific subjects and from specific media persons. Same practice in a social media environment if replicated can mean tremendous advantage and deliver an edge at work to such professionals. Getting insights, identifying biases, observing opinions, and following the writing trends of journalists could be great professional inputs, which would help in a superior execution of responsibilities.

It’s a common practice among corporate communications and public relations professionals to connect with a journalist informally in person, discussing stories, ideas, opinions, and thoughts on issues related or non-related to specific clients or otherwise based on the journalist’s writings. Today’s virtual world gives an opportunity to create such engagements through a social media environment.

One may not have to meet the media more often, but the relationship can even be managed by being connected and remaining engaged in the virtual environment. That’s the beauty of the technology, through which professionals from our domain can benefit. Observing a Facebook post, reacting and commenting upon, adding value to the posted content, reacting to a blog, a tweet, fleet, or a story on the social media handles of the journalists can still be a way to remain in sight and visible in their mind space without intruding their personal space and time.

If the engagement is constructive, knowledgeable, adds value to their professional lives, helps facilitates them to write better stories, provides insights, and gives genuine feedback, the journalists would surely appreciate your engagement, thereby strengthening your media relations.

The views and opinions published here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the publisher.

Praveen Nagda
Praveen Nagda is the CEO of Peregrine Public Relations, a full-service corporate communications and public relations consultancy firm delivering a pan-India reach to its clients. He also heads White Coffee, an independent events & celebrity engagement company.

Praveen has been closely associated with many national and international events related to cinema for children, art and culture. He has a well-rounded experience that cuts across all key sectors of PR & Corporate Communications.

He started his career with URJA Communications, an advertising agency specialising in technology brands, where he was instrumental in developing the PR division. Post this, he had a stint with Horizons Porter Novelli, a global public relations consultancy. Thereafter, he was heading the IT & Telecom division at Clea PR, a leading Indian public relations and communications company followed by a fairly long stint with Omnicom Group agencies viz. TBWA\India and Brodeur India.

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