Nov 23, 2021

PR and the Media: different goals, different strategies

Goals and Strategies

Goals and Strategies

Public Relations-subsidised information and news becomes an indirect benefit for influential political or policy-making elites as they often rely on information provided by the media in their decision-making . But the information benefit also helps understand how charities, NGOs, or community groups, can influence public agendas.

PR professionals working for these organisations have found that providing an effective information benefit on the issues and causes on which they campaign influences the media. Information subsidies as a PR strategy are open to both elites and ‘outsiders’. A constant information benefit can also build legitimacy, since being regularly quoted or associated on stories builds an organisation’s reputation for holding expertise on the issue.

Some PR departments – for instance ministries or global corporations – publish huge amounts of information, with new exchanges with journalists constantly. This presents an opportunity to use their position to develop news management goals and strategies, like timing announcements to maximum effect, ensure maximum media coverage for an important or positive event or release stories to divert attention away from others.  Another strategy is message coordination, that is, the PR team will use internal communications to ensure anyone who speaks to the media is emphasising the desired message or narrative.

The information benefit is equally useful as a concept for exploring the relationship between PR professionals working in public affairs and lobbying and their relationships with policy-makers and politicians. In this context, PR provides a constant supply of research that decision-makers rely on to make sense of current or future policy options.

In media relations, PR seeks to provide information to journalists which fit with their concepts of what makes something newsworthy; in public affairs, PR will translate information to show how it helps policy-makers understand and work to solve society problems. With these, the PR departments have a prospect of gaining a competitive advantage.

As ever, it is important to consider social, economic, political and cultural contexts before assuming any concept might be universally applied to all relationships between PR and the media. In Portugal, the market knowledge and expertise of Public Relations Portugal assures that this relationship is both effective and efficient.