11.09.20 / Posted by jirehconsult

Challenges are part and parcel of life and come in many forms. For some, the challenge can be simply being motivated to get out of bed for work. Regardless of the challenge, facing up to it is key. Going through them makes us stronger and appreciate the good times more. As the saying goes, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

The PR and media industry is certainly a challenging one in its own right. You have to be on the ball with the ebb and flow of what’s happening in the industry, and the wider current affairs in order to strategise and craft stories that are timely and newsworthy for the media to carry.

Adding to this is the challenge of getting clients to understand the change in the tide of things. Some still hold the impression that the industry is the same legacy one which existed 10 or more years ago, and place importance on print over digital. They believe that just because they are a big name company that they will have no problem having their company and stories featured in the news. Perhaps so, at a time when big tech has not rewritten the rules for traditional media.

Advertising dollars is a major factor nowadays in what is considered newsworthy. With a big advertising budget and investment into media, even the least newsworthy stories can get airtime and space.

Understandingly, media are still for-profit organisations with salaries to pay and families to support at the end of the day. Thus they are more inclined to support a client who has been investing as they are directly helping pay their employees. With shrinking ad dollars and the need to survive, many media brazenly say they prioritise advertisers when contacted by PR.

The challenge for PR practitioners is to convince clients that money talks, and not everything is newsworthy. This is especially so for hard sell stories that are skewed on product sales. While we do our best to advise, brands still hold the ultimate say in what they want to do. And if any story does not carry weight with the media, PR gets stuck in a tough spot having to lobby the media, or justify to the client the reason behind the lacklustre coverage.

It is definitely becoming more challenging getting a story out, even if it is one that truly benefits the public at large. 

This forces us to rethink our approach and improve our own game. Success is achieved only by solving problems. Where others see impenetrable barriers, successful people see opportunity. The first thing is to adopt the mindset that challenges are not problems, but are opportunities. If we had a choice, we would probably seek to avoid challenges. Despite this, challenges are nigh on impossible to avoid. Although difficult, challenges do offer benefits. And this, I will leave to discuss in another journal.