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What is the role of the media?

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It’s hard to get away from the media. We consume it every day. It could be from the local tv news station or the local paper. It could be a cable news station such as Fox or CNN. It could come from magazine articles or even a blog. With the help of the internet, the news we consume can come from literally anywhere. From the perspective of marketing communication, this a wonderful thing. We have more ways to reach people than ever before.

In the last few articles, we looked at social media platforms which have become a distributor of information and of news. I get the majority of my news from either Twitter or Facebook. While certainly not perfect platforms, they both have become major distributors of news. Even Instagram and Snapchat are places we can get news. Adding social to the mix certainly changes the equation but there are other avenues such as blogs or podcasts as well.

Knowing the media’s role in a marketing communication plan is important. Without this knowledge, we aren’t going to succeed in getting our message out. This article is going to look at the role of media from a marketing communication standpoint.

What is the media?

25 years ago it was easy to define media. Media was television, print (newspapers and magazines), and radio. This is what we will call traditional media but new media has risen and become just as important as traditional media.

The internet has changed the landscape completely. Many of the traditional media have web pages that run stories that you won’t see in the paper or on television. They are only on the website. My local newspaper boasts that the number of digital subscribers is much larger than its traditional subscribers receiving a newspaper. Some sites are digital only meaning they are only online to say nothing of the blogs and podcasts. These all fall under the description of media.

As the saying might go, today’s media isn’t your grandfather’s media. It’s more diverse and can reach more people than grandad could have ever dreamed. For your business, this is a good thing. It gives more opportunities than ever to reach your audience and reaching your audience means a chance to make a sale. However, we can only be successful if we understand the role of media.

What is the role of the media?

If we stopped and asked people what the role was of the media we would get many answers. It could range from delivering news to acting in the public’s good. But who defines this? Each reader has their own idea of what they would like to see. This means that media outlets like your local newspaper, television news organizations, or bloggers will make a choice of what type of information they will deliver. Essentially they are defining their own role which in term dictates what information they will deliver and how they will deliver it.

Even with all the new media channels, there is a limit to the number of stories they will run. It is important for us to stand back and stand in the shoes of the media outlet we want to run our stories.

Media outlets are looking for stories that resonate with their audience and each outlet is going to have a different idea who that might be. Fox viewers are not likely going to watch MSNBC and vice versa. Forbes has a different target market than Sports Illustrated. Breitbart has a different target market than The Huffington Post. You get the idea.

Whether we are pitching Forbes or Food and Wine, we need to make sure the content matches the audience both we and they are trying to reach. If we pitch a story about what foods go with what wines to Forbes, they are going to pass. They are a business magazine and the article is more not suited to their target market. Not to say that there are people who read Forbes who might be interested in our article but Forbes is known as a business magazine and the content doesn’t fit its format. In order to be successful, we need to pitch our stories to media outlets where our audience go for news.

Final Thoughts

When it comes to the role of media there is no one size fits all. Each outlet will determine what its role is, what information it will report, and how it will be reported. The blogger may find different information report than CBS and that’s fine. Our job is to match the right story to the right outlet. Not only will this bring awareness to your business it will also generate results.

Shane Carpenter
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