There are greater opportunities for public relations than ever before as pressurised newsrooms welcome more and more social media led user-generated content.

It can be tempting to focus social media efforts on carefully crafted marketing messages, but how long before the customer switches off? It’s more beneficial to start incorporating user-generated content to engage your readers and build trust with them. This is the main message that came out of the Liz Lean PR “How To Be Heard In 2016” event which took place on Wednesday January 20 at the Chewton Glen Hotel.

With the start of the New Year, we wanted to invite our clients to learn more about the changing face of the media and inform them how they can get noticed in 2016. We welcomed a string of speakers including Andy Martin, editor at Bournemouth Daily Echo, Tom Madge, head of marketing for Red Funnel, Jack Ashley and Ed Balcombe from RMP Filmmakers, Jon Brooks, commercial director at Wave 105 and Nathaniel Hobby, PR and communications manager at Bournemouth University and Jasmine Connolly, social media manager at Bournemouth University. At the end of the event, a panel-led discussion was held, taking questions from the audience about video, social media, marketing, traditional PR as well as user-generated content.

Andy Martin explained that all journalists in his newsroom are now multi-media reporters. It’s not enough to merely be able to research and write a good story, they’ve got to blog about it, have an active and discerning presence on social media and be able to take strong photos and videos to illustrate their story. He also informed us that they have invested in two drones to keep pace with the changing media landscape and capture aerial videography and photography.

Andy said: “There has never been a better time to influence newsrooms – you need a coherent strategy with good quality, pictures and video.”

Tom Madge agreed by saying that “traditional channels still have their place, but only as part of an integrated approach. The content plan needs to drive the media plan – not the other way around.”

So what content is the most effective? RMP Filmmakers create video material for corporate use, informing us that “by 2017, video content will consume 90 per cent of the internet.” Video helps bring your story to life and people are more likely to stay on your site if their attention is grabbed with a video.

Bournemouth University’s social media officer predicts that Snapchat and Periscope will continue to dominate the field this year and concluded that social media needs to be a strong consideration in all marketing strategies. Jon Brooks said all social media posts should be “open and transparent” and informed the audience that Wave 105 sees a great response from social media news, not necessarily through paid-for advertising.

Having received great feedback from our event, it’s clear that the opportunities for public relations and social media are greater than ever before.

To find out about our full range of services, get in touch with us via [email protected].

By Alice Rook