Greg Brooks

#PRStudChat: The Evolving Owned Media Landscape

By: Greg Brooks | January 31, 2019 | 
0

#PRStudChat Owned Media

It’s hard to imagine if you’re a millennial or younger, but the media landscape was once much easier to navigate than it is today.

Now, that doesn’t mean media relations was a slam dunk.

But there were fewer publications, staffing levels were higher, and competition for space, while always a factor, was more reasonable.

Today? It’s a different world.

And in response, many communications pros are reaching out to embrace tools — such as owned media, the “O” in the PESO model — that were not traditionally part of the communications playbook.

We reached out to Megan Licursi, president of the Florida-based Licursi Group and long-time media relations pro.

We asked for her take on what’s changed — and what’s working — today in owned media for PR. Here are the questions:

  1. Let’s start big: Besides the drop-off in titles and journalists, what are some less-noticeable challenges you’re seeing in consumer media?
  2. Would you say earned media is dying, evolving or something else?
  3. Once, you were a comms grad just starting out — how has the PR industry changed? How has pitching media changed?
  4. Related: Other than social, what new skills must comms students master in order to be competitive?
  5. Owned media was once a play only for the largest companies, but today it’s everywhere. How has that changed agency work?
  6. How do you ensure that owned media is ethical?
  7. Do you find that clients “get” owned media? Do they see it as a full, fair replacement for traditional earned media?
  8. What do you look for when hiring young talent?
  9. What’s your best pitch-gone-wrong story?
  10. Make the PR case for dogs vs. cats.

PRStudChat: What’s Happening With Earned Media?

So what, exactly, has changed? Valerie Simon sums it up well:

And Licursi points out that fast-changing mastheads at media outlets are part, but only part, of the challenge comms pros face:

Meanwhile, trust has gone out the window:

The Skills That Now Matter Most

Looking at how things evolve, Ryan Honick says it’s all about attention:

And Licursi put emphasis on just how short attention spans are these days:

There was a wide range of smart, varying opinions on what industry changes have done to shape today’s media landscape. And, what new practitioners need to know.

Suggestions for new skills and emphasis areas were many. From video…

… to analytics…

… to simple patience…

… to conversational chops:

#PRStudChat: Owned Media Here, There, and Everywhere

What’s the case for owned media in a nutshell? Licursi lays it out with an example:

And owned media doesn’t mean trash media, say Licursi and Breakenridge:

How do you best keep it ethical? Start with disclosure:

#PRStudChat: Do Clients Get It?

All hail the PESO model — at least, that was the consensus of many people on the chat. And even those with clients that didn’t get it had some faith that things would get better.

#PRStudChat: What Do You Want in a New Hire?

Question eight brought some insight to the assembled students, faculty, and guests on the chat. Licursi offered up the following:

And Erica Ifill said a mix of skills and reliability was key:

#PRStudChat: Pitches Gone Wrong

Although there weren’t any blood-in-the-streets horror stories from the group, Licursi offered up some wisdom about failed pitches that everyone could benefit from:

#PRStudChat Holy Wars: Dogs vs. Cats

As you might expect, there were a lot of opinions on this one.

Rather than recount them all, we’ll take you out with dueling input from Megan and #PRStudChat host, Dierdre Breakenridge:

Not swayed, Licursi had a response of her own:

#PRStudChat: Until Next Time!

If you didn’t have a chance to join the chat last week, you can follow along with the summary below, or check out the #PRStudChat hashtag on Twitter.

Remember, if you ever have questions before or during the chat, please tweet @PRStudChat@SpinSucks@LKPetrolino@ValerieSimon, or @DBreakenridge.

Otherwise, please join us in the free Spin Sucks Community where we discuss #PRStudChat themes at length, along with many other like-minded issues (we may go off track now and then, but that’s part of the fun).

About #PRStudChat

As always, PR Student Chat—co-founded by Deirdre Breakenridge and Valerie Simon—partners with trusted industry leaders to help shed light on the ever-changing issues that affect our role as professionals.

It helps students, and practitioners alike, learn from the experience and perspective of other industry professionals.

In addition, it’s a community where everyone can learn and grow together.

Please stay tuned for our next session, topic, and guest host.

About Greg Brooks


For nearly three decades, Greg Brooks has advanced complex ideas, policies and technical issues to the press, the public, elected officials and stakeholder groups. A former journalist, Brooks' work ranges from outreach explaining small-town recycling ordinances to media and legislative relations for landmark Supreme Court cases. His practice, West Third Group, is based in Las Vegas and he works throughout the U.S.