As strategic communicators, media relations isn’t our only area of expertise, but it accounts for a large portion of our work. All the more reason to know what’s on the horizon so you can lead your clients or company to success.

Here are a few trends to consider as you build media campaigns in 2020.

Sponsored content

Some practitioners might not consider this a true media relations tactic, but realities in the traditional media and blogger landscapes beg otherwise. Expect to find more sponsored content opportunities offered next year as media companies seek new revenue sources.

Be careful not to be overly promotional. The most successful sponsored content pieces are informative. Write sponsored content like you would a regular news article. Although the space is purchased, it will do your client or company no good if nobody reads it (and they won’t if it reads like a commercial). Instead, establish yourself as a thought leader and offer helpful content.

Sure, it’s an investment. But, if the content is placed in the right publication that reaches the right audience at the right time, it will pay off far more than a news release that is distributed to several outlets that may or may not reach your target public.

Of course, remember ethical considerations. Work with the outlet to ensure it’s clear that the content has been paid for. Transparency benefits everybody.


At the height of popularity, podcasts cover a myriad of topics. PR pros have taken note, and hosts are recipients of a variety of pitches, much like their traditional media counterparts.

This trend is sure to see an uptick in the new year as podcasts continue to grow in quantity and quality. How do you know if a podcast is the right channel for you or your client? Research. Approach a podcast as you would any media contact. Be sure to listen to at least an episode or two to decide if it’s a fit and do some online research (one key insight to uncover: does the podcast welcome guests?).

Nothing will make a host lose interest more quickly than ignorance. Demonstrate your knowledge and your guest’s expert chops to increase your chances of landing a podcast interview.

It’s all (or mostly) about the clicks

Finding it harder to get good news covered? It’s a hard pill to swallow, but good news isn’t necessarily clickable news. Chances are, no matter where you live, your city’s major daily is focusing on its digital product more than its traditional, paper one. Clicks and data are the lifeblood of the newsroom. Editors and reporters constantly monitor how their published pieces perform. The more clicks an article gets, the more prominently it’s placed on the homepage.

With a heightened focus on publishing stories that generate clicks, it’s more difficult for reporters to develop relationships with sources.

There’s a good chance that your news simply won’t be covered – at least not in the way it used to be. This trend isn’t new, but it’s not slowing down.

How do you navigate this new normal? Explore all of your media options. Besides the old go-to outlet, are there other media who specifically cover your industry or type of news? What about bloggers? Remember, media relations placements (should) ultimately be about quality over quantity. A placement in an outlet that extensively covers your area means more than one on a website that reaches thousands of people who probably won’t help you move the needle.

Beyond the latest trends, remember this: media skepticism is at an all-time high. Be part of the solution to restore the public’s trust in the fourth estate. As you implement your campaigns in the coming year, act ethically, always tell the truth and show appreciation and respect to the journalists and editors who write our stories.