Just like any other market, the Australia and New Zealand market has its own set of cultural nuances and media practices that communications practitioners would need to navigate carefully in order to be successful in their PR strategy. PR practitioners need to know that to be able to penetrate the Australia and New Zealand market, they should really be able to make local story angles stand out in a tasteful way, without stories and pitches sounding forced. This is because media in the region are more inclined to write about local stories and feature Australia or New Zealand-based spokespeople. Global stories and visiting executives from other regions hardly capture Australia and New Zealand media’s interest – unless these are actually tied back to the local news cycle. Without a strong local angle, there is a good chance that pitches will just fall to the wayside and never see the light of day.
One peculiarity we’ve observed in our years spent working with media in the market is that local media (especially B2B, industry-specific publications) unfortunately can be blunt in interviews, which can oftentimes be mistaken for bad manners. In contrast to the media landscape in some Southeast Asian markets, which are heavily relationship-driven, media in Australia and New Zealand place a higher value on editorial independence over connections. Journalists in the market also don’t want to feel like they are doing companies a favour.
Given all these cultural nuances, what does this mean for PR practitioners looking to land good, high quality coverage in Australia and New Zealand publications? Here are some tips to better tailor PR campaign strategies to penetrate the market.
For B2B PR practitioners, data-driven stories with human-centric impact angles that tie back to relevant and timely local issues work best when it comes to targeting B2B media. Based on our experience, B2B media – especially enterprise IT journalists – prefer to interview end-users over vendors. Case studies that paint an accurate picture for end user readers are also mostly well-received.
Each state in Australia has its own local paper. Especially for consumer media, understanding the editorial guidelines in local papers of each state and knowing essentially who’s who in these publications, can get your foot in the door.
Given the limited media pool, being aware of local events happening in the market as you plan media outreach initiatives is key. Planning initiatives around media-led and analyst
conferences (such as Gartner events or the annual IDG CIO Summit), especially when your client is a partner or sponsor, is one of the most effective PR campaign strategies to drive media to feature or mention your company in the articles they are developing around the event.
A lot of the biggest global stories appear overnight due to time zones but journalists are still happy to receive rapid responses and commentaries that provide a local perspective to the regional issues at hand. How successful one is in employing this tactic though depends greatly on one’s relationships with journalists.
As most journalists in the market are freelancers, they are best reached by phone. Most journalists prefer phone interviews, but some are open to email interviews as well – especially if they’re really keen on the subject of the interview.
While the Australia and New Zealand region has a vast number of communities across industries holding associated events (there are a number CIO/IT events and high-profile security events for instance), the possibility of securing interviews in the sidelines of these events is quite low. It is still a better bet to target media-led events or arrange phone interviews with journalists.
Companies that want to create buzz in the Australia and New Zealand market should remember one thing though: Strategic planning for public relations in the market should still involve global teams and partner agencies to be truly efficient. We’ve said time and again that the hub-and-spoke model is one of the best PR agency collaboration approaches to ensure that core messages don’t get lost in translation while local teams add a dash of local flavour in campaigns. In such a model, the overall messaging would still remain consistent while the company can benefit from having PR experts who have specialised knowledge in the Australia and New Zealand market.
Are you looking for a partner that has a deep understanding of the Australia and New Zealand market and the forces that shape it? Our team has deep market expertise in Australia and New Zealand and can help guide you on the most effective public relations strategies to get your foot in the door. Get in touch with our team and explore how we can better seize opportunities in the Australia and New Zealand market.