Public relations is bilingual…ish.
PR knows no borders, including those of language, and especially in the United States. If you’re working on a national-headline news story, why not add Univision’s newscast to your outreach list? If lifestyle is the coverage you seek, don’t forget Cosmo en Español. Chances are that for every type of outlet you have on your media list, there’s another in Spanish that’s never heard from you.
According to a 2015 study, the U.S. now has more Spanish speakers than Spain. And in the next 30 years, it will become the largest Spanish-speaking nation on Earth. Do PR practitioners need any more reason to target Spanish-speaking media? Likely not. But I’ll give you some anyways. Here are three reasons your PR strategy should include Spanish media.
1. The opportunities are HUGE.
The Hispanic market is often perceived as a minor market in mainstream media, but the latest census indicates that one in every five U.S. residents is Hispanic. By 2050, that number is expected to become one in every three. PR is about getting ahead of the trends, so why not be proactive about reaching this demographic?
In May, I had the opportunity to fly down to Miami after securing a six-minute segment on Telemundo’s Emmy-award-winning national morning show Un Nuevo Dia. The show has a sweet spot for pets, and we have a pet client (Catit) that loves coverage – yet the two had never met, much less heard of each other.
That all quickly changed as the story took life. Catit was introduced to a market it had, until then, neglected. The segment not only reached millions of Spanish-speaking viewers during the show’s broadcast, but it also connected with millions more across the U.S. and Latin America as a result of social media and online pick-up. Total impressions? Nearly 18 million.
2. U.S.-Hispanic media work largely in English.
There’s a misconception that U.S. Spanish-speaking media operate in Spanish like French radio in Bordeaux or Portuguese TV in Rio de Janiero. However, though the local-based media in Latin America are sure to work primarily in Spanish, U.S.-Hispanic press work interchangeably on stories in English and Spanish.
There are bound to be reporters and producers who prefer to be contacted in Spanish, but that should not deter a PR practitioner from pitching them if they’re the right vessel for a story. On the other hand, there are those who prefer to read a pitch in English. Moral of the story: Don’t be afraid to hit send on a pitch, regardless of what language it’s written in.
3. Hispanic media reaches far beyond just the States.
A major bonus of U.S.-Hispanic media relations is that although the press physically operates in the States, its reach is borderless and often makes its way to the eyes of millions of Spanish people across the world. The same way a CNBC piece may be relevant for readers in both the U.S. and Australia, that six-minute segment on Univision may be viewed by someone in Boston and Buenos Aires.
Not knowing Spanish or being familiar with the outlets is not an acceptable reason to neglect this growing list of potential ink. And the more you dabble in any media market, the better you will know its ins-and-outs.
If you’re a Spanish-speaker like me, it’s a no-brainer. But my advice to PR pros with little-to-no Spanish language experience is this: Think back to your junior-high foreign language courses. At first, it took some hard work, but then it was all about practice and persistence (in PR terms: following up). You probably know more than you think. After a few pitches, your Spanish teacher would be proud. Either way, the results will be worth it.
Assistant Account Executive