International companies often need help from a team like us at Agera PR to generate more publicity in the Nordic region. They normally want us to implement their international PR strategy in the Nordic countries. However, it is important to remember that the Nordic media landscape differs in many respects. In extreme cases, an approach that works well in other countries might have the opposite effect here.
So what are the differences between PR in the Nordic region and PR internationally? Here are examples of issues we often find ourselves having to explain:
- The media landscape in the Nordic region is small
Nordic countries are small, so there are not many media outlets. A lot of niche sectors therefore do not have their own periodicals, at least not in every Nordic country. This means that there are few journalists and they have to cover a relatively large area.
As a result of this limited scope in the Nordic media, a story has to be better than for articles where many journalists are writing on the same topic. Another aspect of this media landscape is that we often end up contacting the same journalist several times a week; sometimes every day. This makes it particularly important to build a positive, long-term relationship with them.
- It has to be local
Although many people in the Nordic region follow their local media, they also read media from other countries. This is particularly the case for media with a narrow target group, for example, a specific industry. A news item that has been released internationally will quickly become too out-dated to be published locally.
So how can local countries keep their audience? The secret is to be locally relevant. Although large, international editorial offices might be able to flex their muscles, what the Nordic media has is the local knowledge. This means that any news that we want them to publish has to be interesting at a local level.
- The Nordic region comprises four (or five) markets
People often think that there is only one market in the Nordic region, but it actually comprise four countries (please forgive us Icelanders; as Iceland is such a small country, we often put it to one side). Each country has its own language and its own media, with no overlap.
Having said that, they do have a lot of things in common. They are culturally similar in many ways, including how their media works and publishes. Some media groups also have a presence in several countries with similar titles, but there is still no editorial collaboration between these different countries.
- Not all PR activities work in the Nordic region
We are often asked if the media would like to meet a senior manager from another country who is visiting Stockholm or Oslo. Unfortunately this is extremely difficult for us to arrange and it almost makes no difference how large or established a company is. The media will not be interested unless there is an interesting local aspect.
It is difficult to have an open-ended meeting with journalists, for example, a round table meeting. Most Nordic journalists have to produce quite a lot of material, so they focus their time on what will help them write a good article.
Strict demands are also placed on surveys that are published, at least in the main media. Almost every journalist wants an explanation of how the survey was carried out – a detailed explanation. We therefore need to have all the survey results, as we may have to report the number of people asked, how they were selected, the exact percentage of people who gave a specific answer to a question, etc.
- Nordic press material has its own format
Nordic journalists are used to releasing their press releases in a specific way. These Nordic press releases are put together differently from many other countries. They also tend to be shorter, with a clear and concise introduction containing the most important details. The tone used for the message in a press release is more neutral and the words chosen are not overly positive.