Keeping up with Media: What Companies Need to Know
Print newspapers are outsourcing printing, cutting staff and deadlines and extending others all while turning over stories to freelance journalists. This means that we "storytellers" must get media information in a timely manner, and with these changes in mind.
Production of print newspapers is migrating — up the interstate — with ever earlier deadlines as a result:
As more newspapers across the country begin outsourcing printing, deadlines for these papers are moving earlier and earlier. Nine publications have announced they are outsourcing printing in 2021, which means that papers can be printed hundreds of miles from the newspaper’s home. This means a delay in reporting the news; details from an evening city council meeting won’t end up in the paper for 36 hours. Some papers, especially non-daily publications, will shift toward more magazine-style content, and put less focus on breaking news. Chains like Gannett have led the way in outsourcing to consolidate printing costs between several papers. And for many struggling papers, selling the printing press’s building can bring in a huge windfall.
As former journalists and media experts, we watch what’s happening in the media carefully and daily. We do this for the obvious reasons, but also so that we can best consult our clients and develop strategies with these media changes in mind.
Our professional lives often revolve around media deadlines. Patience is a necessity when it comes to PR. Unless you have a timely story or a story that is important within your industry.
For instance, we know that those magazines still in print work at a minimum three months in advance to as far as six months in advance. This is why when a potential client contacts us in November to be get into Holiday Gift Guides we have the unfortunate responsibility to tell them that while we may be able to squeeze into digital versions, they’ve missed a bulk of the print deadlines.
Our job is to advise and remind clients, and potential clients, that when they want their news to be released and published doesn’t mean that’s the correct timing. We often spend at least one month planning and executing knowing that media stories may not come to life for another 45 to 60 days, if not longer. I recently had a national story for a client come out a little over three months since the interview.
Media work on various deadlines - some longer and some shorter than others – and it’s up to use to be aware and advise accordingly. Media with shorter lead times will run a story when it is most timely. Meaning, the time when it is going to be most meaningful to an outlet’s readers.
A great example is a concert. We know that media may include the event in calendar listings in the weeks leading up to the concert, but they may not feature it or even book the band in studio to perform, as part of the show’s promotion, until the week or even day of the event. That’s because it’s the timeliest when the event is about to occur.
So, it goes when we talk about more seasonal events, such as Back-to-School, Mother’s Day, and even Breast Cancer awareness month. Again, we can pitch prior to, but most of the stories aren’t going to run or air until the story is most timely. Put another way, it’s the time when parents are shopping for Back-to-School supplies, consumers are looking for unique Mother’s Day gifts or want to purchase a product that supports Breast Cancer research.
The specific timing of a story running is when it is the most top of mind with consumers.
The story above is just another instance of the ever-changing media environment. How do we and our clients help to make a difference? By supporting the news and media outlets you want to be featured in. Subscribe and share their news stories. In doing so, you scratch their backs, so to speak, and help sustain journalism.
Journalism is key to our communities and way of life. It acts not just as a promotional tool through public relations efforts, but as a mirror reflecting our industries, communities and government. It is critical to our ways of life in living and working. And it affects how we at Cascade continue to maneuver and shift to meet the changes.
We see clearly what is happening. We know where Brand Story Communications is headed and are continuously creating new strategies to help our clients maneuver this landscape to meet their business goals.