What You Need to Know About the Changing Media Environment
Today, news is dominated continuously by Covid-19, which has negatively impacted the media world. Due to low subscriptions and a reduction in advertising, media outlets - traditional and digital - are, once again faced with the need to cut journalist jobs. However, with the upcoming political elections, as social issues unfold and the ongoing developments in Covid-19, the news doesn't stop. Now, fewer journalists are being asked to do the job of several, churning out more stories to keep themselves on top of the news and relevant.
These are the realities that we, and other PR people, must work with and around, and our clients must have new patience and look towards new strategies to meet their marketing goals.
What you need to know about today's media environment:
Be Patient and Understanding
Media are all working at home. Broadcasters are doing their own interviews over Zoom, Skype or Google Meet and producing their own stories from their home office without many of the resources they had in the newsroom. Recently, a well-known medical producer vented her frustration of how they are now working and accepting a far lower quality of video than they would normally. "But, somehow, we still have to make the news happen!"
Fewer media, but the same number of PR professionals and companies seeking coverage, means that journalists are bombarded by email pitches that can take an entire day(s) to sift through. We've heard that often times they see something, file it away and return to it when they're ready, which could be weeks later and not on your company's timeline
Moreover, it's taking longer to get responses from media because they are just so busy!
This has always held true but is more relevant today: Just because you believe you have something truly awesome going on that deserves media attention, does not mean that journalists will drop everything the second your email or press release comes through. Most of us are not Microsoft or Facebook. It rarely ever happens but stay patient. If it's a really good story, it will always find its way to journalist.
It Really is all about your story
No matter what happens in the media world, smart PR pros understand that it is all about the story we deliver to journalists. Someone we worked with last week could be gone today and we have to start all over with a new journalists. However, there is comfort that if the news story is strong, compelling, timely and relevant than it will always get interest from media.
The Future of PR and Media
It has become clear that those of who work in news and help our clients get into the news, that we must support our news outlets. If you want to be in the news, support them.
Everyone wants PR because of the credibility. Over the years, I've always encouraged clients to return the favor by advertising or investing in sponsored posts. It shows that you appreciate their role in society and to your business, and that you want them to continue doing the awesome work that is helping expand your business.
Subscriptions, especially digitally, are not that expensive and go a long way into maintaining our industry and the symbiotic relationship we have with media outlets and journalists.
Produce your own content and create a custom media channel of your own. One that is searchable and provides easy access to media and gives them everything they need to write a story on you, your business, product or service - video, graphics, articles, and more. This can be a newsroom on your website that is actively updated with expert content or utilize a resource like Medium to create your own e-zine, of sorts - where it's your company or brand all of the time. These types of strategies can improve the search and "findability" of your company, improving the opportunity that will entice interest from media, partners, investors and more.
Take this content and use it on your social media networks. A TV producer friend of mine recently said that, today, reporters and journalists are finding story leads and experts on Twitter. Imagine! If you're business is B2B, consider putting out all of your wisdom and expertise on LinkedIn, where many of your potential customers live. Just remember to engage with customers and media as well as asking them to do the same for you.
News will change. It will never go away. Our thirst for information and real time reporting will demand it, and we need to ebb and flow with it. We need to remember that we must support our media outlets if we also want them to promote you or your business. Turn about is fair play.