As a former journalist, I’ve seen my peers experience job cuts while several others have left the industry. In the UK, BBC News recently announced 75 redundancies, and in Australia, Bauer has revealed plans to merge the editorial teams of two of its women’s magazines Dolly and Cleo. Journalist lay offs and publication shut downs have been well documented. There’s even a website charting the decline: newspaperdeathwatch.com.
What do these changes mean for the PR industry? A few years ago it was reported that PR professionals outnumber journalists 4 to 1, a gap twice as wide as it was in 1980. This can only translate into one thing: increased competition to get your story told.
Whether you have a small media pool like Singapore (we have just three dedicated publishers of enterprise technology news), or a shrinking journalist contact list due to industry changes, here are some other ways to tell your story.
1. Produce more (relevant) content
Fewer reporters on staff mean less time for interviews and more opportunities for contributed content. Whether it’s bylined articles, contributed blogs, or even infographics, media outlets are hungry for material. Of course, the content still needs to be good – 500 words of marketing spiel and product hard-sell won’t make the cut. Quality insights from industry experts are still well received though.
2. Engage in newsjacking
You can help out a journalist by providing them with a rapid response to a news article. By sharing good input for a follow-up article you can achieve a win-win situation – the journalist receives relevant content and you or your client might get quoted. Find out more about the new rules of media relations in our practical guide to newsjacking.
3. Look to the blogosphere
Bloggers are becoming an increasingly credible and popular set of influencers. In Singapore, lifestyle blogs like Lady Iron Chef have reported at least 2 million views a month – more than many newspaper sites. Engaging bloggers with tailored events and campaigns can be an effective way to reach an audience, without relying only on the traditional media.
4. Go social
The shrinking media pool is a reflection of changing media consumption habits. This is where a solid social media strategy comes in. Look at Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Pinterest campaigns alongside traditional PR and plan integrated (not standalone) campaigns. Also think about how you can pitch to a journalist who is always on the move and loves his gadgets.
5. Nurture the media who remain
Getting time-strapped journalists’ attention is hard and getting them out of the office can be harder. Hold your media briefings over lunch, or visit them at their desks for personalized product demos. Relationships will continue to be important and thoughtful touches will make you stand out and in case you are in doubt: here are the top 10 mistakes to avoid when pitching to a journalist!
So is the shrinking media pool a blessing or a curse? Share your thoughts in the comments below.