We’re thoroughly enjoying BBC drama Press, or rather the accompanying Twitter feed using hashtag #press which includes many a snippets (or snipes) from real journalists pointing out the disparity between the televised version and real life.
It’s also made us reflect on the changing media landscape which has undergone huge transformation in the 21st century. Just last week, Reach announced a significant cull at two of the country’s biggest nationals, the Express and the Mirror, with 70 jobs in jeopardy. Despite appearances in Press*, gone are the days when packed newsrooms buzzed with staff in a multitude of roles – these days, ever-slimmer teams operate multi-functionally, seeking out, crafting and uploading high volumes of articles at break-neck speed to keep pace with our voracious appetite for news and entertainment.
Given the close relationship between our services and journalism, what does it mean for PRs? Increased workload per capita in the newsroom means that true standout is essential to get noticed. And the ability to leverage existing relationships is similarly key (as long as those relationships are with reporters, editors and producers who’ve been lucky enough to escape the cull!). One aspect that Press has highlighted is the ever-increasing commercial pressure that titles are under and with constant monetisation of digital platforms, outlets are highly data-driven – it’s all about the traffic and the clicks that can be generated so content that works across multiple platforms will always achieve more exposure.
On the upside, the increase in sharing of content between outlets in the same stable mean that a single article has the ability to be syndicated across a broader readership. Non-exclusive features, for example, can be circulated via an internal feed to multiple titles published by the same house, and ‘back-of-the-book’ content like hotel reviews and event listings are more likely to be shared across multiple titles.
It’s not just traditional journalists that PRs need to keep pace with: influencers, bloggers and micro-bloggers can all be great allies in the quest to achieve exposure for a client, if the story is the right fit.
Whatever label the recipient of a story has, if you want them to pick it up it goes without saying that the content needs to be high quality: unique (news needs to be ‘new’ after all!). And it needs to deliver value to the reader, whether in terms of information or amusement. Accurate spelling and grammar are key – if your story makes the grade, chances are it will be more or less copied-and-pasted so any errors in the original copy supplied won’t be picked up. And you need to really understand your audience (and its gatekeeper) so that you’re targeting them on the platforms and with content that they will engage with.
Sharing this content through PR (earned media) will always be more valuable to the client than paid media for its enhanced credibility with consumers, so although traditional media may be on the wane, PR looks set to continue to thrive so long as it can deliver the results. You might choose to do this in-house by employing your own dedicated resource to create and share content, or you could work with a specialist agency. The benefit of outsourcing to a PR agency is that it gets you one step ahead of the game, not least because they have access to up to the latest intel as to who is who, and who is where, via media databases and personal networks. A good agency will also be on the ball with industry trends and developments, and has the experience to know what stories will and won’t have legs.
If you’d like to explore ways in which working with a PR agency could support your business objectives, we’d love to talk. Call us on 01603 219 191 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
**BBC1, Thursdays 9pm.