Mar 16 '16
In a speech last week, given by former media editor of The Guardian Emily Bell, at the University of Cambridge, she made a broad sweeping statement that Facebook had swallowed journalism – in fact the speech was entitled The End of News as We Know it.
Of course, we’ve all known for a long time that news is changing, it’s gone online, it’s diversified and so on, and so on…but that’s not it. Bell made it much clearer:
“…something really dramatic is happening to our media landscape, the public sphere, and our journalism industry, almost without us noticing and certainly without the level of public examination and debate it deserves. Our news ecosystem has changed more dramatically in the past five years, than perhaps at any time in the past five hundred….”
She went on to say; “Social media hasn’t just swallowed journalism, it has swallowed everything. It has swallowed political campaigns, banking systems, personal histories, the leisure industry, retail, even government and security. The phone in our pocket is our portal to the world. I think in many ways this heralds enormously exciting opportunities for education, information and connection, but it brings with it a host of contingent existential risks.”
But, we are not here to go over the whole lecture – though it well worth a read and you can access it here – we are looking at how this changes PR and marketing for every single firm, organisation and business out there.
As little as five years ago if you were considering a PR campaign then sending a press release to your local, national or industry media was one of the only tasks to be done – and a big win was an editorial in one of the said publications. Job done, move on.
Not any more….not by a long way. Whilst these publications are still a useful and worthy part of any PR campaign, they are most certainly not the ‘be-all and end-all’.
When starting a PR campaign, or any sort of communications project, you need to consider all your markets and all your audiences, where will they be and how will you find them to tell them about your news?
Just as important as sending press releases to media contacts, is putting them on your own social media pages (whether that be Facebook and Twitter or Linkedin and Pinterest). You’d also want to link this to content on your own website and/or blog page ideally. Facebook advertising has made it brilliantly simple and cheap to market directly to your audience through your Facebook page and other social media platforms have followed suit.
Essentially what we are talking about is worrying less about getting your news on the front page of a newspaper, and rather getting it onto the small screen of that phone in peoples’ pockets.
You can then start thinking even further afield. Industry blogs and webpages, dedicated to your professional field or sector, may have much smaller audiences than the big publications, but they will have a much more targeted audience of potential customers or clients. And don’t forget direct mail e-shots that land straight into peoples’ inboxes!
Bonus points – the net effect of sending a press release to so many different types of media and creating a range of links to your website is that it is going to help with SEO and directing people to your website in general.
As journalism has diversified, so too has marketing and PR and our communications are running across multiple platforms, targeting specific audiences of our choosing. PR isn’t about shouting as loudly as you can to everyone anymore, it’s about talking quietly to the exact people you want to speak to.
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