As another year closes, I’ve got “Turn! Turn! Turn!” on the brain. The Byrds’ 60s classic is still relevant; for communicators, it’s been quite the season to “turn” within the rapid changes in our landscape. I put together some insights from the Padilla media relations team on changes within news media and opportunities for 2018.
Media Relations in a Silo is a Failed Approach.Organizations clinging to their silos need to let go.Click To Tweet
Organizations clinging to their silos need to let go. News media outreach efforts go hand in hand with social, paid and owned. Consumers follow many different paths to news and information: 81 percent of U.S. adults go online (Pew), and 62 percent go on social media (Pew).
- The quality of the media outlet will continue to mean less than the reach of the story and who shares it. Media placement social and paid amplification is a must-do, not a nice-to-do.
- Relationship building with media outlets must go broader than just news teams. As editorial and publishing arms work more closely together – remember engagement editors? – we need more holistic discussions about producing content that will grow outlets’ social communities.
- Data scientists and data science are going to play an even more integral role in understanding and finding the best places to reach stakeholders in their decision-making sweet spot.
Authentic, Substantive Storytelling is Powerful. Evergreen Pitching is on Life Support.
As a Harrison Ford fan, it’s a pleasure to say that we have something in common with him: we’re self-described storytellers (the way he describes his “job”). In media relations, powerful storytelling remains an art and a driving force.
- We must align our stories more closely with topics trending in the news/social media to best connect with today’s reporters’ responsibilities.
- As more newsrooms shrink and consolidate (Meredith buying Time, Hearst buying Rodale), we need to be hyper-targeted in our news media approach and continue to build strong connections to freelancers and contributors.
- We also need to push back when time and resources are allocated to evergreen pitching that takes too long to (or may never) resonate with trend- and click-driven news agendas.
- More funding for compelling human-interest videos to complement storytelling is also critical.
Quality of Journalism is More in Question, but Credibility Isn’t Lost
It’s often a race for many media outlets to be the first to publish, and many are more accepting that errors can be “updated” later.
- The public has increasing doubts – two-thirds of Americans think the media publishes fake news.
- However, not all credibility is lost: 66 percent of Facebook news consumers have trust in the original news organizations that produced content (American Press Institute).
- We are also seeing media outlets focusing more on the state of reporting, and in 2018, we expect greater visibility for efforts like The News Literacy Project.
Our best advice? “Turn” with passion to strengthen your storytelling in 2018. It’s not too late to ensure you are best prepared for your communications approach. As a start, take this 3-minute Storytelling Readiness Review!