What Media Crunches Mean To Your PR Efforts

Although it has presented a load of opportunities for businesses and individuals, the Internet has been very hard on traditional media, especially newspapers and TV. Those who failed to embrace the Internet right off the bat are making staff cuts that can hurt your chances of achieving positive public relations, unless you’re knowledgeable and sensitive.

Today’s editors are not only doing their jobs but in most cases the jobs of their staff, which have been pink-slipped. In smaller daily papers across the country you will notice more and more wire stories peppered throughout the publication with only truly local news handled by staff writers. The cuts have also led to an increase of freelance writers, who were more than likely prior with the publication.

So what does this mean to you and your business? It means that it can be harder to get an editor on the phone to discuss your news, that freelance writers are nearly impossible to get to directly and that you need more patience in waiting to get your story placed. Remember that these media are now in competition with the Internet, in some cases, and they’re looking for stories that are right now, the newest thing and they want it before anyone else gets it.

The good news is that as many of these media begin to embrace the Internet, with news that rotates out faster and is updated more often, they will be looking for more news and content for their websites. The other good news is that as journalists break off on their own and launch their own news sites and e-zines, there is even more opportunity to generate positive press for your business.

In the meantime, there’s been an extreme increase in what we call “amatuer journalists”, people who start their own blogs as an information source for the audience its intended for.  Perez Hilton became a highly desired tastemaker and is now considered a top celebrity “journalist”, and is sought after for events and coverage.  So, it’s important that you learn to engage bloggers and look for ways to turn it into a news opportunity for your business.  These people are really making themselves into experts and ones you want talking about your business.

I also believe that every business should have an online pressroom and press kit that is attached to an RSS feed. This will help distribute your news directly to the editors, bloggers and writers who are interested in your industry/category.

It’s always fun to see your name in print in the local daily newspaper, but we all need to begin to shift our perception of what that means to us personally and what it means to the success of our businesses, without turning away from non-traditional media.

Jennifer Fortney, Cascade Communications 

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