PR and Marketing Trends: What the Changing Media Landscape Means for Brands
The changing media landscape will continue to shift. As technology increases the speed of communications (you can’t really get any faster than real time without mind reading…), the way brands interact with the media also changes. While some of us prefer to hold a paper copy of our favourite magazine or daily newspaper in our hands, like it or not, the world has gone digital and many traditional media outlets are feeling the squeeze. Print publications are shutting down operations and media outlets are pushing resources into building digital versions of the news to not only keep up with consumer behavior, but also to keep up with the news cycle.
Enter social media. We don’t wait to hear breaking news on a news broadcast at a specific time, or in the newspaper the next morning when the “big story” breaks. Instead, stories are breaking on social media as they happen and reporters and editors are scrambling to be a part of the news rather than falling behind.
Media outlets consisted of traditional TV, radio, and print, but now it has expanded to include many more digital channels where influencers are the mouthpiece rather than well-known reporters and reputable news names.
The age of social media has allowed a new era of media where creators and influencers have achieved online celebrity status by amassing a network of followers who trust what they have to say. This network tunes in to watch videos and read blogs on a regular basis to get the latest news on a variety of topics whether lifestyle-related, business-related, etc. It’s a new world of heavily opinionated and sometimes owned content in a world where your target audience has instant access to information.
Change can be difficult, but in this case, it’s a huge opportunity for brands. Here are five ways brands can benefit from the shift in the media landscape.
Greater Content Control
New digital channels mean that brands themselves can become influencers within their industry and target audience. A business owner can become a thought leader by developing a great blog, or a brand can have a viral social media profile, it just takes a littler work. There are great opportunities to publish branded content (both paid and non-paid), so the focus can be put on a targeted content strategy rather than hoping that a media outlet will pick up the story – fingers crossed the messaging is clear when it’s published!
Alternatively, brands can work directly with influencers on a one-on-one basis to develop unique exclusives that will resonate with their target audience. There is a more involved creative process when putting together a successful influencer strategy. This also allows for highly targeted individual pitches to media and influencers. The emphasis is on quality, not quantity.
Direct Connection to Target Audiences
Brands can either connect directly with audiences through their own branded channels or through influencers with an already-established reach. Building trust through direct relationships is important when it comes to establishing a brand following. If you can work with an influencer who has already built that trust through authentic communication, then you can leverage that.
Whenever I work with clients on media strategies, television is always the ultimate goal. However, the reality is EVERYONE is looking for coverage on the news and daytime lifestyle shows. The way the media landscape is configured now, brands have the opportunity to connect through video both through their own branded channels as well as via influencers. Having a visual library to pull from also attracts attention from producers in certain media circles. Remember that you should develop a content strategy that includes both written and visual content. Print media, even in digital form isn’t going anywhere just yet.
More Spontaneous and Live Connection
Social media is constantly evolving, and the accessibility of live streaming options like Periscope, Facebook Live, Snapchat Live, Blab, and many more means that brands and influencers can connect with their audiences in real time. You don’t have to be on all channels, but you should consider channels that make sense for your brand. And if you’re not at the very least Tweeting live from your events, you should really get on that…
Social Media Is More Important
As more information goes out on social media, the media pulls story ideas from there. 80% of journalists research their stories on social media. If you can manage to build a bit of buzz on your social channels about your brand, then they may pick up the story. You are creating your own valuable public relations opportunities.
Change doesn’t have to be scary. Media relations has changed significantly in the past decade because of the changing media landscape and it will continue to change as the world goes even further down the digital rabbit hole. It’s best to embrace it rather than fight it.