As an ex newspaper journalist, I find it a really interesting opportunity for debate when a client asks ‘…but seriously, why do I want to be in a newspaper?’.
When I first stepped over from journalism into PR about 10 years ago, the main task I was being commissioned with was writing a press release with the intention of seeing the client placed in a regional – or possibly national – newspaper.
At the time, for the businesses I dealt with, their primary thought about PR was that they wanted to achieve as much column inches as possible.
They might even be adding to this press exposure with some spend from their advertising pot too.
Whatever the proportional split, for them, newspapers were key.
In the last decade, however, clients have increasingly changed their perspective and started commanding a different type of ‘recognition’ through PR activity.
These days, yes, they may well want a press release written, but rather than overly worrying how many publications might pick up that story, they also want to know:
What social media cover I can get them for their story / announcement
What bloggers might feature their newsworthy issue
What my creation of their story for their website will do for their content marketing strategy
How much further they will rise up the google rankings if their story is online
Whether I can translate the story for multiple stakeholder audiences
How analytics will show the effectiveness of that story as part of a marketing campaign
It means the job of an average PR has gone from one or two key functions on behalf of clients, to easily a dozen obvious online and offline opportunities to get one story exposed.
So where does this leave the newspaper industry in terms of PR exposure?
Well, arguably, its time for the business of newspapers to be telling its own PR story and helping businesses (and indeed consumers) see the ‘today’ power of their medium.
Sure, it’s changed – but it’s not dead.
There’s a case for being seen in a newspaper, and a case for featuring in its online activity too.
Perhaps the issue is that newspapers have historically been highly unlikely to undertake their own PR.
After all, for a long time it was the case that this simply was the ‘go to’ offering for man, woman and child to consume a synopsis of what was happening around the planet.
That, as we know, is no longer the case.
I’d love to see more newspaper groups undertaking conscious PR activity and helping businesses see what an important part they can still play in a company’s marketing strategy.
If you’re in that sector and want to talk about campaign activity or my PR delivery for this industry, please let me know. It’s a discussion area that will no doubt run and run.
If you’re a newspaper editor or publisher and want to discuss further, please get in touch firstname.lastname@example.org