2020 STATE OF THE MEDIA
The media industry has been dealing with a variety of challenges in recent years, from shrinking newsrooms and evolving social media demands, to the integration of data in strategy planning. Understanding these dynamics can help marketing and PR teams find better alignment between brand goals and earned-media initiatives.
Heading into 2020, Cision released its 10th annual Global State of the Media Report highlighting some insightful trends based on feedback from journalists themselves. Below we review three of those trends and some helpful takeaways based on findings.
1. Data is driving decisions. Facing pressure to drive readership, engagement and revenue, journalists are making data-driven decisions about the content they publish. Heading into 2020, journalists said they were focusing even more on truly understanding their audiences and creating more relevant, engaging stories.
For brand PR teams, there’s a payoff in building closer relationships with reporters that allow for better alignment on these target audiences. Striking this collaborative balance can assist PR reps in strengthening their trust with journalists while also helping them understand the types of brand narratives that will merge with the stories that reporters want to tell.
2. Lower budgets and fewer resources. Newsroom employment continues to decline. Cision notes that, according to Pew Research, one-third of large newspapers and one-fourth of digital-only outlets have suffered layoffs since 2017. This leaves an opportunity for PR teams to serve as valued resources for more time-strapped reporters and editors.
If there’s a catch, it’s that turnarounds can be swift. Many writers are planning their stories in near real-time and 42% of Cision’s survey respondents said they work on stories no more than a day in advance. If a brand wants to offer resources and/or spokespeople for a story, they must be prepared to move quickly or risk getting left behind.
3. Social media is more (and less) important than ever. The social media landscape continues to change. A total of 38% of journalists surveyed by Cision agree that updated social media algorithms, such as changes to the Facebook news feed, will be the most important technology to impact their work.
As the report notes, a major takeaway here is that social media platforms are always changing. It can be useful to diversify strategies with different platforms and be willing to evolve tactics. For example, many PR professionals have been looking to Twitter more for media engagement as the platform has solidified itself as a haven for reporters in recent year.
One fact that remains unchanged based on Cision’s latest report is that there’s still a lot of opportunity when it comes to PR and media relations. While the survey suggests journalists are seeing more value in their relationships with PR professionals, 75% said fewer than a quarter of the pitches they receive are relevant or useful – leaving much room for improvement when it comes to engagement.
Cultivating relationships with journalists is essential to success on earned-media storytelling endeavors. If you’re looking to bolster your PR program with more targeted media relations activities, contact us today to discuss how we can help!