Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Public Relations and the decline of the print media

Today on there is a story entitled: 'Writing on the wall for newspapers' which as a reader (you need to register, which is free) I would have found, but actually I'm indebted to blogging heavyweight Graham Jones whose post about the story I did read.

The tight writing of the FT sums it up succinctly in the first paragraph:

The newspaper and magazine industry could be “decimated” in 2009 with one out of every 10 print publications forced to reduce publication frequency by more than half, move online or close entirely, according to a report by Deloitte.
Essentially the drop in advertising revenue brought about by the declining economy and Morgan PR has already witnessed the decline in pagination within many of the publications we deal with; and less pages means less news space to accommodate PR generated stories. Social networking websites too will see advertising drop and their viability threatened.

Faith in PR is well founded; the activities of businesses often warrant news coverage and this can be tremendously effective at promoting those businesses. However, it has always been naive to believe that PR alone will deliver the success that companies crave, not least in the progressive face of new media.

Graham Jones rightly stresses the importance of the internet and how people use their websites and blogs (he convinced us to launch our blog more than two years ago foretelling the vulnerability of those without).

Now new media - or surely it has become 'the media' versus the traditional media? - has been something we have considered alongside press releases. From skilfully targeted e-newsletters to hosting Google friendly press releases online so that your customers can find and read them for themselves.

Blogging too, relevant and targeted, has a key part to play in this recipe for success that does not rely on traditional coverage to create and maintain a reputation.

You'll recognise these elements all focus on the relationship with the client or prospect; they are much less relying on someone reading the right newspaper on the right day. Better still they work on the principles of permission marketing and encourage relationship with those who are genuinely interested and are much less about a numbers game.

There is still a role for PR and the traditional media, but now more than ever it will rely upon real news savvy. As a qualified and experienced journalist that news sense is second nature and can make the difference whatever the economic climate.

So believe the story in the FT for it seems all too likely, but check your PR & marketing strategy and ensure it is multi-faceted. This is something we will be addressing in more detail in our monthly newsletter during 2009 so be sure to subscribe.

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