PR Implications of Publications Embracing All-Digital Futures
Following an announcement by Network World a couple of weeks ago that they would be killing their print publication, Information Week announced last week that they too are leaving print for an all-digital future.
We already know that newsrooms are short on staff, with individual reporters covering several beats. Staff cuts and tight budgets have also led to decreased media attendance at industry and vendor events. And as more publications move to an all-digital format, fewer reporters are now responsible for publishing more stories on an even more regular basis.
And, as publications compete for money from advertisers and sponsors, many reporters are now tasked to help increase readership.
What impact does this have on PR programs and on how we can best continue to cultivate relationships with reporters and publications undergoing significant changes in format and business models?
- Expect more dynamic annual editorial calendars. Some publications have already abandoned their annual editorial calendar and have announced other coverage opportunities throughout the year, as well as requests for more dynamic content such as slideshows, etc. This means PR pros have to keep in better touch with reporters year-round and be more proactive in our approach to identify media opportunities. The next best opportunity may be a brand new one just announced.
- On a related note, there are increasing numbers of more nontraditional opportunities for coverage in these digital publications, including slideshows, video, audio podcasts, Q&As, etc. PR pros need to develop materials such as bylines, product images, videos, blog posts and other digital-friendly content that we can share with media on behalf of our clients. One of our contacts said they appreciate receiving “interesting factoids” about the industry or uses of technology. This content also can be leveraged via social media channels, which is a great way to close the coverage loop and maximize reach.
- As noted above, the pressure for smaller editorial staffs to publish more stories in an all-digital format creates more opportunities for bylines and contributed content. This is a great way for PR pros to extend their clients’ messages and storytelling. But just because the content is contributed, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t need to meet editorial standards of relevance and objectivity. The PR teams who produce on-target materials for key outlets will open doors for their clients and build strong relationships with the editors and reporters.
- Finally, as more reporters are being judged on the amount of traffic they are driving to the publication’s website, we will see more of them leveraging social media as a way to promote their work and build closer relationships with their audiences. PR pros should continue to share coverage via our social media channels and mention reporters to help increase their reach. We should also look at opportunities to create content with reporters and influencers. Invite them to host Twitter chats or to serve as panelists in online discussions. Maybe even switch things up a bit and interview them for a video or blog post focused on industry trends, etc. They are industry experts after all.
How are you approaching PR given the ongoing changes in media and journalism? What other implications should PR pros be aware of?