As the great Greek philosopher Heraclitus said, change is the only constant in life—and that’s never been truer in the newsroom. Every two years PEW Research Center recaps the state of the news media, offering great insights into understanding, empathizing and supporting journalists. Understanding where earned media opportunities lie is critical for reaching key audiences, and having that behind-the-scenes look is invaluable.
- Newspapers are “back!” Newspapers are starting to make more money from circulation than advertising for the first time in approximately 50 years. Earned media isn’t dead, with people craving news in these uncertain times from trusted sources like local, regional and international newspapers. Building relationships with media will always be a cornerstone of the PR industry, but now, more than ever, it’s time to reconnect with traditional media contacts and build those existing (and new!) relationships. You also have more options in how you want to connect, from in person coffees to online happy hours.
- Media is everywhere we turn. Media (and businesses!) have countless options when it comes to posting and hosting content. From Pew’s analysis of news outlets with primary web domains averaging at least 10 million unique visitors per month, 93% offered newsletters, and 95% are part of a news aggregator such as Flipboard or Apple News. Additionally, three-in-four release podcasts. That’s A LOT of content and opportunity. Understanding the editorial focus and nuances of each platform and pitching resources/subject matter experts (SME) accordingly is essential.
- Don’t pull the plug on cable. CNN’s audience increased from 1.05 million in 2019 to 1.80 million in 2020, up 72%. MSNBC’s audience jumped 28% in 2020, rising from 1.3 million in 2019 to 1.6 million in 2020. People are still watching, which means that producers still need the aid of PR pros to have successful programming. Invest time in watching shows you aspire your SME to be on so when you pitch the producer you’re familiar with what they’ve aired lately, why your story is a good fit and why it matters to their audience.
- Podcasts continue to soar. As of 2021, 41% of Americans ages 12 or older have listened to a podcast in the past month, up from 37% in 2020 and just 9% in 2008. Exploring relevant podcasts for SMEs that are local or national is an exciting way to narrow in on target markets who are avid listeners. Podcasts are housed on several channels, meaning ample opportunities to cross-share across digital/social media platforms as well.
As earned media continues to evolve, understanding moving trends helps us deliver key results to our clients. If you’re interested in learning more about our media relations and complete integrated offerings, please contact us.
Megan Bonelli is an Account Supervisor based in metro Detroit. She provides project management, media relations services and more for government and automotive accounts.