NewsThe Spin Cycle

Reaching Audiences In An Era Of Shrinking Newsrooms

By October 7, 2020 July 27th, 2021 No Comments

Newsroom employment at US newspapers has dropped by around half since 2008, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics data. More recently, the Poynter Institute started keeping an updated listing of coronavirus-related newsroom layoffs, furloughs and closures.

So how do media relations pros continue to reach readers in an age of shrinking newsrooms? Here are some tips from PR News:

Bloggers, influencers and reporters/editors at smaller outlets

While it’s increasingly difficult to land above-the-fold coverage, that doesn’t mean you need to abandon media relations. Instead, consider bloggers, influencers and reporters/editors at smaller outlets. There are a slew of niche publications. In addition, some influencers have taken on the look and feel of news media outlets. Focus on niche publications with high-quality, targeted content. A tip: they typically don’t have full newsrooms and often welcome contributed content.

Develop content and leverage social media     

Bypass media channels, develop content and then post it to your social channels. For the most part, followers have opted in to seeing your content. They will welcome longer-form content than is available in a typical social media post. When they do, they’ll land on your web site, which will enable you to re-market to them later. Don’t forget to consider social media advertising as part of this strategy.  Organic reach began plummeting in 2012. Brands risk missing out on up to 94 percent of their audience when they fail to boost social posts with paid advertising, according to Hubspot.

Sponsored content 

Consider a sponsored content program. Tools like Outbrain and Taboola can drive your content to a variety of web sites, including tier-one media outlets. Another alternative is to put your content over one of the tier-one wire services as a feature story. Wire services aren’t just for press releases anymore and they also can develop multi-media options for you to deliver content to your audience. Add multi-media assets to your package. “Photos and videos make your headlines more likely to be clicked – as much as five times more likely,” according to BusinessWire.

Develop a brand journalism strategy

Can’t get the media to cover your news? Develop a brand journalism strategy and cover your company news as if you were the journalist. McDonald’s and Coca Cola were pioneers of this approach back in the early part of the last decade. In short, brand communicators supervise and even create content for sites and publicationsForbes Contributor Larry Light had this perspective, “With brand journalism, the brand messaging is never static or boring. The brand story is delivered in multi-faceted ways across multiple devices and platforms.”

A Quarter of Americans Get News from YouTube

YouTube also has become an important source of news for many Americans. About a quarter of all U.S. adults (26%) say they get news on YouTube. And while relatively few of these people say it is their primary news source, most say it is an important way they stay informed.

This raises the question: What kind of news are Americans getting on YouTube, and who are they getting it from? A new Pew Research Center study explores these questions in two ways: through a survey, conducted Jan. 6-20, 2020, among 12,638 U.S. adults that asked YouTube news consumers about their experiences on the website; and through an analysis of the most popular YouTube news channels and the contents of the videos published by a subset of these channels in December 2019.

For the content analysis, researchers used a combination of computational methods and trained human coders to identify the most popular YouTube news channels and comb through thousands of hours of videos looking for their topic, tone and other attributes (see Chapter 2 and the Methodology for details).

The study finds a news landscape on YouTube in which established news organizations and independent news creators thrive side by side – and consequently, one where established news organizations no longer have full control over the news Americans watch.

Indeed, the survey finds that most YouTube news consumers say they at least sometimes turn to news organizations as well as independent channels for news on the platform, and identical shares (23% each) often turn to each type of source. (Channels associated with news organizations are either the official channel of a news outlet, like CNN or Fox News, or one that features a particular program, show or journalist from these outlets. Independent channels do not have a clear affiliation with any external entity.)

The content analysis confirms that both of these channel types play prominent roles in the YouTube media ecosystem. The 377 most popular YouTube news channels are largely a mix of established news organizations (49%) and independent channels (42%), with the rest associated with other types of organizations (9%).

There are several key differences between the content found on independent and established news organization channels. For instance, during the period analyzed (December 2019), news organizations posted a much higher volume of videos than independent sources (33 vs. 12 for the typical channel of each type), while independent channels’ videos were typically much longer (more than 12 minutes, compared with about five minutes for videos from channels affiliated with news organizations).

The content analysis also finds that most of these independent channels are centered around an individual personality – often somebody who built their following through their YouTube channel – rather than a structured organization.

While 22% of popular YouTube news channels affiliated with a news organization use this personality-driven structure, seven-in-ten of the most popular independent news channels are oriented around a personality. And the people at the center of most of these independent channels are often “YouTubers” (i.e., people who gained a following through their YouTube presence; 57% of all independent news channels) rather than people who were public figures before gaining attention on YouTube (13%).

These different offerings and approaches to the news could have a variety of implications for the experiences of people who get news on YouTube. On the one hand, most YouTube news consumers seem to have a positive experience. Clear majorities in this group say in the survey that the news videos they watch on YouTube help them better understand current events (66%) and expect them to be largely accurate (73%). And a similar share (68%) say the videos keep their attention and that they typically watch closely, rather than playing them in the background.

Muddy Mic: 1st Presidential Debate Was a Debacle!

Can we please just have another Ronald Reagan?

The first presidential debate was a mudslinging, name-calling, petulant, uncontrolled shouting match – and lacked all sense of civility.

Please bring us a great communicator!

In a combative, contentious shouting match filled with interruptions and oinks of disdain, the antics between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden reminded me of a scene from a Mississippi Delta pig pen.

Both candidates completely ignored the debate process and offered little substance and leadership to the estimated 100 million viewers tuning in to seek election guidance. Good luck with that!

Perhaps it solidified the base of each candidate’s party, but it most assuredly left independent voters and undecideds as confused as a turtle on the center stripe!

President Trump’s lack of preparation was apparent. He offered nothing new, advanced no creative ideas, and kept going back to the same statements, opinions and accusations as he has in the past. It was a golden opportunity to surprise and impress, and he squandered it.

Biden failed to offer substance on his proposals – a clear opportunity to distinguish himself, and perhaps, maybe, show some inspiration or life. Time after time, he dodged questions about packing the Supreme Court, economic vitality and how in the world he was going to pay for universal health care.

As one undecided voter told pollster Frank Luntz in an online post-debate focus group: “Don’t just tell me you have a plan, tell me what your plan is.”

And the moderator, Chris Wallace? A sad example of journalistic leadership and integrity. Can I phone in a Brinkley, Cronkite or Jennings?

Both candidates rudely interrupted each other far too often, violating agreed-upon debate rules and exasperating Wallace, who often had to forcefully remind Trump and Biden to allow each other to finish their statements within the allotted time.

Each candidate hurled unsubstantiated statements and accusations about the other, serving only to befuddle the audience further.

It was an utter failure! Can either man win one for the Gipper in the final two debates? The Spin Cycle is not holding his breath.

Each week, The Spin Cycle will bestow a Golden Mic Award to the person, group or company in the court of public opinion that best exemplifies the tenets of solid PR, marketing and advertising – and those who don’t. Stay tuned – and step-up to the mic! And remember … Amplify Your Brand!

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