AJR Spin Zone

A Blog for real PR and marketing pros (and students) to discuss client and agency-related challenges ... as well as random thoughts on the biz of spin. Should be fun. alec

Saturday, February 28, 2009

e-mail to My Clients: The Demise of the Rocky Mountain News And Its Impact on PR Today and Tomorrow

Dear AJR Clients:

Today is the last day of the Rocky Mountain News. This week UM hosted a conference on the future of digital media – with a sub text of its impact on print and TV. So what does all this mean for AJR and you?

While we do not live in Denver, nor are we representing you in that market , let’s discuss the impact on how the newspaper and the larger media crisis is impacting PR and marketing:

First the bad news

  • More media layoffs across the country means less news coverage for all 
  • Miami and South Florida are not immune to media cutbacks or ad revenue shortfalls 
  • newspapers are relying more and more on wire services (including Business Wire, etc.) for content and less on locally generated news (good ol’ fashioned journalism) 
  • More newspapers around the country are shutting operations, scaling back or talking about shutting down (such as the San Francisco Chronicle) 
  • regional media are combining operations (Miami Herald, Palm Beach Post and Sun Sentential combined local reporting) meaning that they have less resources to over a larger area 
  • TV stations relying more on pre-packaged online video content than news 
  • Ad revenues continue to slide, thus putting more financial pressure on the media (resulting in staff cutback and less news coverage) 
  • Newspaper subscribers are an endangered species (ask your staff how many subscribe and read the local paper) 
  • TV news are focusing on crime and the old adage if it “bleeds it leads” and not on other stories 
  • B2b media and trade publications are migrating to online only 
  • technology is driving consumers of news online where the content is “free” 

Now the good news
  • technology is driving consumers of news online where the content is “free” 
  • people still want news and info, but are using the internet, social media and other tech tools to access info when they want it and how they want it.

Notice how the last bullet point of the bad is the only good news point.

Impact on PR in this environment

Taking the sub bullet point of the good news people still want news and info, but are using the internet, social media and other tech tools to access info when they want it and how they want it — this is what AJR is doing on your behalf:

  • We are and have been focusing more and more on online media and news – building relationships with bloggers to online only news sites that cover all our clients industries from banking to insurance to gaming to software to school supplies to cars and so on. 
  • focusing on experiential PR and reviews for products, services and software that can be posted and reposted online many times or events where media and customers can experience your brand 
  • we are using viral marketing to push news to your target audiences instead of being passive and allowing the media to deliver your news to their shrinking subscriber base 
  • we are building micro-web sites that feature your news and press releases and enhance the SEO of your main site -making you more attractive to in google searches and peole “looking for you”
  • Using social networking tools such as Twitter, YouTube and FaceBook to communicate directly with our clients’ target markets and reporters 
  • Using online wire services such as Business Wire, PR Newswire, PR Web, and free ones such as Pitch Engine and others to widely disseminate our releases to a myriad of online news sources and then replicating that news through re-positing 
  • Our press releases are written with built-in SEO based on Your Key Words and Web 2.0 social networking tools with hyperlinks back to your websites- thus ensuring that our news is delivered to your target audiences and published online even if it is printed in the ever shrinking print media 
  • We are communicating directly with key media online through social networking tools like Twitter where we follow dozens of reporters (locally, nationally and internationally) 
  • we remain at the forefront of online viral marketing and PR and using advanced Web 2.0 PR tools (we even won an award for this last year!) 

The Bottom line

  • The media landscape is changing fast and some of our venerable titles may not be here next year (are you listening Washington Post?) 
  • We expect to see more print media cutbacks but also more news coverage shifting online by the same titles 
  • People still crave news and the demand for information (your company news) is expanding exponentially not shrinking 
  • The young (under 35 crowd) get their news online mostly and use social media tools – these media outlets are growing exponentially unlike print media 
  • B2B and trade news is mostly being driven online where access to info is fast, free and more targeted and relevant than print media 
  • increased focus on “experiential PR and marketing” - i.e., product / service reviews, events, sponsorships and other interactive activities both online and offline (e-books, newsletters, reviews) 
  • Social media tools are mostly FREE and will have little to no impact on your budget but will reach the people you want to reach when they want to access your news 

So, as the media is slowing dying, PR is expanding and growing online and PR still remains the most cost-effective tool to communicate with your target audiences. Technology allows us to do that directly. We may see less “news” in print or TV, but we will have more online coverage and can track results better for all of our clients.

If you have any questions about how this directly impacts you and your company, call me. Trust me, we have built all of this into our strategic plans and continue to monitor this situation for all our clients regardless of your industry, target audience or customer base.