I read the Vocus white paper recently, 2010 State of the Media: An Analysis of the Changing Media Landscape by the Vocus Media Research Team. Their findings were more alarming than I would have originally thought, but they were consistent with the realities of recession era business. To get media attention now, your flexibility and creativity are more necessary than ever.
Consider these figures from the report: In 2009, there were 293 newspaper closures and 1,126 magazines folded. Many of these closures in print media affected broadcast media adversely due to bankruptcies amongst the companies with multiple media outlets that include both print and broadcast. Bankruptcies plagued the television industry for most of the year affecting approximately 100 stations. This would have been largely transparent to many of the regular viewers because the changes were happening behind the scenes in the form or reorganization. Radio lost jobs and had major cut backs as well; however, streaming to online sources is likely to continue. Airing of nationally syndicated shows versus original programming will continue as a cost saving measure.
These losses are significant because, during many of these reorganizations, partnerships and news-sharing agreements were common in the first and second quarter. This sharing of news stories and footage is not happening just amongst local stations either, it is affecting major markets.
So what does this mean for small business trying get media attention? The most significant thing to ask your PR person to consider when you are approaching the media now is this: How will my story look and read across multiple media formats? That is to say, if I plan an outbound message have you considered the story beyond the initial format in which a reporter traditionally works (ie: print vs. broadcast)? Reporters, like many professionals are being asked to do more with less. In many cases they are required to keep a blog, or repurpose a story from a news partner above and beyond their traditional roles.
When you understand that the new media landscape includes photos, video and audio so that a story can be published beyond a single source, you and your PR person increase the likelihood of your story running. Journalists are hungry for these complimentary mediums and your PR person should be planning ahead to help them.