3 Ways Public Relations Agencies Are Adapting to the Changing Media Landscape
2016 has already seen some significant shifts in the Canadian media landscape, a fact that has public relations agencies evaluating how to change tactics when it comes to broadcasting their messages. Here’s the state we currently exist in; within the first two weeks of 2016, Postmedia announced 90 cuts and a strategy to consolidate major newsrooms across the country. Less than one week later, Rogers Media announced 200 cuts across their platforms, or about four per cent of the total workforce. Both of these announcements are a blow to an already floundering media industry, one faced with constant dwindling revenue and readership numbers.
Cuts like these are an indicator of how much journalism is changing, and public relations with it. In fact there are three dedicated changes to public relations that most, if not all, PR agencies are moving towards:
1. Customized content creation
There used to be a time when a pitch note and a press release was enough to secure media coverage. With limited resources at newsrooms, and overworked journalists, this isn’t necessarily the case anymore. PR professionals are becoming the creators of content, quite literally drafting story ideas for specific outlets to use. It’s a much more symbiotic relationship between journalists and PR professionals, albeit one that requires more work and creativity from the PR professional than in times past.
2. The growing power of the influencer
With fewer journalists available, the ‘citizen journalists’ or influencers are filling the gap. These individuals hold significant interest on social media and captivate an audience that considers them more authentic. While the rules of the game are still being sorted out, PR agencies are taking a more active role in working with influencers to promote content and product placement.
3. Giving voice to leaders
Another aspect of a sparse media landscape is the loss of expert opinions. Seasoned journalists with backgrounds in niche areas are becoming few and far between, and this leaves a void for creative opinions in various industries. The industry leaders themselves are filling that void, with more and more opportunity to land press coverage through thought leadership and well executed opinion pieces. Outlets are producing more of this type of content as it offers readers in-depth discussion from well-known industry experts (and at practically no cost to the outlet.)
For public relations professionals, the shift in the industry has been a long time coming. Most of us saw it coming, and adjusted accordingly. That’s why Brix Media became Canada’s first fully integrated PR and online influencer firm focus on social innovation when we launched last year.