The way we think about media has changed dramatically in the past 15 years. In a not too distant past our main sources of information about the world came from a mix of daily, weekly and monthly publications as well as a limited number of TV and radio stations depending on your market. Knowing how the media landscape look today will help you as you plan your outreach to external media sources.
As we all know and experience every day, that has all changed. We spend more time on media than ever before, with an average of 463 minutes, or 7.5 hours a day, according to Statistica.com. Most of that media time is not spent on what you might call traditional media sources, even if these are now digital and take the form of constantly updated online news desks, podcasts, and on-demand TV. We have started acting and treating each other as media too, through social channels.
…fewer traditional journalists
At the same time, there are more formal media outlets – but generally with fewer journalists in each than 10 years ago. Some are one-person operations. The Internet has given everyone a platform and the threshold to get started has been lowered by technology. Advertising revenue for traditional media houses whether fully digital or not, has been challenged heavily by the advent of Google and social media advertising.
The development of technology and niche media
In many markets, business and technology-focused publications were among the first to go online and initially prospered. Advertising revenue was strong on digital platforms and many publications grew. Most were free to read online, paid by the access to readers’ attention. As the advertising revenue dwindled, more became subscription-based, at least for some premium content. Today, the size of readership and thus reach of many media outlets is much harder to assess as they are no longer monitored by external agencies whose numbers used to guide advertising prices.
Niche channels for smaller audiences
Some tech publications have decided to make several niche channels to serve more specific audiences rather than having one omnibus media channel with a variety of content across the topic of for ex. technology or engineering. These niche channels are often handled by one or a small handful of editors and journalists. A bit of research can lead you to the exact journalists in your relevant market that writes about your specific field of expertise.
24 hour news cycles and clickbait headlines
In the old media reality, many of us got our first briefing from radio or a newspaper delivered to our doorstep and perhaps a summary of the day’s events on the evening TV news. Most journalists had one or a few daily deadlines.
Today, the news cycle is constant and the race to be first is hectic. So are the tricks used to get fickle online readers to pick one news story over the next and click on a link. Once, it was considered proper to sum up the main conclusion of a news item in the headline. Today, many headlines are mere appetizers with vague or intriguing wording or innuendo, designed to whet appetite rather than to inform at a glance.
Mapping the media landscape for public relations
If you are planning to do more public relations through media contact, make sure to research the media landscape for your particular industry or area of expertise. Today, there are most likely journalists dedicated to this topic, perhaps in smaller outlets, and journalists who cover it among other topics in larger publications. Find out who they are, follow their coverage and Twitter feeds. This will help you find the right time to make the contact – and the best angle for the story pitch.