For those of us who have been in this industry for a while, it doesn’t seem like all that long ago that getting mainstream press coverage in newspapers was a top priority. But in this digital age, we’ve seen an evolution or rebirth of journalism, and the truth is that getting your story in a newspaper (or on a newspaper’s website) isn’t the only path to PR success. With blogs, podcasts, YouTube, social media, niche news sites, and a host of other channels available for spreading your message, getting mainstream media coverage just isn’t as important as it used to be.
Now, when you combine this with the fact that it’s harder than ever to get newspaper coverage, many people question if it’s even worth their time to try to reach out to the mainstream daily publications. I contend that it’s still important to strive for this coverage in a lot of cases, but you certainly shouldn’t just be targeting these types of publications because it really is harder than it used to be to get newspaper coverage.
Why is it so hard?
- Many mainstream publications have gone under—The fact is that a lot of newspapers haven’t survived the rebirth of journalism. That means there are fewer opportunities for mainstream press coverage than in the past, so you have a lower chance of success at getting ink in these metropolitan dailies. Check out this list of defunct newspapers in the U.S.
- The reporters you used to know at mainstream publications may no longer work there—As newspapers struggle with less advertising and subscription revenue, reporters have been losing their jobs because their employers just can’t afford them anymore. In 2010, newspapers had 30% less staff than they had 10 years earlier. In 2011, newspaper layoffs increased another 30% over the previous year.
All of this adds up to one thing—the reporters that you’ve spent years building relationships with may no longer have jobs. A lot of older, higher-paid reporters were laid off and in some cases replaced with young, rookie reporters who don’t have any longstanding relationships with PR people.
- Newspaper reporters have more on their plate than ever before—As reporters have been getting laid off in droves over the past several years, the few who have remained at their jobs have been tasked with more work than ever before. Now, rather than having a reporter assigned solely to your industry, the reporter who covers your industry may also cover several other beats as well. That means he or she is incredibly busy, making it harder for you to get noticed.
- Reporters now really care about traffic—As we’ve switched to the digital age of journalism, we’ve entered what is being called the era of “pageview journalism.” Publishers are concerned with traffic. The more traffic they can get, the more profitable they can be. Reporters are under a lot of pressure to publish stories that drive traffic, and in many cases, their compensation is in part determined by the amount of traffic they generate.
This means that reporters are interested in finding stories that will get clicks. So if you don’t have a truly great pitch with broad appeal, you’re not going to get that coverage you desire.
Have you found that it’s harder to get coverage from newspaper outlets than it used to be? Share your experiences by commenting below.
This article is written by Mickie Kennedy, founder of eReleases (http://www.ereleases.com), the online leader in affordable press release distribution. Download your free copy of 8 Shocking Secrets Press Release Distribution Firms Don’t Want You to Know here: http://www.ereleases.com/landing3.html