Newspapers across the globe that formerly worked to rigid print timetables, complete with weekly embargoes, where ‘breaking news’ might only get a showing a few days later, are now putting digital first.
Many newsrooms have struggled to adapt traditional print journalism practice to meet the demands of digital newsrooms and cope with how different it is telling a story online.
PRs and clients have also largely been reluctant to lead the way and rock the status quo, preferring to stick with press releases and slowly embrace multimedia.
Meanwhile, irreverent news sites and hyper-local, niche sites heavily populated by video with minimal text are leaving once-mighty traditional news organisations in the dust.
Now, the immediacy of digital newsrooms means PR agencies must be more creative with story-telling. Content remains king and the demand for rich content is growing rapidly.
Alongside the challenges that this presents, there are now a multitude of ways to tell a client’s story – delivering news and views in formats that meet changing audience appetites.
Reading and viewing habits are evolving and, according to scientists, humans have a shorter attention span than goldfish, while the so-called ‘digital native’ spends an average of 91 hours a month using apps.
Video and mobile content viewed on social media pages – a phenomenal 4,950,000,000 videos are watched on YouTube per day – are favoured above mainstream online news websites and buying a newspaper is increasingly becoming the tradition of a fading generation.
Effective communication is about engagement. Our sophisticated, digitally savvy audiences, who are used to being manipulated and bombarded with messaging, respect and trust brands who embrace authenticity and are confident enough to engage immediately without evident premeditation.
Immediacy of content, be it a witty tweet, a swiftly-posted online news story, or a YouTube vlog can be highly effective in garnering trust. Live streaming, live blogging, tweets, video, photos, audio clips, news hijacking, joining the conversation on social media – creates an engaging atmosphere, where audiences feel as though they are joining in a conversation, rather than being sold a product.
The possibilities to become storytellers in print, pictures, video, in live broadcasts or recorded clips, in tweets, GIFs, posts, on Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, Facebook, or live online news pages, are vast.
Making the most of these options and exploring and broadening the channels used to reach a marketplace is now a more exciting and dynamic process than it ever has been. This can be a gift for any client, whether they fall in the B2B or B2C category, or both.
Traditional newsrooms are on the hunt for rich content that will drive traffic and advertising spend. This strategy creates an opportunity for PRs to plan to ensure that rich multi-media is available to the digital newsroom that supplies a raft of news to their online audiences.
PRs operating in the ‘digital age’ need to be able to blend traditional journalistic story-telling skills with the ability to embrace multi-platform communication channels and formats – creating a rich, vibrant mix that integrates disciplines and delivers real engagement.
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