A lot of people don’t realise, but the advent of social media has made the spread of news so much more palpable for different generations. To stay informed, most people – especially the younger generation, no longer resorting to traditional print or television newscasts, but to social media networks such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, among others. However, in an age where social media dominates popular everyday life, how can traditional mass media forms (newspapers, television, radio etc) still be used to your advantage?
A survey by the Pew Research Centre found that 36% of 18-29 year olds in the US consume news via social media, closely followed by news websites (29%), and in last – with only 2% of the total – are through printed newspapers. This only really changes with older age groups, such as the 50-64 age group where TV is predominant at 65% and print newspaper grows (18%), compared to social media with only 14% of the total.
While it may seem to many that the days of traditional mass media are numbered – or at least will have to undergo more intense changes than ever before – they still remain the primary source of news for much of the population. For this reason, it remains vitally important to keep presenting your content in these forms for full market reach.
Increasingly, media has become interested in unusual, more entertainment-centric stories – with an increase in ‘clickbait’ headlines – those that attract the reader at first glance. Furthermore, this kind of content is also attractive to the journalist to write, as the less strenuous detail still results in higher engagement.
For many, hardnews-style news is of less interest than more softness-style news which has typically relevant and further researched sources, and this can be true whether it is consumption, politics or even relationships and entertainment.
It is more valuable today in PR to become a trusted source for a journalist or media publication than to try to communicate with the audience in a more direct way. In addition to the research cited above, having a broad knowledge of different subject areas – or being an expert in a particular area – also makes yourself a more attractive source for mass media publications to seek out.
In short, what matters to the readers is the information given to them and if they trust that particular publication that the information is as accurate as possible. Hence, if a company is looking to promote its image, it’s imperative that they place themselves as not only an important but also trustworthy source. This acts as a two-way street, where in return the publication will present you as a reliable product or brand to the consumer’s eye, having a far more positive effect than simply using standard paid advertising space.