Forecasts have been made regarding the projected losses UK newspapers will be making as a result of hosting platforms within the next ten years. Put simply, it doesn’t look very good.
According to a study by OC&C Strategy Consultants, traditional press outlets will be losing 10-15% of their revenue by 2026. This comes after a staggering 46% loss over the last decade as a result of news disruption. Millennials are reliant on social media and shared links to get their news and current affairs, meaning they are far more likely to open social apps when looking to find out what’s going on in the world than visit a newspaper homepage directly, or buy the print version.
We’ve all known that times have been hard for national, regional and local titles since everything went digital, but these numbers are higher than even we were expecting. But it’s not necessarily game over for professional journalism as we know it, for several reasons.
Firstly, the role of a journalist has expanded exponentially in the last 20 years, and no longer simply revolves around writing, editing, filming and broadcasting stories through the traditional models. High profile reporters have high profile social accounts, which are only successful because those journalists have better access to insider information, events and public figures than other people. Hence the relatively new tagline of ‘social journalist’.
Secondly, whilst we reported recently that there are now algorithms writing basic news stories, Toby Chapman at OC&C told The Drum that these latest depressing numbers should result in a rallying cry for the media. Not only do publications need to embrace hosting platforms more effectively, they also need to work harder at carving out a niche, which will appeal to specific demographics.
“News publishers need to think hard about their brand, a strong and distinct editorial voice will be crucial to achieve cut through in the platform era.”
This is good news for good writers, who should find that having a strong ‘copy personality’ will pay dividends as magazines and newspapers increasingly look for persuasive, engaging scribes to pen words for them. And it’s a suggestion that carries through to digital PR, particularly with regard to social media and blogging. We have long advocated having a tone and voice that stands out and can be identified with your brand when it comes to creating any kind of content online, and Chapman only serves to back up this idea.
There have never been so many words written and published as there are today. There may well be more tomorrow. Whether you’re a multimillion-readership media giant, or a small SME looking to win over new fans and followers, trying to stand out in this overly-saturated marketplace becomes more difficult with every new Facebook Page, blog post or sentence created. Spending time honing your own unique brand style might not seem that important initially, but this is how every publication- from print to digital- has managed to find a footing in the media landscape, and by all accounts the model still works. In fact, it may well be more important now than it ever has been.
Cutting to the chase then, here are three rules for branded content…
Be timely. Be innovative. Be yourself (well, be the company, at least).