By Natalia Koroleva, Director, Corporate Communications, PBN Hill+Knowlton Strategies, Moscow
This article first appeared on Mediabitch.ru, an independent resource covering the Russian PR market. This is a shortened version from the Russian original.
1. Morning newspapers aren’t news anymore
Publishing a news story is now a matter of minutes or even seconds. Important news spreads with the blink of an eye.
While you’re thinking whether or not to comment to a journalist who asked a question through Twitter, he’s already getting comments from your competitors. And while you’re approving an official statement with the CEO, the story about your business has already been published and is spreading through social media like wild fire.
Top tip: Change the way comments and statements are approved. Be ready to react immediately, particularly in a crisis. Learn to provide information quickly.
2. Content is more important than the source
Most readers find stories from their social media news feeds, clicking on interesting links, reading the article and then going back without exploring other content.
Just getting into an article in a major business newspaper isn’t enough anymore. Now you need to feature in a piece people will actually read.
Top tip: Work on your storytelling skills. Original content created by working closely with a media outlet is far more likely to succeed than a reprinted press release.
3. Attention deficit is now a reality
With so much content out there, why is your story worthy of attention?
A long text about the company’s achievements or an interview with the CEO saying nothing new will only be of interest to your own employees (if you’re lucky).
Top tip: Tell a story that readers will be interested in. Don’t be afraid to illustrate it with big pictures, create a fun headline and cut out redundant text.
4. Media is investing in capturing reader attention – and you can’t (and shouldn’t) compete
A media outlet’s main asset is its audience. The number one focus for the media is on attracting and maintaining readers by choosing the most important news, presenting it in the best way and investing in creating engaging content.
Corporations and brands largely lose out to the professional media when it comes to competing for readers’ attention. Even if you’re writing interesting posts for social media, don’t expect any significant organic growth in your community unless you’re willing to invest as much as the big media players can.
Top tip: Promote your content through channels that have already invested in creating a loyal audience. A great article in a top publication, with interesting supporting links on the outlet’s own social accounts, will get you far more readers than a boring post on a half-dead branded page.
5. Life’s a game
Content is best consumed in an entertaining format, such as tests or games.
Cartoons and games are back in fashion, especially when they can explain something complicated in a simple way. This works well for serious content as well, be it the war on terror or a topic like financial literacy, and many media outlets are already making use of it.
Top tip: Use new technologies and tools to present information in a playful way. Run polls, create tests and integrate information about your company into entertaining games. The more interestingly you present information, the more attention it will get and the greater chance readers will want to share it.
6. People want personalized content
Any information in the world is available at just the swipe of a finger. What people want now is personalized content.
Information will continue to become more personalized and, thanks to geo location services and ever-developing content algorithms, technology will be able to preempt what information people want. News will go local and become even more relevant than before.
Top tip: Don’t be afraid to experiment and test new technologies and adapt information in line with topics that interest your customers. Talk to clients as individuals and not a faceless crowd.
The media is changing but PR is here to stay
During the 25 years our agency has been doing business in Russia, we’ve seen how the world of media has changed and evolved. But in any cycle of change, there is always a constant. In this case, it’s that quality information still grabs attention.
But of course with the increasing number of media outlets to choose from, competition for readers’ attention has risen significantly. And this means that results shouldn’t be measured in terms of the number of press clippings, but rather, the quality of articles and the quantity of people reached.