It seems as though each day we hear of another newspaper that is not only suffering through massive layoffs (like the rest of the world), but there is even talk of a few local daily newspapers closing their doors because of the bad economy and the rapidly evolving state of the media industry. What does this mean for a company looking to promote its products/services and to tell the corporate story? Simply put, there will be fewer reporters and fewer newsrooms to share your story.
Companies will have to get more aggressive and creative at identifying angles that interest the newsroom enough to do a story on your company. In some ways, it’s back to the basics of PR now that it has gotten a lot tougher to get a story. Ask yourself the all-important questions: Why would someone be interested in this story? What is going on in the world and how does my story relate? And finally, make sure you aren’t so much promoting you as opposed to telling a story.
Now for the good news. All of the reporters that have been casualties of the bad economy, for the most part, haven’t changed professions. Although they no longer work directly for the newspaper, they’re still writing on a freelance basis. If you have a relationship with a reporter at a newspaper and they’ve left their post at the paper, keep in touch with them. There’s a good chance you will be able to pitch them a story in the future when they’re doing a freelance piece for a different media outlet.
The game may be changing a little, but the rules are mostly staying the same. Focus on a solid story that is relevant to current events with an interesting twist. And build relationships with key reporters so that they can write about you while they’re at their local paper or elsewhere.