The 2015 Media Trends and Online Newsrooms report was released this week during a webinar hosted by Sally Falkow, President of PRESSfeed and a Sr. Research Fellow with the Society for New Communication Research, a new media think tank based in Palo Alto, CA. Her guests on the webinar were Wendy Marx, President of Marx Communications and an expert contributor for Fast Company and Rebekah Iliff, Chief Strategy Officer for AirPR and a columnist for Inc. Magazine.
This year the report examines five trends that are affecting the media landscape and the opportunities these trends present for brands and organizations. The report also shows how the Fortune 100, Fortune 500 and Inc.500 online newsrooms are meeting these changing media needs.
Shrinking resources in media newsrooms: The reduction of media newsroom staff through layoffs and buy-outs continued throughout 2014 and Digital First Media, The Washington Post and Crain’s announced staff cuts early in 2015. Many of those laid off were veteran journalists. The result is that newsrooms have with fewer resources and are suffering from a lack of legacy talent. This opens the door for companies to work with the media and provide industry news and branded content to the media.
Search engines now “most trusted” source for news: According to the 2015 Edelman Trust Barometer search engines are now the first used and most trusted source for general business information, breaking news and for verifying news seen or heard elsewhere.
The demand for visual content: Now that the bandwidth is available visuals have become the most popular form of content online. Studies show that images and video attract more attention, keep users engaged longer and result in higher conversions. The explosive growth of visual content on Tumblr, Instagram, Pinterest and SnapChat and the use of video on social sites like Facebook and Twitter show just how rapidly the public is embracing visual content. This trend has had a profound impact on the media – they know they need good, original content to attract readers and viewers, but they lack the talents and resources to produce this content. This is another wide-open opportunity for a coropte newsroom to fill the gap.
The Digital Newsroom approach: Reporters are under a lot of pressure and they appreciate finding all the content they need in one place – social content, visual assets to support stories, media contacts and experts they can interview. A company online newsroom must be reimagined as a digital content hub providing every possible type of content in one place that’s easy to find and easy to use. A list of press releases with links to content in PDF’s is simply not enough – it does not provide the content that the media needs today.
Using data and analytics to inform content production: The media has learned this lesson well. They watch their analytics with a very sharp eye and use the data to inform their choice of content. Brand newsrooms must do the same. Although analytics and metrics is not traditionally a PR skill, this is one trend that PR pros should master and use it to determine where their newsroom visitors come from, what content they prefer and what paths they take while in the newsroom.
How the Corporate Newsrooms Scored in 2015
As expected the Fortune 100 newsrooms are doing better than the smaller companies. However, even the Fortune 100 are way behind in meeting these trends and supplying the type of content the media is looking for in corporate newsrooms.
It’s a well-known fact that the traditional news media is experiencing downsizing and loss of talent and resources. One would expect to see the PR industry jump on this opportunity and use their newsrooms to publish content that would be helpful to these time-strapped journalists.
It’s almost 10 years since the notion of optimizing news content was first suggested. Yet not even a third of the major companies in the US have embraced SEO for their newsrooms.
The demand for visual content has exploded in in the last year. Media outlets want images and video with news stories. This would seem to be another opportunity for brands to supply content to the media. Yet there is a definite lack of visual content on offer in company newsrooms in the US and despite more than 80% of journalist and editors asking for embed codes with videos, only a handful of companies and organization do so.
Areas where the smaller, fast-growing companies are doing better than the Fortune 100 or 500:
Blogging – more of the Inc. 500 companies blog than F500. More of them display their blog content in their newsroom than both F100 and F500.
Connecting to their social content – 76% of Inc. 500 companies connect their newsrooms to their social content, while only 72% of F100 and 57% of F500 companies do.