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Saturday, 12 March 2011

Declining Newspapers Hit Traditional PR?

The latest ABC figures reported in The Drum yesterday show UK newspaper circulations are still declining. National morning newspapers have lost nearly a quarter of a million readers in the last year. The tabloids' combined total circulation is now 5.1 million and the quality dailies around half that at 2.2 million. Lower circulation means lower ad revenues and fewer resources going into editorial - and less opportunities for PR.

Getting coverage in quality traditional media is still a 'badge of honour' for agency and client, but the real trick is covering both the online and off-line media. Ironically, being good at online PR makes for even more opportunities with traditional off-line media. That's because journalists don't sit around waiting for press releases to arrive in their in-box. A friend who writes for a quality national newspaper doesn't even read them: with over 2,000 a day, she'd never get her work done if she did.

So how do you reach the media? Surprise, surprise - when the media need to chase the details for a story, they contact people and hit Google.

Nowadays, PRs not only have to have good media contacts. They also need to understand the basics of SEO to ensure their releases pop up in search results when journalists are searching for information. And be able to engage with journalists online to exploit the new online media outlets.

If I was appointing a PR agency, those are the areas I'd look into very closely.



PR blog posted by Penny Haywood Calder at PHPR Ltd, Edinburgh, UK

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