It’s hardly a secret that the print media has undergone a drastic evolution in recent years – and generally not for the better in the eyes of anyone who always enjoyed picking up the morning newspaper off the driveway to go with their cup of coffee.
The latest gloomy news happened just this month when Gatehouse Media, which owns more than 120 newspapers across the country, announced it was offering buyouts to some employees and layoffs could follow.
Such staff trimming has been a familiar scenario for nearly a decade as print publications dealt with a loss of advertising and print-circulation revenues, even as online readership numbers were growing by leaps and bounds.
That’s created a bit of a paradox. Newspapers are eliminating writers and editors at a time when the internet is providing more readers than ever.
So what does this mean to anyone who hopes to use print – both traditional and online – as a vehicle for promoting their personal or business brands?
It creates an opportunity because these publications still need content even as they reduce the staff that always provided that content.
That’s where you come in!
If you are willing to write exclusive articles for some of these publications, or serve as an easy-to-reach source on your area of expertise, you might just generate interest that wouldn’t have happened even a few short years ago.
Let me share with you a few of the guidelines we keep in mind when we submit articles on behalf of our clients:
- The content must be professional. Publications don’t accept just anything that comes across their email. They look for professional work, free of typos, grammatical errors and spelling mistakes. Ideally, they also want topics that are in the news and have the potential to attract readers. Editors don’t have the time or patience to read pointless ramblings or endure the headache of editing an article littered with errors. The goal is to make their work easier, not harder.
- This isn’t advertising. One mistake many people make when sending articles to the media is that they confuse news content with advertising. The news departments at newspapers and magazines aren’t interested in selling your product or service. They’ll identify you, so your name, your company’s name or your book’s title will get an indirect plug. But add a blatant sales pitch (“Read more about this in my book!” “Contact my office to make an appointment with me today!”) and you risk eliminating the chance of getting any coverage at all.
- Understand how the print media work. On occasion, I hear people say they don’t want to be part of an article that quotes others. They want to be the sole source. That might happen with a smaller publication, but don’t expect it with top-tier publications. Major newspapers and magazines prefer multiple points of view in their articles. But really, that’s fine! Your goal is to try to be one of those points of view and make the most of it when you are.
Even with all the bad news in the industry, online and traditional print appearances still carry great weight when it comes to promoting your brand. They help you stand above the competition, signaling to customers and potential customers that the media view you as a trusted authority on your subject.
At EMSI, we see this sort of thing all the time. Just this week, as we prepared for a client’s visit, some of us decided to Google his name because we knew our print campaign team had landed him coverage in several top-tier publications.
Sure enough, even though he’s someone new to the media those online news sites came up on the first page of the search.
Like many people who want to improve their brand recognition, this client had realized print could still be a great route for helping him achieve his goals. But also like many, he understood that enlisting the aid of professionals to secure it would improve his odds of success even more.
Don’t stop the presses!
P.S. If you need professional help getting the attention of the print media, give us a call at 727-443-7115 ext. 215.