Online News Hits are Better Than The Print Versions

4 09 2008

In case you missed it yesterday, a top 75 U.S. newspaper offered its ENTIRE newsroom voluntary buyouts – all 320 reporters, editors, copy editors, etc. According to the paper, one of the major reasons it’s in a slump is because advertisers are pulling dollars from print newspapers and opting for online sites, including online news sites.

Is this more evidence that news outlets’ Online versions have become more important than their print counterparts?

When I started in this business, clients LOVED print news stories on their brands. Many seemed to prefer them over great TV news hits. I suspected it had something to do with being able to physically pick up a newspaper or magazine, proudly wave it around for the entire marketing department to see and then leave it along with a Post-It note in the CEO’s inbox.

Since those days, the shift in emphasis to Online newsrooms by media outlets has surged, but many clients still seem to see it as second-rate to the print version. It’s not. In fact, I think that in most cases it’s a better hit for the client. Here’s why:

  • Advertisers go where the crowds are. The reason many are shifting more dollars in to online advertising is because many news outlets’ Web sites now have more unique visitors than they have in circulation for their respective print versions. That means more people potentially see the great feature article on your brand.
  • It’s easier for readers to share online news stories about your brand with their colleagues, family and friends. Think about the time it takes to make copies of a print article and walk it to everyone in your department or to scan it in seven times to get the contrast right so you can email it. Now think about how easy it is to copy and paste a URL into an email or Digg a story.
  • The online versions don’t have the same space issues as their print counterparts. That means there’s a better chance of the article on your brand NOT being left on the editing room floor due to space constraints.
  • News organizations are focusing a lot of their attention on building and growing their online versions. They need to fill it with great editorial content to attract readers so they can attract advertisers. That’s how they make money. Since they’re looking for great content – and lots of it – it provides more opportunities for your brand’s stories to be told.

I’m not knocking great placements in print versions of newspapers and magazines. The more places that positive stories about your brand show up, the better. But I’d argue that we shouldn’t look at online news stories as a less-desired placement.

What reasons would you add? Why should we be just as happy – if not more happy – with an online hit as we are with print versions? Or do you totally disagree?

*Cross-posted from my little corner of the online world.





Readers Vote on PR Pitches They Want Reporters to Cover

30 07 2008

We sometimes open media pitches by saying something about believing it will be interesting for that outlet’s readers/viewers/listeners. FastCompany.com is taking PR people up on that in a new way that turns the assumption of what readers want covered into the reality of what they want covered.

Now, PR folks can submit their pitches publicly to Fast Company’s “The Killer Pitch” blog and readers vote the pitches up or down based on what they’d like to read about. If you’re trying to get an idea of it in your head without clicking on that link, think Digg.

This is the first I’ve heard of this, but I could see other media outlets doing it moving forward. Why wouldn’t they?

Why it’s Great for Media
1. It involves readers in the editorial decision-making process. Giving your audience some ownership in the finished product helps make for more loyal readers.
2. It ensures that Fast Company covers topics its subscribers want to read about in its pages and online.
3. It could cut back on the number of pitches individual reporters receive and reserve more of their time for researching, interviewing and writing.

Why it’s Great for PR
1. Whether the story is written or not, readers who participate in the process see your pitch and learn a bit about your new product, service, etc.
2. It requires more time spent crafting the pitch to as close to near perfection as possible, since it will be made public.

What do you think about this move? Does it provide a great opportunity for media relations? Do you think others will follow?

*Thanks to my friend Mark Tosczak for the tip-off.