Since the start of 2013, we’ve seen more evidence of the massive transformation of the media landscape being kicked off over the last decade. Newsweek published its last print issue and is now available only online. Top journalists and editors at tier-one media outlets like Forbes and The Wall Street Journal have jumped ship to put their talents to work for marketing, consulting and PR firms. Vendor-driven content continues to reign supreme. So what’s next? I spoke with Sam Whitmore, former tech journalist and creator of SWMS (Sam Whitmore Media Survey), to find out more of what’s on the horizon this year.
“The number one change in media right now is events,” said Whitmore. Surprising? Maybe. A few years ago events were waning, becoming essentially venues for vendors to do little more than scope out the competition. In 2013, the comeback is not only evident, but even stronger than before. Publishers who were struggling to find alternative revenue streams in the highly competitive advertising climate need to differentiate their brands: enter events. Publishers are finding they can make a lot of money engaging brands to pony up for sponsorships, dinners and the like at industry events that bring together influencers and thought leaders, while lending their own cache to the events. Recent evidence: Bloomberg’s The Next Big Thing, Business Insider, and The New York Times’ Deal Book Conference are solid examples of the new event paradigm. How can PR pros leverage this shift? “Get to know the event content chiefs,” suggests Whitmore. Not only do they decide who gets on panels, they also bring the important editors to the table.
What else is new? Content remains BIG. Yet companies are still struggling to manage their content flows and get ahead of the rush to publish. “Clients aren’t as integrated on their end as they need to be,” commented Whitmore. While it’s clear content generation is more than just marketing’s new flavor of the day, brands need to do much more by becoming more integrated across their traditional marketing, corporate communications, PR, social media and sales channels. “It’s an evolutionary proccess, eventually staff will get more integrated.” Smart PR pros can serve as conduit to driving this change.
To round out the top three trends this year, Whitmore sees video playing a big role. Yes, it’s not new, but it’s a critical venue for reaching certain demographics . “A lot of millennials and GenY’ers don’t want to read anything. It’s ‘show me, don’t tell me,’” said Whitmore. The implications for PR? “There’s a lot of focus on video communications. If you look at PR, many people are really good with words, but may not have the visual acumen. You need both to succeed. It’s another challenge and opportunity for the industry,” concluded Whitmore.
All great insights to help PR pros navigate the media waters and help clients stay ahead of the communications curve. Thanks Sam!