PR has traditionally relied heavily on having a healthy relationship with the print media, especially journos at the national papers. These guys had the ability to turn a campaign into a national story and I guess that was the whole point. Recently, the story has changed a bit as the print is now in an uncontrolled decline as other platforms are gaining momentum in terms of their reach and influence.
However, a very timely study by Prof Neil Thurman found that:
88% of time Brits spent with national newspapers was still in print while mobile equated to a measly 7% and PC accounted for only 4%. Therefore, although newspapers have spent decades investing in digital distribution, their online channels are not attracting anywhere near the levels of attention commanded by their print editions
The same theme was echoed in a December report by Deloitte in which the News Media Association pointed out that:
Average annual revenue per print media user is estimated at around £124 currently, while that per digital media user is estimated at just £15.50
So, what does this all mean? Well, as things currently stand, PR people still look to print when looking for opportunities for some good old fashioned publicity, despite its worrying decline. Why? Because people still pay attention to what they read in print papers and because newspapers will continue to try and sustain their print presence until it ceases to make (financial) sense.
With that in mind, I will look at a current affairs issue which has dominated the print news agenda each week and analyse the PR opportunities that lie within the storylines.
Easily the biggest story this side of the pond (Europe), Brexit presents a wide range of PR challenges and opportunities for because of a lack of clarity on what Britain will look like after it is all said and done. However, a closer look at the simple implications of this political move will highlight that the mainly affected sectors would be real estate and travel. Of course many other more prominent sectors will feel the pinch but for this post, I’ll only focus on the two I’ve mentioned.
Real Estate – here lies a Brexit PR goldmine as property companies on the other side of the channel can truly make a play on the current uncertainty by advertising their properties. Something that is already growing, as highlighted in the FT Weekend Houses & Homes supplement which was filled with properties in Berlin. The properties advertised are padded with accompanying articles which seek to highlight how much cheaper it is there than in London. And that is only one example.
Travel – Again, another sector which is bound to benefit from this Brexit dominated period. Travel agents can push low-cost packages by playing on the fact that these could become unaffordable and may be more logistically straining in the future as the UK’s position in Europe changes. By focusing on the unknown future, travel agents and other travel companies can hijack the agenda with offers of pre-Brexit package deals.
So, I guess the opportunity to make a play on something that is already dominating the news agenda in print media is an option that is increasingly available to companies who can see the benefits of reactive PR. However, lessons from the #DeleteUber furore suggest that there is a need to tread with caution.