This is the state of the media for 2018. | eNews from OWC

Fasten your media seat belt for 2018, communication of all kinds is stronger than ever. Despite warnings and howls, facts still have impact and new platforms have learned how to deal with a hostile environment. Rumors get corrected. Spin is detected. New voices are heard whether we like it or not, which is how things are supposed to be. Though America is a free-for-all and this year every business need to be among the “all,” now more than ever before, it really is “lead, follow or get out of the way.”

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Here’s what every company needs to know for the New Year:

Earned media is on the rise (really). According to Forrester Research, we are living through a fundamental reassessment of the role of advertising and editorial coverage. Earned media, like news stories and features, is more measurable and effective than ever before. Consumers are increasingly wanting to connect with people and stories, which presents an opportunity for editorial coverage. Eighty-one percent of senior marketers still believe that earned media is more effective than paid media.

Mobile and online consumption has new breadth of reach. In the U.S., roughly nine-in-ten adults get news online (either via mobile or desktop). According to the Pew Research Center, there are now many different audience strategies that news outlets use, through newsletters, original podcasts and allowing comments on their articles. By 2017, 61 percent of these highest-traffic digital-native news outlets had apps for at least one of the two main mobile operating systems (iOS and Android).

The crackdown on false news proves fruitful. A recent study reported by The New York Times reveals that propaganda and outright lies have a wide reach but reduced impact. “For all the hype about fake news, it’s important to recognize that it reached only a subset of Americans, and most of the ones it was reaching already were intense partisans,” according to Dr. Brendan Nyhan from Dartmouth College, who led the study. This year, we’ll see powerhouses like Facebook and Google continue to battle false news. Facebook will use its Related Articles tool to combat misinformation in the News Feed. Meanwhile, future leaders are taking matters into their own hands — right from the classroom.

The New Year has already brought media firestorms, but the trend is toward verification and fact. As always, the most powerful tool in business is an accurate message delivered with a clear voice. That is our mission and passion. Let us know how we can help you prepare for any potential issues that may come this year. Wishing you a prosperous 2018!

February 2nd, 2018|Categories: eNewsletter|Tags: , , , , , , , |

You Need to Know These Five Business Communications Tips

The transformation of business communications demands a transformation of marketing skills. It’s not just about press releases anymore. We’re pushing our clients to stretch their creativity and embrace multiple channels and visual mediums. Artificial intelligence? Bring it on. AI is already being used by Reuters for quarterly earnings stories. What’s next on the horizon for us and you?

Here are five critical facts to guide your 2018 strategic communications planning:

Online readership accelerates: A survey by the Pew Research Center finds that the percentage of Americans getting their news online has jumped 5 points to 43 percent—nearly the same audience as TV journalism. The trend grows as Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites increase their news coverage.

Traditional media still has muscle: Despite questions about long-term prospects, traditional news outlets remain a trusted source. Big daily newspapers have experienced a surge in digital subscriptions based on their print reputations and standards. The Washington Post surpassed one million digital subscriptions, an approximately 100 percent increase from 2015. The New York Times added 308,000 digital subscriptions in the first quarter of 2017, a more than 15 percent rise, and now has over 2.2 million digital subscribers.

Paid content is growing:  Content has skyrocketed. Facebook users alone exchange an estimated five billion items daily. In this free-for-all, paid content has built-in guarantees of message and placement. According to Tyler Stevens for the University of Southern California’s Relevance Report, “even with a modest budget, brands can use paid media to reach their desired audiences in ways that are more controlled and effective than an organic post ever could.”

Video is surging: Cisco reported that by 2019, video content will make up 80 percent of global Internet consumption. Why? Because it builds engagement. The news site MarketingLand estimates an average 157 percent increase in organic search engine traffic. You don’t need to be Stephen Spielberg to create a great video campaign. As Forbes reported, even “poor quality” video from a phone “devoid of professional lighting and audio, outperforms text and images alone.”

Mobile means power: Ad agency Zenith found that mobile devices will drive 80 percent of global interest in the coming year. A separate survey by the software and services provider Salesforce says that 68 percent of companies use integrated mobile marketing as part of their strategies. This includes Snapchat’s “geofencing” and “beaconing” to target messages more precisely to an audience when they are likely to be most receptive. That can mean the difference between an ad that translates into sales and one that disappears into a void.

Today, we must try new tactics and measure results to determine what works. It’s what we do for our clients daily.

The State of the Media in 2017 (with infographic) | eNews from OWC

“Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is an absurd one.” ~ Voltaire, as quoted in “The Undoing Project” by Michael Lewis

Some observers believe the media is on its heels, but it’s really an increase in platform diversity. True, there have been job cuts at newspapers, but the scope of digital publishing has doubled and traditional news outlets that embrace the changes are coming along for the ride. There are even green shoots. The publisher of The Washington Post, Jeff Bezos, announced in a memo this week that not only is the paper surviving, it’s profitable!

Download PDF of this issue: The State of the Media in 2017

The Need for Reporters

Don’t we enjoy our Twitter newsfeeds? If you’re smart, the platform gives you your favorite articles and all the third-party credibility they bring with them. Don’t take away my print subscriptions to the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. I still pay thousands of dollars a year for those and dozens of other magazines and business journals, but several newspapers previously available nationally can now only be read online. If you don’t live in Washington, D.C., you need an online subscription to read The Washington Post. Still, I dream of a super-slim, newspaper-sized device, one for me and one for my husband. I don’t mean a tablet. Maybe something you could roll out to be your placemat at the breakfast table. I’m not sure when that’s coming, or when paper news is going away. What I am sure of is that there will always be a need for reporters digging for stories and the truth.

Google’s Media Power

Sixty percent of Americans trust articles indexed by Google News more than news delivered directly from the same sources. Fortunately, 98 percent of broadcast, radio and print news stories are available through the search engine. As an agency, we love the power of Google. It helps establish the credibility of our clients with real news written by reporters employed by legitimate news organizations. News clearly remains a priority for the overwhelming majority of Americans regardless of how we consume it. More than 70 percent of adults follow national and local news, and 65 percent follow international news. We just do it from our cell phones and other mobile devices.

The War on Fake News

Fake news is indeed a problem and we need to go to war against it. But I take heart that the millennial generation is apparently wise to fake news and can ferret it out faster than any bot. Media giants see the danger to their reputation and are beginning to take measures to block journalistic fraud. Already Google and Facebook have banned websites that promote fake news from using their online advertising services. Read the latest on fake news from the LA Times: “Without these ads, there wouldn’t be money in fake news“.

Join the Media Conversation

As we look to 2017, reporters have a big job. We all should support and applaud their efforts as they will have to work even harder in the new climate. We can help by offering facts and expertise that further inform reporting. This is not the time to cower – not for the American people and not for businesses. Don’t be afraid to join the media conversation. Get aggressive and talk about your differentiation. You can come from behind and be No. 1 in this climate as well as any other. More outlets mean more opportunities – for those who use them. So, share your company news and industry expertise, write that guest article, speak at that conference, and your customers and prospects will notice.

We’re here to help.

 

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