Here’s further proof that the media landscape is continuing to change, reinforcing that the tried and true traditional news mediums are becoming less of a factor in the communications and PR world.
The Audit Bureau of Circulation (ABC), considered the gold-standard guide to newspaper circulation numbers, reported this week that from April through September 2010, weekday newspaper circulation numbers across the county dropped 5 percent compared to the previous six months.
It’s a grim story for newspapers, but still a slight improvement from the last report, which showed circulation numbers dropping 10 percent. To put it in perspective, consider the falling numbers are coupled with ballooning expenses in everything from newsprint to employee health benefits.
Only The Wall Street Journal showed a distinct increase in numbers, since the ABC began counting paid online subscriptions in its report.
GroundFloor Media offers a couple of best practices that we can takeaway from the ongoing trend:
• Newspaper pitches must be targeted to specific reporters, and include real news. Shrinking news holes means gone are the days of simply blanketing a nominal press release and expecting some pick-up.
• Consider taking advantage of “On the Move” sections. When I was at the Rocky Mountain News, we had reports showing that these announcement sections were one of the most highly read features of the paper, next to the obituaries (which is an announcement of sorts but not one that we hope to use anytime soon).
• Look for strictly online news publications and citizen journalists to pitch, such as AOL’s DailyFinance or MSNBC.com or Examiner.com. They don’t have newsprint or distribution costs and to a certain extent, their content can be endless. Plus, content lives forever online, and will never be used as fish-wrap.
• Social media is doing the job of newspapers. Use the power of the word-of-mouth sensation of the social media world to announce events or client news.
• The paid online newspaper subscription model is expanding, as newspapers try to recoup loses from the print editions. The Grand Junction Sentinel was the first newspaper in the state to begin charging for most of its online content. The model works for the Wall Street Journal, but it might be an uphill battle for local publications.
Plunging newspaper circulation numbers further acknowledges we live in a multichannel world. The good news is more people are getting news; we just need to be smart about how we reach them.