The decline of newsrooms and the rise of branded publishing

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Recently, The Pew Research Center released its "2013 State of the News Media" report. Not surprisingly, the report showed an increasing decline in the size of newsrooms (down 30% from its peak in 2000) and fewer than 40,000 full time employees, a first since 1978. From local newsrooms to cable staff, journalists everywhere have been forced to cover more stories with fewer resources, a situation that marketers know all too well.

In addition to declining newsrooms, the report highlighted how consumers are also taking stock of shrinking outlets, with more than 31% of respondents identifying that they have “deserted a newsroom because it no longer provides the information they had grown accustomed to."

So what does this mean to b-to-b marketers? Opportunity.

More corporations—consumer and b-to-b—have started acting as publishers. Buyers are hungry for content that helps educate them about their purchasing decision. In fact, a recent study conducted by the Marketing Leadership Council and Google found that in b-to-b companies, 57% of the buying process is complete before a buyer even contacts a sales person.

As we build out our marketing programs, it's critical we start thinking like a newsroom. Buyers want timely, interesting information that helps keep them up to date with industry trends and information that will help improve performance and practices. Static, product-driven websites are going the way of print—our websites should be living, evolving resources for buyers. By pushing this content externally through resources such as Contently and with an aggressive media relations program, you can further make this content available to prospects.

In addition to quality content, success in this new dynamic also requires digital integration and analytics. A robust website, coupled with an effective social media program and metrics that clearly illustrate buyers' profiles, motivations and habits, will guarantee further success. Too often, digital, PR and analytics efforts exist in silos. As leaders of b-to-b marketing teams, we need to ensure that stakeholders for each of these departments have a seat at the table.

The next time you look at the copy for an e-mail blast or press release, think about how it fits into the new dynamic. Does it provide content that may be useful to prospects? Is it driving people back to your website where they can find additional resources? Can you track how these people are arriving to your site?

The decline of newsrooms provides us with a great opportunity to gain mindshare, and sales opportunities. How great of a resource is your marketing program? Would you read your content?

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