What cuts in journalism jobs mean for PR

There are six public relations professionals for every journalist.

In 1980, the ratio was 1.2 to 1.

These ratios, pulled from recent U.S. Department of Labor statistics, illustrate just how dramatically the media relations landscape has fluctuated in the last 40 years. Especially in 2019, it’s clear that the media industry – and by extension public relations and media relations – is shifting as a result of waves of layoffs, changes in business models and the rise of influencers and citizen journalists in the internet age.

Below, we explore the evolution of journalism, what it means for the PR industry and the role of PR pros during the transformation.

What’s the reality?
Earlier this year, local and national news organizations announced waves of layoffs as a result of traditional newsroom downsizing and budget cuts. The latest reports show more than 2,200 people lost their jobs in this latest round of layoffs, setting a dark tone for 2019.

The print industry in particular is seeing an increase in layoffs as a result of recent transitions. Between January 2017 and April 2018, at least 36 percent of the largest newspapers across the U.S. – as well as at least 23 percent of the highest-traffic digital-native news outlets – experienced layoffs, according to a PEW Research study. Additionally, buyouts and mergers have clouded the landscape in a fight to find the right business models to bring monetization and higher profitability to online media in particular.

This news is negative for all of us — journalists, media outlets, PR people, citizens and democracy.

In this landscape, it’s also important to realize the pay gap that exists between PR professionals. Back in 2000, the pay gap between the PR pros and reporters was a little more than $6,000 annually. In 2017, the difference in salary increased $16,000. With a figure like that, it’s clear why many reporters are leaving their roles and transitioning into related fields such as PR, marketing and advertising.

What does it mean?
As the audience of journalists shrinks and number of PR pros grows, it’s harder than ever to get media coverage. Because journalists are heavily outnumbered, they are constantly bombarded with pitches.

To combat the clutter, PR pros must tailor each message to specific reporters and think like a journalist by following some basic journalistic principles such as:

  • Avoid selling and start storytelling, as journalists and as PR professionals, our first goal is storytelling, not selling.
  • Know what’s newsworthy by following five key elements to newsworthiness: timing, significance, proximity, prominence and human interest.
  • Understand your audience by asking: Who are your customers? Who are your clients? And, who are the ideal readers of the story you’re hoping to tell?
  • Verify and research your content, from media pitch, a white paper or a thought leadership article.
  • Strategically structure your writing by following the traditional pyramid model. Your most important and most interesting content belongs at the very top of the pyramid.


What can we do about it?
Despite the many changes brought on by the digital revolution, there continues to be an ongoing need for a new, yet free and honest, press that can be supported by PR pros.

The PR industry should be dedicated to supporting the growth of traditional and non-traditional journalism, and PR pros can have a profound impact on the evolution of journalism by engaging in activities such as:

  • Read news to learn more about the topics impacting your clients, the community and the world at large. This can also help you learn the names and styles of key journalists that you’re wanting to build a relationship with.
  • To directly fund journalism, you should individually support or encourage your agency or company to subscribe to news outlets locally, as well as publications in client verticals.
  • Develop new skills that can make the jobs of journalists easier, such as learning how to use a DSLR camera or write a concise headline to increase the odds of a story being picked up.
  • Consider working with non-traditional media, such as influencers and citizen journalists to spread client stories.
  • Hire journalists looking for a career change to the PR profession, as their skills and inside know-how are invaluable for storytelling and pitching efforts.


No matter how much the media industry shifts, one fact remains: Both professions will continue to work together and rely on one another for many decades to come.

Is your business looking for a way to cut through the clutter and reach key journalists? Contact Lauryn Gray at lauryn@dittoepr.com to schedule a consultation today!






How to Amplify Coverage on Social Media

At Dittoe PR, we often say that media relations is our “bread and butter,” but what does that really mean? Typically, we win big for our clients in securing national, local, and trade media coverage, and we’re always hungry for that next piece of media interest. While we always make sure to show the value of a piece of coverage to our clients, we can also help our clients amplify that coverage on their social media channels, as well as ours.

Why share coverage on social media? For starters, studies show that in 2019 there will be an estimated 2.27 billion social media users around the globe. Yes, that is billion with a “B.” With that many people, you’d be amiss to risk losing out on even a fraction of that audience.

So, I’m breaking down the different social media channels and how sharing coverage on each can help boost your brand.

Facebook
Ah, Facebook. Full of distant relatives and people you went to high school with, it can seem impossible to be seen through the noise on this platform. The key here is to utilize the colorful images that populate when you share the link to that great piece of coverage your stellar PR firm helped you secure.

Keep the caption short and let the headline do the talking, but be sure to tag the media outlet! You can also boost or turn a piece of coverage into an ad, which is a tactic best used with high-caliber media hits. This will help drive new audiences back to your page as well as to the piece of coverage, increasing the chances of a click-thru to your website from multiple avenues.

LinkedIn
Similar to Facebook, LinkedIn is great for sharing coverage as a status update. You can utilize the same tactics by creating a snappy caption and letting the link, photo and the headline do the talking. You can also use LinkedIn’s targeted ads to share coverage directly to your target audiences and potential customers, helping to increase your brand recognition and showcase accomplishments.

As an executive or company spokesperson, you can also share any media interviews you’ve conducted on your personal LinkedIn page under your current job description, allowing the coverage to live permanently on your profile.

Twitter
Twitter is one my personal favorite places to share coverage because you can mix it up. You can oftentimes tag not only the publication, but the reporter as well, increasing your chances of a retweet and getting your content in front of more people. If the outlet or reporter that covered you shares the story, make sure to retweet them. This helps build a great relationship with outlets and reporters and can help generate coverage in the future if they know you’ll help them boost their own engagement numbers as well.

You can also share coverage more than once, using the ICYMI (in case you missed it) tactic, as Twitter still runs off a chronological order timeline, or break down some of the top quotes from the story into a Twitter thread.

Instagram
Instagram might seem a little tricky for sharing coverage, since you can’t link out to a story in your caption. Not to worry, there are plenty of ways around this. If you monitor your social media accounts daily, you can update the link in your bio to a recent piece of coverage. Posting a photo of the article in your feed and using #linkinbio will tell your followers how to find that specific media story.

Our favorite method though, is Instagram stories. If you run a verified account (or have 10,000+ followers), you can add a link to your stories that will direct people to a piece of coverage. If not, feel free to post photos or videos of the article in your story for your users to see your company name in the spotlight. Just seeing your name in the press is enough to strengthen and increase brand awareness.

In the end, social media will never be a “one-size-fits-all” game. What works on Twitter won’t necessarily work on Facebook, and what works on Facebook may still need tweaked in order to be impactful on LinkedIn. Take time to customize each post for the audience and platform to ensure the best results.

Now that you know how to share great media coverage, perhaps you need help securing some? Contact Lauryn Gray at lauryn@dittoepr.com to set up a consultation today!








Dittoe PR Takes On Swell of New Wisconsin Clients

2019 has gotten off to a great start for Dittoe PR, as we recently added two new clients to our roster – and they both happen to be based in Beloit, Wisconsin! In January, we kicked off partnerships with Geronimo Hospitality Group, the hospitality team behind award-winning boutique hotels, restaurants and clubs in Wisconsin and Indianapolis, and Beloit College, a private liberal arts college and the oldest continuously-operated college in the state of Wisconsin.

While we will be developing and executing very different PR strategies for these two clients, our mission is the same: to proactively shape narratives that influence behavior and invoke change.

Geronimo Hospitality Group
Geronimo Hospitality Group owns and operates seven restaurants, four hotels, two golf facilities, two fitness centers and one event center. The properties are located in Beloit, Delafield and Janesville in Wisconsin and Indianapolis.

We first began working with the Geronimo team in April 2017, tasked with promoting and securing media coverage surrounding the grand opening of Ironworks Hotel Indy. Our partnership has lasted long beyond the hotel’s grand opening, and our team has since worked on a variety of projects to keep Ironworks Hotel in the news consistently, including media relations, content creation, social media operation, event planning and more. Ironworks Hotel has been covered at the national, trade, local and regional levels through our various media relations efforts, which include events, retail tenant updates, seasonal happenings at the hotel and much more. We also oversee all social influencer relations for the hotel, working with local and regional influencers to help promote the hotel and its unique amenities.

In the last year and a half, we have worked to develop strong personal relationships with both the Geronimo Hospitality Group team and Ironworks Hotel Indy staff, which has enabled us to secure consistent, ongoing and impactful media coverage for the hotel in outlets such as the Indianapolis Business Journal, Indianapolis Star, USA Today, Condé Nast Traveler, Hotel Business and many others.

Going forward, Dittoe PR will manage public relations for all 16 of Geronimo’s properties, including their boutique hotels and restaurants throughout Wisconsin. A few of the Beloit establishments we are focusing on in Q1 include Hotel Goodwin, Velvet Buffalo, truk’t and Ironworks Golf Lab. Our team will also continue to oversee media relations efforts as needed for Ironworks Hotel Indy.

Dittoe PR’s top priorities for Geronimo Hospitality Group will be to generate media and social influencer coverage that leads to increased exposure and brand awareness of its properties so the local community and residents in regional cities and neighboring states keep Geronimo’s hotels, restaurants and clubs at top of mind for lodging and dining options.

The Geronimo team is made up of extremely talented, creative and hardworking individuals and we are proud and excited to grow our partnership with them in 2019.

Beloit College
Since its founding in 1846, Beloit College has been committed to providing students with a cutting-edge curriculum and has shown a continued dedication to innovative and experimental curriculum practices. In fact, Beloit College is often cited as a “Best Value” in higher education, and was ranked No. 19 on U.S. World & Report’s list of “Most Innovative Schools.”

As an institution, Beloit College prides itself on meeting students where they are and imagining futures for them that they may not have yet considered. The college offers students a multidimensional approach to higher education that focuses on personal, academic and professional growth.

Media relations and thought leadership will be the heart of our PR strategy for Beloit College. We want to generate consistent local, trade and national media coverage for Beloit College to increase awareness of the school, its unique experiences and world-class educators, and the benefits of a liberal arts education.

Our team is beyond thrilled to lead media relations, influencer relations and thought leadership efforts for Geronimo Hospitality Group and Beloit College. Think your business or organization could benefit from public relations? Or interested in hearing more about our full list of services? Contact Lauryn Gray at lauryn@dittoepr.com today.