The continuing decline of print cements case for online-based strategies

As one of the UK’s leading national papers goes online-only, the final warning has been served on traditional PR. Influence has been digitized and democratized, but this is an opportunity that public relations can seize.

The slow decline of print media has claimed a major scalp across the pond. The UK’s youngest daily newspaper, the left-leaning Independent, is to ditch its print edition and focus solely on its online version from March.

We have seen this coming for some years and US print is also in decline, but the end of the ‘Indie’ in print really does confirm what we’ve known for some years: that the future of public relations is digital.

In recent years we’ve seen the democratization of influence with the emergence of new large online players – such as Huffington Post, Buzzfeed and Mashable – and niche, interest-based bloggers and vloggers.

We live in social times. Whereas print’s sharing capacity is largely limited to waiting rooms and discarded paper on commuter trains, increased connectivity from online media means that 14% of people now share news online, typically to a peer group they have curated.

Brands increasingly have to use paid media to access target audiences and algorithms on Facebook and Twitter breathe added life into popular (‘trending’) news stories. Given a growth in app-based news access on mobile devices, a great deal of news discovery will be via the same media outlet and then shared on social.

This presents great opportunities to access groups based on genuine interest and not limited to demographics. A lot of the data is measureable and attributable. Just what PR has always been looking for.

PR’s new offering

PR has always been great at creating useful content, building relationships with influencers and the public, and managing reputations. Therefore, democratization and digitization of influence has meant given PR a potential mandate across the entire digital spectrum, and consultancies such as Paragon PR have evolved new offerings.

PR in 2016 is still about understanding audiences, but it no longer lives in a silo alongside marketing and advertising. PR can be the glue that binds content marketing, SEO, influencer relations, reputation management, community management and data analytics due to the transferable nature of the skillset required in PR.

Print may be in decline and will most likely find its niche. As the nature of news changes, so do the tactics required to inform and persuade, which is why now is such an exciting time to work in communications.

If you would like to learn more about how Paragon PR could help your communications, please contact us.

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