With Media Titles Closing, What’s That Mean For PRs?

With Media Titles Closing, What’s That Mean For PRs?
SHARE
THIS



Sharon Zeev Poole (main photo), is the founder and director of boutique PR and communications agency Agent99. In this guest post, Zeev Poole takes a look at what all the closures in the media business will mean for Australia’s public relations industry…

The media and communications industry suffered another massive blow this week when Bauer Media announced the closure of eight beloved titles, including Harper’s Bazaar, Instyle, Men’s Health and Ok! Magazine. To say I am absolutely devastated, is an understatement. Having worked with Australian media outlets for over 15 years, my heart goes out to all the journalists, editors, stylists, photographers and all others affected by this decision; as these magazines were such a unique part of mine (and my team’s) upbringing, and love for the industry.

Every month the impact of COVID-19 continues to be felt full-force across our nation and our shrinking media landscape is evidence of just how deep the financial strain runs. While many industries have taken a massive hit due to the pandemic, the continual axing of seemingly thriving media channels has me, as a PR agency director, a little more than concerned.

With the latest report from PR Newswire outlining that over a third (37 per cent) of APAC businesses are seeking to increase their earned media budget in the next financial year, the gears in my head are already starting to turn as to how the media landscape will accommodate this hunger. If I (and I’m sure many others) are really honest with ourselves, with a comparatively solid start to containing the pandemic, we possibly got a bit ahead of ourselves and thought that Australia would conquer this beast quickly and resume our old habits within a month or two. However, as cases surge once again, I am finally forced to sit at my (home) office and dwell upon that terrifying question…what is next for PR if the media market continues to shrink?

Please don’t misinterpret me, this is not a ‘what about me’ story. I think it’s an unnerving question that many agencies are scared to ask themselves. And ironically, more than ever, organisations are seeing the immeasurable value of organic, earned media pieces.  So, with less platforms to amplify brand messages, where do we go from here?

GO BACK TO BASICS, BUT ALSO DO NOT WASTE ANY TIME TO EVOLVE

One of my team members decided to use her COVID-19 isolation time to undertake a personal goal: completing her masters degree in communication. While I was very excited for her to take on this challenge, I was more impressed to hear her reasoning behind it. She chose to do a masters as it was a deep-dive into communications theory, something she was very passionate about. She wanted to go back to basics as to why PR was developed and the purpose it serves in our community today.

I think many communications professionals (myself included) often lose sight of why we entered the industry to begin with…we love communicating with people and making a difference with a simple message.

But if anything can be taken from our experience now, it’s that each day brings a new and unique challenge, with earned media becoming increasingly more difficult to attain across the board.  So, going back to basics of exemplary storytelling and boundless creativity will be the only way good agencies will survive.

Agencies will also need to evolve from their ‘bread and butter’ earned media capabilities, and instead become highly agile, diversifying their offerings like never before.

It’s time to go from being a ‘one-hit-wonder’ to a ‘one-stop-shop’ agency – irrespective of size.

If agencies and PR professionals want to onboard new clients and prove value ‘in lieu of media awareness’ per se, they will need an integrated approach that uses all the best aspects of PR, digital marketing and social, to drive visibility, engagement and meaningful results for their clients.

JOURNALISM AND PR INTEGRATION WILL BE KEY

While my team prides itself on strong media relations capabilities, the reality is that we are in the middle of a pandemic and journalists are rightfully prioritising breaking news stories, making our ability to achieve media cut through that much harder.

As outlets like the Bauer titles cease operations, the publications that remain will be limited to writing hard-hitting news stories or very niche content, whilst lifestyle stories will be reduced to shorter columns and features.

PRs cannot expect the same things from journalists as they did before, and vice versa. Journalists are becoming even more time poor than they’ve ever been and PRs are becoming desperate to secure placements for brands. It’s a lose-lose situation, but it doesn’t have to be.

Where the two roles can really find harmony is in genuine, relevant content that is specifically targeted and has a place within the wider network of the community.

While Agent99 would have loved to launch the new book of one of its real estate authors in March, COVID-19 had other plans. Instead of hitting pause, we saw a unique opportunity to pivot our strategy and give journalists a credible expert to discuss the changes and developments in the real estate industry due to the effects of the pandemic.

This resulted in far greater success long-term for our client than the book launch ever could have. While our relationships with journalists might look different from here on out, they are still there and ready to be nurtured.

REFRAME THE KPIs

Setting KPIs from the outset are a brilliant way for agencies to provide a scope for what can be achieved through a marketing campaign. However, in light of the media landscape changing drastically, agencies will need to ensure client/brand expectations are reframed, and that KPIs are set in line with a broader suite of tactics that ultimately achieve the set objectives.

One of Agent99’s long-term clients has been successfully putting a product release into market every quarter for the past 2 years, with resounding results each time. Now however, that same approach is met with far greater difficulty, with journalists advising they are not writing lifestyle content or require a budget.

Whilst we evolve our strategy to ensure we continue to deliver on our KPIs, despite it being a sticky subject, client education is key alongside this. Agencies will need to reassure clients that results and value can still be very much achievable; this may not look the same in all its guises.

As I sit down with my team and discuss the challenges ahead, I am excited to push our boundaries and think about the bigger picture for our agency and the communications industry as a whole. Yes, some days can be terrifying, but PR isn’t going anywhere; it will just be the new age that’s been evolving for quite some time  – but just on steroids.

Please login with linkedin to comment

Agent99

Latest News

Young woman camping on the beach, carrying surfboard at night
  • Partner Content

New ‘Future Of Work’ Gives Reckitt Employees A Choice

Reckitt has leveraged internal research to launch its new Future of Work Strategy. The research uncovered key highlights for employees working for the consumer healthcare organisation in Australia, which form the foundations on which the Reckitt Future of Work model was created. Completely based around flexibility, the approach offers employees a hybrid model where they […]

Partner Content

by Reckitt

A young smarty pants ponders the meaning of the universe. It is never too early to be smart.
  • Marketing
  • Partner Content

An Educated Guess: Three Ways Hypothesis-Based Marketing Can Work For You

With Google abolishing third-party cookies and Apple continuing to push privacy-first solutions, marketers are on the lookout for new ways to reach engaged customers, while remaining compliant with rules and regulations. To help these marketers, Australian data commercialisation company smrtr has recently released a new whitepaper Through the Looking Glass: The Rise of Hypothesis-based Marketing. The whitepaper looks […]

Partner Content

by smrtr

GET YOUR SKATES ON: Entries For This Year’s Women In Media Awards Close Today!
  • Advertising
  • Marketing
  • Media

GET YOUR SKATES ON: Entries For This Year’s Women In Media Awards Close Today!

We’ve dished out plenty of reminders, but believe us when we say that NOW is the time to submit your entry for B&T’s Women in Media Awards 2021, presented by Are Media. On-time entries for this year’s Women in Media Awards close TODAY (Monday 21 June at 5pm AEST). And, while you can submit entries after this date for […]

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Bangkok, Thailand - July 22, 2019 : iPhone user touching Tinder logo on iPhone screen to open the app.
  • Media

Nearly Half Of Australians Say They’re Addicted To Their Phones

A recent report by reviews.org has found that 46 per cent of Australians say they are addicted to their phones. Reviews.org also found that Australians spend 17 years of their life, and an average of five hours a day, staring at their phones. 1,000 Australians were interviewed for the report, which found some startling insights […]

Drunk Welsh Footy Fan Takes Tumble Out Of Local Pub During Live TV Cross
  • Media

Drunk Welsh Footy Fan Takes Tumble Out Of Local Pub During Live TV Cross

Wales has proven itself the surprise package of EURO 2020, advancing to the final 16 over the weekend over more fancied rivals. It was the team’s 2-0 win over Turkey last Thursday that caught everyone’s attention and gave the Welsh enough for-and-against points to advance through to the semis. Welsh TV station S4C also got […]

After Eleven Years, Manu Feildel’s Seven Contract Comes To An End
  • Media

After Eleven Years, Manu Feildel’s Seven Contract Comes To An End

celebrity chef Manu Feildel, best known for hosting My Kitchen Rules, will see his contract with Seven end this month. My Kitchen Rules, initially a ratings juggernaut for Seven, ended in 2020. Despite persistent rumours that the show would make a comeback in 2022, in a May interview with TV BlackBox, Seven’s director of programming Angus […]

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Zurich Extends Partnership With Melbourne Football Club
  • Marketing

Zurich Extends Partnership With Melbourne Football Club

Zurich has been co-principal partner of Melbourne Football Club since 2018 and the sponsorship arrangement broadened in 2020 when Zurich also became Co-Principal Partner of the club’s AFLW team. CEO of Zurich life & investments, Justin Delaney, expressed his excitement at being able to continue the successful partnership. “We’re thrilled to extend our partnership with […]

dentsu ANZ Expands Merkle To Become Lead CXM Brand & Merges Isobar Into BWM
  • Advertising
  • Media

dentsu ANZ Expands Merkle To Become Lead CXM Brand & Merges Isobar Into BWM

dentsu Australia today announced it has launched a unified Merkle-led CXM proposition to the local market that brings together Data Transformation, Digital Transformation, and CX Consulting to create the most specialised CX practice in Australia, under its Merkle brand.

iHeartPodcast Network Australia And The New York Times Agree Podcast Ad Sales Deal
  • Advertising
  • Media

iHeartPodcast Network Australia And The New York Times Agree Podcast Ad Sales Deal

ARN and The New York Times have reached an agreement for ARN to become the advertising sales representative for The New York Times’s podcast portfolio in Australia. The deal will enable Australian brands to connect with Australian listeners to The New York Times’s most popular podcasts, such as The Daily, Serial and This American Life, […]

Study: Aussie Shoppers Still Buy On Price, But Emotion & Ethics Increasing Drivers
  • Marketing

Study: Aussie Shoppers Still Buy On Price, But Emotion & Ethics Increasing Drivers

Cost continues to hold considerable influence on brand loyalty, yet emotional connections and ethical values are also becoming key loyalty drivers, according to new consumer research commissioned by Emarsys. Emarsys has launched its first annual Loyalty Index which seeks to understand whether ‘true’ loyalty still exists and what it looks like today. The company surveyed over […]

Verizon Media Academy Ends For 2021 With Youth Charity Pitch-Off
  • Advertising
  • Media

Verizon Media Academy Ends For 2021 With Youth Charity Pitch-Off

Verizon Media’s talent program has come to an end for the third year, closing with a hybrid pitch-off event for Musicians Making A Difference (MMAD). The Verizon Media Academy class of 2021, made up of 44 emerging leaders from across Australia and New Zealand media, advertising and marketing industry, were given just one hour to […]

Industry’s Gamers Unite For UnLtd’s Virtual Rocket League Comp
  • Advertising
  • Marketing
  • Media

Industry’s Gamers Unite For UnLtd’s Virtual Rocket League Comp

Social purpose organisation UnLtd’s Big Games competition has raised a combined $85,000 for children and young people at risk. Running over five weeks, the competition involved 32 teams from across the advertising, marketing and media industries battling it out virtually for a chance to qualify for the Rocket League final. The tournament culminated in a […]

Sam Worthington And Phoebe Tonkin To Star In New Stan Original Film ‘Transfusion’
  • Media

Sam Worthington And Phoebe Tonkin To Star In New Stan Original Film ‘Transfusion’

Stan has announced that the Stan Original Film Transfusion commenced filming in Sydney earlier this week and will premiere on Stan in 2022. Transfusion is a taut, muscular thriller starring Sam Worthington (Avatar) as Ryan Logan, a former Special Forces operative, who is battling to cope with life after the loss of his wife and is thrust […]

COVID-19 Saw Stock Imagery Return To Harmful Gender Stereotypes
  • Advertising
  • Marketing

COVID-19 Saw Stock Imagery Return To Harmful Gender Stereotypes

According to a decade of data collected by iStock, Australian brands turned to imagery depicting outdated gender stereotypes during the pandemic. Tracking the keyword ‘women’, iStock by Getty Images found that in 2020, ANZ brands and businesses reverted to gender stereotypes. Images of mothers home-schooling were used at almost twice the rate of images of […]

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Maddison Connaughton Ends Time As Editor Of The Saturday Paper
  • Media

Maddison Connaughton Ends Time As Editor Of The Saturday Paper

Schwartz Media is congratulating Maddison Connaughton on her three years as editor of The Saturday Paper. Connaughton has decided to finish up her editorship this month. “It’s been an honour to edit the paper,” Connaughton said. “The Saturday Paper is one of the brightest voices in Australian media and I have been happy to see […]