The media is dead. You are the media.
This is what I told a potential client today who contacted me wanting a publicity campaign. She had a lot of ideas about how she wanted me to get stories in the local paper and on the local news about her as an expert, just like back in the ’80s and ’90s.
Nothing is working for her. She writes tons of press releases and sends them to the media, and they don’t use them.
The reporters that used to call her and use her as an expert for her stories are gone, and the new ones don’t know her.
Here’s the deal. There has been a media revolution in the past 20 years — really accelerating in the past five to 10 years. Newspapers — as much as they are in my blood as a former newspaper reporter — are dying.
My hometown newspaper is a shadow of its former self. When I worked for it, there were two papers. I actually worked for the afternoon paper, which no longer exists. There were news bureaus in every community with two complete staffs — one for the morning and one for the afternoon paper. Not only do they no longer exist, the paper is selling its huge home office and moving into a leased office in another part of town. It has cut its editorial staff to the bone.
This is not unique. It’s happening all over the country.
Local TV stations have similarly cut their reporting staffs. No longer do reporters have the luxury of working on long enterprise stories about medical breakthroughs or investigative stories about city government. Ninety percent of what they do is crime, weather or traffic. It’s “fast” news. It’s headlines. Stuff they can grab, edit and dish out quickly.
So, as I told my prospect today, it just doesn’t make sense to spend a whole bunch of money chasing the mass media. Twenty years ago when I was pitching the media for my employer, it did. I could get pretty decent results. I didn’t always get story placement on the front page, but if I had a decent story to pitch, I could usually get a story in the paper. But that’s just not true today. There is just way, way too much competition for the number of column inches available.
What’s the answer?
The answer is to be the media. You have the power of the pen. Today you have the power to publish online. You can communicate with anyone in the world. Publishing is now democratic! In fact, this is why mass media is in trouble. We’ve removed the gates. They are no longer the gatekeepers. They don’t get to say who can play and who can’t. We get to say! You, and you, and I get to say who can publish!
If you want to communicate with your customers and potential customers, meet them online. That’s where they are. You just need to build a path for them. And the way to build a path is through inbound marketing. Inbound marketing is the strategy — it is comprised of a groups of tactics: SEO, blogging, social media, landing pages, ebooks, email, and others. When combined in a focused, organized and consistent campaign, it is the most effective and least expensive way to market your business.