When it comes to media trends emerging and ambitious brands need to know, no one knows that better than top PR agencies. Many things are driving media changes; social media is one. But so is the decrease in advertising revenue for publications, which drives a need for publications to get creative. You’ve probably seen an uptick in publications behind paywalls; that’s but one-way media outlets are changing revenue streams. PR firms need to be aware of the entire media landscape and provide their clients with the latest best practices; after all, expertise at the heart of what a leading PR agency does. These are the top 3 media trends emerging and ambitious brands need to know.
2024 Media Trend #1: Lead with Top Quality Content Creation
Be prepared to contribute content. This is an especially critical need for emerging industries and ambitious brands. Since the dawn of the internet, creating content has been a critical tent pole to any strategic PR or marketing plan. The difference today is that there is more opportunity to contribute content to premium outlets, from Entrepreneur Magazine to Forbes. Not only will this contributed content provide you with a premium platform, but your brand and voice will benefit from the media cache for social proof and SEO. It’s a win-win.
To be clear, this isn’t like writing a blog post; this content is a hybrid between earned content and owned content because it still goes through a stringent editorial process. This process can be very frustrating to time-crunched CEOs or marketing pros used to writing in a promotional rather than editorial style. Lean on your PR experts for this type of content; our team ghostwrites regularly and knows how to work with editors to reduce editorial friction and increase publishing speed.
Your owned content is perhaps your most valuable asset; besides controlling the message, it’s the most prominent voice of your brand. Some of this content should include very high-quality content targeted toward stakeholders and decision-makers, while other content should be for your consumers, and yet still other content can be for your SEO. There are many ways to maximize your content output and drive it to the right people. Many brands are loath to add their blog to the home page of their site as they don’t want too many distractions on their home page. As a digitally savvy PR firm, we can appreciate that concern. We employ several strategies to overcome this concern, but one is categorizing your content to appear in the right places. Your owned content is valuable. Ensure you’re using the right content for the right audiences in the right place.
Perhaps the most important media trend media trend emerging and ambitious brands need to know: premium content is premium because it’s thoughtful and useful to the reader. One rarely gets this kind of content straight out of ChatGPT or other AI-generated content programs. That’s not to say that these platforms aren’t helpful, but it is to say it should be used strategically. Make your content stand out by creating truly elevated content. The internet will appreciate it, and so will your brand.
2024 Media Trend #2:Today’s Sponsored Content
Open your mind to the world of sponsored content. Sponsored content has been around for a very long time, too, but today, it’s a broad term that covers everything from influencer content to a single piece of content and even a multitude of storyline features in a publication. For emerging industries and ambitious brands today’s sponsored content should absolutely be in the mix.
Some outlets have expansive brand partnerships where brands sponsor a section of coverage but leave editorial oversight to the publication. In these cases, brands sponsor content that their target audience would read rather than require articles about the brand. This premium tactic elevates the brand in the eyes of editors and customers. While this is a paid opportunity, and top publications offer no quid pro quo on these arrangements, editors are aware of who their top advertisers are, and exposure to the editorial team will always help your case when you have news, as you will already have some level of social proof. Again, it’s important to understand the nuances of an arrangement like this, and your digitally savvy PR agency can help you navigate those waters.
Another sponsored content option can include a “sponsored” article about your company or your CEO. Sponsored content is everywhere. Some sponsored content is limited to a single outlet, and some sponsored content may be produced and distributed to a multitude of outlets.
For example, many outlets, including tier 1 outlets, offer brands the opportunity to control a specific amount of space completely; the brand writes this content, and the best practice is to disclose this content as an ad or sponsored. When I owned a magazine, we called this content “advertorial” because the space was purchased, but it integrated with the style of the magazine. Again, here, your PR agency can create compelling editorial-style content that will drive eyeballs and allow emerging and ambitious brands to maximize social proof.
Another form of sponsored content that’s growing in popularity is content created with an editorial style and provided to many outlets. You often see this style of content in daily news shows that always need content and are under reduced staffing budgets. An example of this is gadget reviews on TV morning shows. Some (not all) of that is sponsored. A producer will create a segment and numerous TV shows will pick it up.
Press releases can be considered sponsored content. When you send a press release and it is distributed across the web, those are essentially paid placements.
2024 Media Trend #3: Affiliate Content is Changing
Affiliate marketing used to be a very low-brow way of marketing a product. It was very common for affiliate marketers to create incredibly spammy content and be aggressively sell products in their content. But today, affiliate marketing has changed. Premium tier-one outlets have improved this system and upgraded it with editorial-style content that also includes affiliate links. Google punishes websites that don’t disclose affiliate links, but many media outlets find readers don’t seem more bothered about affiliate links than they are about advertising in print magazines – so long as the content is good.
Affiliate content and PR are working hand in hand these days as publications turn to new ways to drive revenue. For CPG or consumer brands, having an affiliate program is essential to productive PR coverage today.
It’s also important to understand that product PR is very cyclical. So as you consider the timing on your product PR, be sure to understand media trends and how your product fits into the media cycle. The media cycle doesn’t bend to your needs, you fit into theirs – important to keep in mind during product launch planning and other marketing programs like influencer campaigns.