Coronavirus: Media update 8/4/20

Even though we’re heading towards the end of the third week since the official introduction of the lockdown, it’s evident that the status quo is still changing every day. This week has seen several important changes to key publishers and the media’s approach to the crisis, all of which is important to be aware of in order to make the right marketing and PR decisions at this time.

Below you’ll find a roundup of this week’s media news as well as insights from our interactions with journalists across national, regional and trade media titles to give you the benefit of the conversations that we’re having every day.

Publications furloughing staff

  • Like many businesses, publishers are having to take the difficult decision to furlough members of staff. This week Reach PLC announced that it’s putting a fifth of its staff on furlough. This will obviously have a knock-on effect on its titles, which include the Manchester Evening News, Liverpool Echo and Mirror, and could impact how you should contact news outlets with your stories. For example, while breaking news teams are likely to be kept, non-essential desks might be empty.
  • National and large regional outlets may just be furloughing specific departments in order to keep the larger publication running, but some titles across a number of different trades and regions have furloughed most or all of their staff. If you have long standing relationships with a specific publication or are expecting upcoming coverage, get in touch to check whether their team has been affected and if so what this means for your marketing efforts (check to see if they’ve released a statement like this one from netmag media).

This week’s popular angles

  • Journalists are becoming increasingly interested in how companies have pivoted their business models to deal with coronavirus. If, as a business, you’ve made significant changes to adapt then there’s a good chance that someone will be interested. Titles are likely to move towards this type of “solutions” based story over time in order to avoid consistently negative headlines.  
  • Some journalists are already starting to look at what the world is going to be like once all this is over, which means that “future gazing” content could prove popular. This is something that you can see a lot in the property media, with articles exploring what the housing market might look like and how buyers/sellers can benefit.
  • There are a lot of calls in the national media for experts to get in touch if they can cover a relevant topic, potentially due to the fact that we’re all facing so many new challenges (let alone a new virus) that journalists are struggling to find the knowledge they need. This could explain why fewer trade titles are asking for this sort of content, as they tend to know their sector very well rather than having to cover lots of different topics like a national title does.
  • In a similar vein, as we’re all facing new and unprecedented challenges there are also a lot of requests for practical info, such as how to navigate: holidays; finances; home schooling; relaxing; etc.

 

Know your industry

Understand how the industry at hand has been affected, as this will not only help you to work out a strong angle, but will also help you understand what the reporters that focus on that industry are dealing with. For example, the property industry is currently facing a lot of uncertainty and some serious questions – this has led the editors who cover the sector to completely reconsider both their upcoming editorial as well as their advertising, and start again. 

Eyes and Ears

Various platforms are looking for new ways to encourage higher readership figures - or even just to evaluate what their audience is doing. An online example of this is that The Telegraph is offering six months’ free subscriptions to NHS workers, which while being a nice gesture of gratitude, will grow their audience share among that demographic. At a different medium, Melanie Abbot from Radio 4’s You & Yours suspects that radio audiences are, inevitably, increasing based on the volume of engagement the show is currently getting.

Summary

With a bank holiday looming don’t forget to adjust your marketing plans accordingly and keep an eye on the news agenda, as a lot can change in just a few hours right now – never mind over the course of four days.

If you have any questions or would like any specific tips on how to communicate through this period, don’t hesitate to get in touch

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