Only time I’ll mention the impeachment

It started:

PR people are asking me how to get coverage for anything non-impeachment-related.

And it’s only going to get worse as we get deeper into the election year. All politics, all the time.

For everything else, there’s virtually no chance of landing a prominent spot on a national news site’s home page. Trying to pitch CNN/Fox News/MSNBC? Forget it, until maybe Thanksgiving.

But there is a different media trend that works in your favor to get around this problem. And that’s the fragmentation of audiences by topics.

Today’s publishers don’t target audiences based on where they live. They target audiences based on what they like.

Media executives use terms such as “passion points” and “obsessions” when describing their strategy of offering a suite of websites or video channels based around popular topics.

The way you earn coverage in the face of this political onslaught is to target outlets that don’t cover politics at all. That are laser-focused on your subject matter. That’s where the land-grab is now for readers and viewers.

One example – the startup online sports site The Athletic is gutting the sportswriting staffs of daily papers around the country. It’s succeeding because it’s not trying to be all things to everyone in, say, Orlando. It’s trying to be all things to sports fans in Orlando, and sports fans everywhere else.

Another example – a few months ago, two media companies merged, and you might not have noticed. What’s instructive is the portfolio of complementary niches that the new combined company can now boast.

The acquiring company was Vox. It already owned the following web brands in the respective verticals:

– The Verge – tech
– Eater – food
– Curbed – home
– SB Nation – sports
– Polygon – gaming
– Vox – explaining the news

And they bought New York Media, the company that published New York magazine, plus these brands:

– The Cut – style
– Grub Street – food
– Intelligencer – politics
– The Strategist – shopping
– Vulture – pop culture

You see the emphasis on focus, as opposed to breadth? Audiences are splintering into tribes. And media executives know that the way to get more eyeballs is NOT to broaden out coverage into more topics. The way to success is to acquire outlets that already own the audiences who have clustered around those topics.

So your takeaway is:

To succeed in this coming year of political overwhelm, become an expert on the topic(s) most relevant to your organization. Focus on vertical media, not local or national. Become useful to the audiences who flock to that topic, and you’ll be indispensable to the journalists who are scrambling to serve them.

I explained more about trends affecting PR in the coming year in my latest training for my Inner Circle members. Based on their interest, I’m going to drill more specifically into changes in the media landscape later in the year.

We’re closed to new members right now, but later you can be a part of the Inner Circle and access this insider intel. Register for our Wait List to get free bonuses and be alerted when we open up again.

This article was originally published on January 23, 2020

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