It was sad news to hear the Chicago Sun Times fired the entire photography staff (28 people) at the end of May. This story, which didn’t merit many headlines nor involve a paper I read, touched me in a big way. It seems blurry smart phone images with heads chopped off along with writing rife with rumor presented as fact are now considered good enough from an industry that used to be proud.
I spent some time as a newspaper staffer in the sports department of a city daily during my younger years. I witnessed the dedication and pride of reporters in all departments as they put their issues to bed (our department was one of the last to fill later editions) along with the flurry and focus of the four who came in to cover the night shift pulling wire stores and crafting headlines to fit. It was an amazing experience that taught me more than I would have imagined about the nature of newspapers and the people who pull together to create the content. One thing I realized is pay rates are low so pride serves as the primary substitute. Or at least it used to.
Why do decision makers seem to think dreck will sell better?
Times have changed, of course, but there’s still that joy that comes from seeing the results from someone who’s really honed their craft. Whether it’s a journalist that digs deep to get an interviewee so comfortable they’re sharing things in a new and intimate way, a photographer or illustrator that grabs you with the moment they capture or a columnist that offers uncanny perspectives, that sense that you’re reading or seeing something from craftsman and kindred spirit is remarkable.
Newspapers make money from advertising revenue with fees based on circulation. Reducing the quality of what’s delivered isn’t likely to increase subscribers.
The old model may be broken (print subscribers = ad pricing benchmarks), but cutting costs by eliminating employees who provide the wow factor isn’t the answer. Successful publications are getting creative and responsive in how they offer what consumers want.
Small businesses can glean insight from media marketing strategy moves
It’s kismet that print media is now suffering the scrutiny and judgment they previously wielded with abandon. Publications that haven’t adopted to the morphed consumer needs in today’s digital age are struggling. These missteps serve as good lesson on what not to do. Many are thriving, though, with a diversified and responsive marketing strategy approach.
The sinking ships are being reactive vs. proactive. Cutting costs works if you do it in the right places – but short-term thinking won’t do much for your long-term gains. Smart publications are investing more into their creative team to set them apart. Floundering ones are stuffing pages with donated content and no consideration for what the reader seeks – let alone a strategy to ensure it’s delivered.
The advent of the internet has resulted in a physical disconnect. Economic challenges in much of the world are producing more careful spending decisions. Customers are looking for personal and meaningful connections. Those business owners who are able to identify what will resonate with today’s consumer will win over those alienated by others who don’t.
Making a memorable difference in someone’s life is what counts today
What do your clients (or prospects) really want?
- Is your audience Baby Boomers seeking someone who can provide information or support in a way that’s easy for them to understand? If you craft a contemporary geek message, you probably will miss the mark.
- Looking to appeal to Generation Y? It’s best to keep your messages and requests for information short.
- Are women your primary audience? Relationship building will be important if you expect them to buy.
- Think your best market is the health conscious parents? Include families in the message and delivery to gain stronger appeal.
- Selling hobby or career development products? Make them available in as many formats as possible (print, digital, audio, video, etc.). Chances are the more options you provide, the more each will sell (people may first buy a digital book, then realize they want a hard copy or an audio or video product too).
· What’s most important is to get to know your audience. Understand how they prefer to get their information. Talk to them in ways that are relatable. Offer what’s missing in the mix. Make them feel like you get what they’re going through – and know how to help
Watching media fails and wins can provide some great insight into how to make better marketing strategy decisions for your small business. Why not learn from the mistakes and coups of those who make the news (sometimes in ways they’d rather not)? Consider how you can make headlines with small business achievements you’re proud to shout about. It’s not hard.
Why not start with a shout out on your achievements in the comments below? While you’re here, please take a moment to add some social share kindness with the easy buttons to the left of this post. Thanks!