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The “Death” of Media & The War of Information

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“Storytelling is the game. It’s what we all do. It’s why Nike is Nike, it’s why Apple is Apple, it’s why Walt Disney built Disney World and it’s why Vince McMahon makes a billion dollars.” ~Gary Vaynerchuk

“It’s a living hell out there” is what you’ll hear people say. You might hear that the political fervor in media is going to be its own demise.

You might also hear that you have to be online to be successful, that you must abandon all old-school business practices and focus on riding the digital information highway towards your goals.

It’s a little contradictory, wouldn’t you say? And it’s all rather…dramatic.

Well, here’s the truth—and to be blunt—“the media” is not going anywhere.

IT’S CHANGING—AND RAPIDLY. And it’s changing the way business and marketing are done.

The media is in a state of flux, and every week it can look different. It morphs, contorts and expands and is currently a mega-mind of information and distribution channels. There are more ways than ever to tell a story!

The media will also continue to change—probably faster than it’s been changing so far. Technology, social media and the thirst for knowledge will not let the media be stagnant. Consumers will demand that it run fast.

Look at how news is ingested now compared to before. From what started as perusing a print newspaper has turned into a flurry of fast thumbs scrolling through multiple sources of digital media coverage within seconds. Fact-checking used to be a long process that required months of research, but is now something done by clicking “open tab” on your web browser.

This malleable and agile beast that the media has become is one of the biggest and best sources of growth and expansion. It’s thrilling to study and work in.

Let’s pull back the curtain and see why the media is more alive than it’s ever been.

 

The Sources of the Commotion and Noise

Where is all of this noise coming from?

While there appears to be no exact location, source or person who’s the arbiter of all the bad commotion out there, we must start somewhere to get a grip on the situation.

There are multiple answers to this question which all work hand-in-hand to make things seem to be up [redacted] creek.

Insatiable Demand

The first source of this calamity is today’s insatiable demand for news and information, which has led to a consumer-driven economy—where consumers are more informed (albeit often incorrectly) and are running the show. Even The New York Times is trying to figure out how to handle this insane demand for information by putting out 230 articles a day. Every day. 365 days a year.(1)

Just take the moment that some story breaks, and we find that people are demanding answers faster than it takes to brew a cup of coffee.

FACTS:

  • Fifty-seven percent % of the business-to-business “buying process” begins ONLINE, before anyone contacts a company. Key decision-makers are spending upwards of five hours a day online looking for news and business solutions that will help them.(2)
  • They search up to twelve sources before coming to that “57%th” decision.(3) You know as much as the next guy that no one just buys something online without first consulting a few different sites or sources before making up their mind.
  • This is a consumer who’s smart, knows his or her way around a search engine and/or consults another key opinion leader—and looks right past the “marketing speak” to get to the truth behind an issue, service or product.
  • Sixty-eight percent of consumers trust the opinions of others online(4)—meaning third-party credibility is paramount.

Now, this makes any market researcher gasp a little, because who is fact-checking these people? Our money is on “nobody.”

The old joke, “I read it on the Internet, so it must be true,” starts to look like the case more and more every day.

The Court of Public Opinion

That’s where this “insatiable” consumer harms businesses—and where businesses are NOT in control. It’s what’s making the B2B marketing process so complex.

This is what is driving markets.

It’s as simple as this: the News puts out a story one day about a meat packing company, talking about the (alleged) unethical things being done there.

True or not, the public starts thinking about this company which is (allegedly) treating cows inhumanely before butchering them. The key word here is alleged.

The company may or may not have done anything wrong in the first place—but the damage is done; the court of public opinion has spoken.

This is the kind of activity that establishes “GROUPTHINK,” and just as Big Brother wanted, “opinions are dead and you must obey the social contract.” Groupthink goes further than just theories of oppression. The media, social media and the Age of Google have created echo chambers of festering groupthink.(5)

The Threat to Business Today

In fact, the ability of the consumer to self-publish might be biggest financial threat facing American businesses since the onslaught of social media in 2008.

Let me explain.

Putting all of the benefits of social media aside, let’s take the scenario where one person’s post on Facebook gets picked up by a major influencer online and goes viral.

Let’s say there was some apparent “shady hiring” that went on within the scope of a new online retailer’s hiring practices. People read a nasty headline that contains some buzzwords like “Sexist Retailer Rogue Hiring” or “Xenophobia in the Online Market” or something equally sensational, and from that point on, they join in the conversation about this company—and just like that, the perception of that company has changed.

This leads to companies going on the defensive and being reactive to what’s happening, and more often than not, leads to an improper handling of the situation or NO proactive communication whatsoever, with an insufficient estimation of the actual effort which will be required to really fill the vacuum with the correct data.

This leads to the trifecta (consumers, competitors and, most recently, FAKE NEWS) filling the void of communication that people are demanding.

 

Fail to Tell Your Story & They’ll Make It Up

Nature abhors a vacuum. Fill it, or it will be filled.(6)

Just look at BP’s infamous oil spill; their first response was to dump loads of cash into ads that apologized, instead of trying to clean up the mess.(7)

Or even during United Airlines’ mistake when they pulled a man off an overbooked plane after he wouldn’t leave of his own free will. The company bumbled in getting three messages out to fully address the problem, all while Delta was releasing statements about how they handle overbooked flights.(8)

Because neither party told the story accurately and never really filled the vacuum to the level of insatiable demand, things went very, very awry. Out. Of. Control.

Losing Control

Your company has a brand that has a story.

The average American spends 725 minutes a day with media. Now, more than ever, that story is in jeopardy with 81% of the American population being on social media.(9)

There are obvious benefits to the media and social media for business, but just as Uncle Ben told Peter Parker, with great power comes great responsibility, and to that point, you need knowledge to correctly control it.

 

FAKE NEWS—
The Newest Best Kept Secret?

“When people talk about fake news, you know, a lot of folks just roll their eyes, like ‘Oh, you know, whatever; people will figure it out.’ The truth is, they don’t always figure it out.” ~Megyn Kelly

“Living under a rock” doesn’t quite cover it where someone hasn’t heard about FAKE NEWS. We’re not going to take a deep dive into its history, implications, or anything like that.

“FAKE NEWS” is here to stay, and it may be one of the best things to happen to American businesses.

While the major media outlets are beating the drum of FAKE NEWS, there has actually been an explosion in media growth.

Case in point: Our media database has grown to 1.6 million media contacts and 300,000 digital influencers—all in real-time—with 20,000 updates per day to ensure the most current and complete information. On average, we see about two to three media categories being added per week, which is an exponential increase over just last year.

The Statistics are Staggering

National examples: Different forms of news have started to gain traction, with a 15% increase in podcast listening since 2008; online radio listenership has doubled since 2007;(10) digital advertising spending is taking up more than half of budgets;(11) the number of YouTube Channels making six figures is up 50% over last year; and there are 15,000 verified Twitter accounts of journalists, making them the highest-grossing authenticated profession, ahead of professional athletes and actors.(12)

Even with newspaper, cable and network news becoming stagnant with a quarter of Americans “cutting the cord” just last year,(13) there are now more ways than ever to get a message across. These are the vehicles through which you can send your message to targeted publics. A story is not just submitted to a local news website anymore; many similar stories are being sent to as many multiple targeted outlets as there are readers.

Hand with mobile phone texting, businessman sending sms message on smartphone

Furthermore, 89% of B2B business decision-makers are searching online by using smaller, targeted, integrated aggregates to get the whole story.(14)

The days of there being “one clear leader” are no more.

These readers might get the headline on one of the “big boys” out there, but they then go to other media sites which they consider to be more trustworthy, independent sources—those that “always shoots straight.” And they do it up to twelve times to get what they consider to be a proper view.(15) You probably do so, yourself.

That’s twelve times more opportunity for you to be in front of your prospective clientele in those news sources.

All of these sources have created a better-informed public. Pew Research Center reports that digital tech has made consumers feel even better informed about:

  • Products/services they buy (81%);
  • National news (75%);
  • International news (74%);
  • Health and fitness (65%); and
  • Local news (62%).

The proof is in the results—media is getting to people and informing them—despite what the loud minority says.

We aren’t blind to the fact that FAKE NEWS is real, and that there is a lot of false information redefining words arbitrarily or pushing political agendas—but even that is something which be turned into a benefit.

Again, nature abhors a vacuum.

Human nature fills it.

And if YOU are not filling it, “they” will.

Who are “they?” Your competitors; the news and consumers, themselves.

You are not controlling those messages—so you are not in control. But knowledge, power and control equate to more income. Nevertheless, many businesses are settling for lost revenue by exerting no control over this communication cycle.

FAKE NEWS is GOOD NEWS

The pressures of FAKE NEWS have made journalists pour the coals on in terms of the quality of their work; 91% of journalists want to get things right, and they feel that pressure (we guess that the other 9% only care about clickbait); and only 15% of people trust social media as depicting the whole story, despite trolling it for story ideas.(16)

But it seems that as more FAKE NEWS blows up, the more it lights the fire under the many media outlets’ behinds. People want to think for themselves, and with countless articles going out about how to spot FAKE NEWS (go ahead—Google it), there is no question that media is alive and well and—more importantly—impinging on publics.

The issue is this: media isn’t dead; it’s the old media model that’s dead.

 

Making Money Using the Media

The media and the court of public opinion can be controlled when one knows how to speak their language.

This is a skill which PR professionals have in their DNA.

Businesses can turn the work they do with the media into revenue. All it takes is a consistent Communications Strategy, coupled with your Marketing and Sales efforts, and you can turn your publicity efforts into a revenue-generation machine that will make your sales team very happy.

Our clients have been able to do this for years now—101% three-year growth, 679% three-year growth, 1,079% nine-month growth are just some examples of what we’ve helped our clients achieve.

“Fluffy PR” is all about talking up awards and promotions, who’s who, prim-and-proper stuff; REAL PR is about getting positioned amongst your industry’s issues, controversies and scandals and becoming a key opinion leader about the SOLUTIONS. It’s about making your voice the outstanding go-to on what’s what.

It’s about using the media as a valuable tool to bolster your message and identity inside your industry. It builds trust, confidence and reach within not only potential sales, but among others in your industry—including your competitors.

This is paramount in the B2B realm. If you’re in the B2B market, you know as well as I do that it takes more than just one click ad to win the decision-maker on the other end. We’ve already talked about how much B2B companies research before they even pick up the phone—what if all they saw were media stories about your company tackling ideas and providing solutions? It would get them kind of excited, don’t ya think?

What does PR do for a company that has its sh!t together?

Real PR promotes goodwill, expansion and results.

We’re serious. Real PR shows solid and graphable ROI; it shows tangible results in the bottom line. If that’s not happening, then it’s not REAL PR. It’s the lubrication to every marketing dollar spent on a campaign, and in a world where good ads are a dime a dozen, you need to have your marketing budget work efficiently.

We at JoTo PR know what Real PR is and what it isn’t.

Real PR is the targeted, strategized, tested, malleable tech of publicizing good works in an insatiable, news-frenzied world—consistently. It’s not just “making you look good” or “letting everyone know about the new facility.” 

Fact is: we hate “PR” more than you do

Which is why we approach it unlike other firms.

With no smoke and mirrors.

JoTo PR Disruptors’ CEO (Chief Evangelist and Anti-PR Strategist) has been through the wringer, with over 20 years of experience in the crisis management world. If there’s a problem, we’ve seen it three times.

We know it’s hard out there for businesses right now—it’s almost like drowning.

We also know how to swim.

It’s all about following the rules of DISRUPTION, EXPOSURE & INFLUENCE.

What to Do Next

Download this free E-book on
Click here:   How to Increase Corporate ROI
& Take Your Company to the Next Level!

Find out How PR Makes Marketing and Sales More Effective!

With this FREE eBook, you’ll learn how PR will specifically increase your ROI (return on investment) by…

  • Lowering Your Cost Per Lead – An informed consumer is easier to engage. A trusting consumer is more likely to close.
  • Increasing Your Marketing ROI – PR has a wide reach and can penetrate your marketplace by publicizing your story and your good works. That’s something marketing and advertising cannot do effectively.
  • Augmenting Value of Your Business – PR gives you a step-up on the competition: you will win a warm spot in the hearts of your customers, thus improving your overall value in the market.

Download this free E-book on
Click here:  How to Increase Corporate ROI
& Take Your Company to the Next Level!


 

Sources:

  1. Mullin, Benjamin. “How The New York Times Decides Which Stories to Link to (and Which Ones to Match).” Poynter. Poynter, 17 Apr. 2017. Web. 11 June 2017.
  2. Book, Joel. “Video Series: “Email: The Workhorse of 1-to-1 Marketing”.” Salesforce.com. Salesforce, n.d. Web. 11 June 2017.
  3. Schmidt, Karl, and Patrick Spenner. “CEB Blogs.” CEB Blogs B2B Sales and Marketing Two Numbers You Should Care About Comments. CEB, Gartner, 31 Mar. 2015. Web. 11 June 2017.
  4. balinas. “5 Ways Online Reviews Are Affecting Your Business [Stats].”OutboundEngine. OutboundEngine, 26 July 2016. Web. 11 June 2017.
  5. Saiidi, Uptin. “Social Media’s Political Bubble.” CNBC. CNBC, 16 Mar. 2016. Web. 11 June 2017.
  6. Hubbard, L. Ron. Based on “How to Handle Black Propaganda.” (1972): Comp. Hubbard College of Administration. HCA Reference Volume Set, Vol. VIII. pag. 205. Print. 18 June 2017. IA#17062002INT
  7. “8 Epic Communication Failures.” The Grasshopper Blog. Grasshopper, 7 June 2011. Web. 11 June 2017.
  8. Shine, Conor. “Delta Air Lines to Offer up to Nearly $10,000 to Passengers on Overbooked Flights | Airlines.” Dallas News. The Dallas Morning News, 14 Apr. 2017. Web. 11 June 2017.
  9. “U.S. Population Social Media Penetration 2017 | Statistic.” Statista. Statista, 2017. Web. 11 June 2017.
  10. Mitchell, Amy, and Jesse Holcomb. “Table of Contents.” Ornithological Monographs 76.1 (2013): n. pag. Assets PewResearchCenter. PewResearchCenter, 16 June 2016. Web. 11 June 2017.
  11. Mitchell, Amy, and Jesse Holcomb. “Table of Contents.” Ornithological Monographs 76.1 (2013): n. pag. Assets PewResearchCenter. PewResearchCenter, 16 June 2016. Web. 11 June 2017.
  12. Mullin, Benjamin. “Report: Journalists Are Largest, Most Active Verified Group on Twitter. “Poynter. Poynter, 26 Mar. 2015. Web. 11 June 2017.
  13. Schwindt, Oriana. “Cord Cutting Accelerates: Study Finds 25% of U.S. Homes Don’t Have Pay TV Service.” Variety. Variety, 15 July 2016. Web. 11 June 2017.
  14. Snyder, Kelsey, and Pashmeena Hilal. “The Changing Face of B2B Marketing.” Think with Google. Think with Google, Mar. 2015. Web. 11 June 2017.
  15. Fox, Gemini. “10+ Independent Online News Sources and Why America Needs More of Them.” Soapboxie. Soapboxie, 17 Feb. 2017. Web. 11 June 2017.
  16. Dunn, Jeff. “Most Americans Do Not Trust News They Read on Social Media, Survey Says. “Business Insider. Business Insider, 25 Jan. 2017. Web. 11 June 2017.
  17. Empirical study of U.S.A. CxOs with fast-trajectory run rate. N.d. Raw data. JoTo PR, Tampa.
  18. Millwood, Aimee. “How to Earn and Keep a Customer’s Trust.” Entrepreneur. Entrepreneur, 27 Apr. 2016. Web. 11 June 2017.
  19. Ries, Al, and Jack Trout. The Positioning Era. N.p.: Ries Cappiello Colwell, 1972. Print.
  20. Hubbard, L. Ron. Based on “The Correct Sequence of Expansion.” Comp. Hubbard College of Administration. Executive Director Comm Lines III (1965): n. pag. L. Ron Hubbard Library. Print. 20 June 2017. IA#17062002INT
  21. , Shareen. “Behind Coke’s Attempt to Unite Indians and Pakistanis with Vending Machines.” Ad Age. Ad Age, 20 May 2013. Web. 11 June 2017.
  22. “Coke Production India 1993-2015 | Statistic.” Statista. Statista, n.d. Web. 11 June 2017.
  23. Semigran, Aly. “Going to a Good Cause: Disney nature’s ‘Bears’ and Other Charitable Movies.” Bustle. Bustle, 12 May 2014. Web. 11 June 2017.
  24. Conroy, Kathleen. “Why You Need Good Business Ethics.” Edward Lowe Foundation. Edward Lowe Foundation, 22 July 2015. Web. 11 June 2017.

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