Where is the PR in the news media?


Photo by Nieuton May

One of the hypocrisies that always amazes me is how seldom media companies use public relations and advertising campaigns to promote themselves to potential audiences.

Newspapers may be the worst, but by no means are they exempt.

The sales teams from these media companies go out to businesses all across America and preach the gospel of promotion: “if you aren’t promoting yourself, then the next ad you run will be for your going out of business sale” was one of the favorite lines used by Kodi Wilson, one of the most gifted salespeople I have ever worked with.

But when it comes time for media companies to promote themselves, the tactics they do choose are often sad, bordering on incompetent.

TV stations dedicate unsold ad time for internal promotions. That’s great, but who is going to see these ads, if not people who have already chosen to watch? Newspapers preach the power of mass media, but then when it comes time to sell subscriptions what do they do, but telemarket and solicit one-on-one in public places, like grocery stores.

The most progressive media companies serve as sponsors of events and festivals. And while that is great, we need our media companies to step up even beyond that.

Media companies need to practice what they preach and start buying ad space to promote themselves to potential audience members who have not chosen them — and not just house ads in their own space. Those are worthless, because think about it, who is going to see them except for the audience they already have? They need to be doing proper media buys using proper media planning tactics.

Newspapers need to begin reaching out to its audience members and explain to them why they still matter.

Where are the ad campaigns about being good citizens and staying up to date with the community news? Where are the ad campaigns about civic engagement through reading? Where are the speaking tours talking about our relevance?

If we don’t believe in ourselves enough to promote our products, then why should we be surprised when nobody believes in us either?

Because, maybe that next ad we run will be our going out of business ad.

About mdgiusti

Michael Giusti is a journalist and educator. He is the Adviser and Chief Administrative Officer for the Loyola Student Media, which publishes the nationally award-winning Maroon newspaper. He has 20 years experience as a professional journalist and has worked in daily newsrooms, weekly business journals and as a freelancer for national and international publications. He holds an MBA and is passionate about media business models.
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