Last year, we charted the initial impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the media, witnessed how it accelerated media’s shift to digital platforms but also underlined how important good journalism is.
But what does this mean for the future of the UK’s media industry?
One obvious change is the acceleration of digital, which has happened across all areas of domestic and corporate life. The rapid growth of digital media channels means in the short term at least; publishers need to invest in new technology and bridge the gap in advertising revenue made online versus in print. With more platforms to reach audiences than ever before, few media houses can properly represent themselves across all so must be selective and concentrate efforts to make the biggest return. We’ll see a shift in traditional journalistic skills, and PR professionals will require a greater understanding of how brand stories can be successfully rolled out for different virtual audiences.
Transparency and diverse representation
Last year drew public attention to social and political inequality. Previously company values and CSR strategies have been considered the fluffier, friendly side of the corporate machine. Now consumers and employees alike expect businesses to lead alongside governments in order to solve global problems. As a result, internal policies and people management will be under constant scrutiny. Communications will play an important role in upholding ethics and values in peacetime as well as during crises.
The media has also experienced backlash and will be looking to use imagery that better represents society and shares a diverse range of voices. Where brand communicators can support this plight, they can expect more visibility.
Growth for radio and podcasts
Spending more time living and working at home has grown radio audiences and encouraged podcast streaming. The power of speaking directly to consumers still packs a powerful punch and can forge authentic connections with prospective customers and earn trust. Many publishers, newspapers and traditional print media developed their own podcast and radio offering a number of years ago but expect renewed interest in this area.
Coupled with the stories function on Instagram, Facebook, and now Twitter, brands will focus on developing face-to-face conversation, and influencer channels will continue to grow in importance. Yet, to avoid public backlash, further due diligence is vital in order to avoid working with personalities who may not align with company values and ethics. We have already seen a number of celebrities, and online influencers remonstrated for breaking Covid guidelines or businesses failing to engage a diverse slate of brand ambassadors.
Make space for fun!
We may have entered into a new year, but general 2020 sentiment prevails among the public and continued “bad news” is leading to widespread despondency. Over the past 10 months, the media has delivered two content extremes. On the one hand, the news agenda has been dominated with serious and grave stories associated with the virus, racial injustice and child poverty. On the other, the absurd and light-hearted made headlines. From the heroic acts of Captain Tom to viral TikTok dances and the national obsession with Tiger King and Bridgerton, the media has focused on delivering fun distractions. Communication strategies can add to the story, creating content that plays on popular culture or carves out something new for consumers to cut through pandemic fatigue.
To discuss your media strategy, contact our Director of PR and Content, Caroline Walker on 01732 779 087.