The circulation figures for regional daily newspapers have all decreased.
The six-monthly ABC figures, published in February 2019, show that no title posted an increase between July and December 2018, when compared with the same period in the previous year. Some saw a year on year change as much as -37%. [Source]
With these declining figures, how valuable are regional newspapers as an outlet for PR? I
Short answer… Yes, they are still valuable, depending on the audience that you’re trying to reach. If you’ve determined that the audience for your campaign or client reads a regional paper, why wouldn’t they still be valuable?
Depends what you’re trying to achieve. They still have relevance and are trusted in their communities. Know what you’re trying to achieve and there’s your answer #PowerAndInfluence— Ben Lowndes (@blowndes) March 27, 2019
For many people they’re still the main/only source of news about their community, their decline is a tragedy for so many who don’t have the digital clout to make a fuss of it #PowerAndInfluence— Jake O'Neill (@MediaJake) March 27, 2019
But, as some pointed out during the evening’s discussions, many publications are now focusing their efforts on online content, with less budget for journalists ‘out on the beat’ as there used to be.
Some still champion local causes and have some of the best investigative reporters money can buy. Others are dying on their feet through dull, repetitive content and gossip. #powerandinfluence— ℝ𝕠𝕓𝕖𝕣𝕥 𝔾 (@CommsGuardian) March 27, 2019
I think that’s whats really difficult from a PR point of view – we know there are journalists trying and working really hard to deliver great news, but being hampered by bigger factors, there’s little we can do to help. #PowerAndInfluence— Sara Hawthorn (@saralhawthorn) March 27, 2019
And this online activity doesn’t always make easy reading with pop-ups, adverts and a plethora of content vying for your attention.
#userexperience on news websites also a huge factor. Ad placement & presentation, as well as general layout is so ill-thought on some publication sites it can feel like a real onslaught on the senses. There can be many hurdles to getting to the end of a story #PowerAndInfluence— Jule (@julewilson) March 27, 2019
So, what can we do to support regional papers? The first point, quite simply and quite obviously, is to keep buying them.
But as PRs, we can make the journalist’s job easier by providing quality, relevant content. With fewer journalists covering each patch, their time is even more valuable than before
By researching the right contact at the right publication and only sending news that may genuinely be of interest, we can help regional papers continue to be a valuable source of news for
And as Ellen Carroll so beautifully put…