Public relations struggling with the content avalanche

Public relations as it was, as it had been prior to the past decade, is dead. The idea that we can simply pick up the phone, call a journalist, earn a placement, and see massive impact is gone. We now compete for share of voice, share of eye, and share of mind with millions of news stories a month, plus millions of apps available to every smartphone.

Despite a decline in the number of traditional journalists, the media landscape is more crowded than ever. Take a look at the number of news stories per quarter, as measured by the Google News database of accredited news sources:

News Stories Per Quarter
  • It took from 1979 to 1995 to publish just over 18 million news stories.
  • In 2009 did we exceed 18 million stories per year.
  • A scant 6 years later, in the second quarter of 2016, we published 18,452,168 stories per quarter.

By 2021, we may be publishing 18 million stories per month.

We might be able to get a story about our company placed in a publication, but in that vast sea of content, no one is paying attention. No one will notice one more story amidst millions. We are well past Mark W. Schaefer’s content shock, in which marketers create more content than humans can possibly consume. This is a content avalanche — and it’s only going to get worse.

Consider this recent story: Minor League baseball reports from the Associated Press are now machine-generated. Publishers are turning to machines to create even more content, to scale content production even faster. 18 million stories per quarter could easily become 18 million stories per day once machines take over the news cycle.

So, should we public relations professionals simply hang up our hats? If you’re unwilling to change, perhaps.

But for those of us who believe that attention, awareness, and trust are valuable, we must adapt. We must innovate.

We must reinvent public relations.

In this new eBook, learn the three ways we can reinvent public relations: becoming data-driven. Embracing customer journey analysis. Developing innovating practices.

Learn how to get started, and what it will take to transcend the noisy media landscape we live in. Download your copy today:

Download our new eBook, Reinventing Public Relations

Christopher S. Penn
Vice President, Marketing Technology


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