Last night, I went to the ‘Blogosphere’ magazine launch party, featuring Victoria from In The Frow (pictured) on it’s cover. It was attended by a load of bloggers, and at the end, we were all given incredible goody bags.
It made me think how 15 years ago, brands were clamouring to give goody bags to magazine journalists. I suppose they still are, but they also really really want the bloggers to have their products.
It got me thinking about two recent articles by Press Gazette, which have been packed with staggering detail about how the media landscape is changing as a result of ‘online disruption’, including
- How the new industry will lose up to £500 million in revenue to online platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Apple news.
- How 41 per cent of UK millennials now rely on social media or shared content for their news, rather than established news brands.
- How the founder of online news site Vice is describing the current changes as ‘scary, fast and ugly’ and says that news companies have to change to cater to younger generations who consume media on multiple screens.
No wonder many journalists feel like the end is nigh.
While I can’t imagine our major media brands disappearing, they’re definitely all cutting costs which means journalism no longer has the potential to be the lucrative career it once was (and for those who thought all journalists are poverty stricken, trust me when I say there are plenty of journalists – of which I was once one – earning large sums for their work).
But if you’re in business, then wow. What a gift this change really is. What an opportunity is opening up.
Let me explain.
It only feels like yesterday that age 25, I rocked up to the Daily Mail (wearing a pair of Birkenstocks, I hadn’t yet got the memo that the editor prefers nude court shoes…..), filled with excitement about becoming a part of such a huge media brand.
I duly sat down on the features desk, started typing and didn’t stop for another 3 years….. (ok so not quite but you get the picture).
Then, I used to go to tons of events and get plied with goodies, just like the bloggers were being last night.
Yet when I think back to how we worked then and the technology we didn’t have – for example, if we were out of office and needed to file content, we had to queue for phone boxes to read our copy outloud over the phone to ‘copytakers’ – well, it feels well and truly like the olden days.
If anyone outside of our world who wanted to promote themselves or their business, they had no choice but to pin one of us down and do, say or wear whatever we needed in order to get coverage.
Us staff on major media outlets were the gatekeepers to reaching audiences and promotion.
How things are different today
I’m never going to say coverage in major media outlets and on tv isn’t important. It’s what I do, it brings huge credibility and it can transform the fortunes of businesses and profiles of individuals – and that will continue to be the case even in the future when all journalists are under 25 and willing to accept extremely lower salaries.
I have seen for instance this week the power of this coverage, when my book, The Million Dollar Blog, was featured in the Metro, and immediately it’s sales rank on Amazon improved fourfold!
But it’s not the only way
Nobody in today’s world, with a laptop and an internet connection, is powerless unless a journalist says ‘yes’ to featuring them. Noone has to wait and wait and wait for lady luck to make it their turn to go into a magazine or on radio.
Everyone can type, write, create, publish and start building their own audience.
In one of the articles in Press Gazette, Toby Chapman, associate partner at OC&C Strategy Consultants who carried out some of this research, said: “It’s already a familiar story in other industries such as music, and now the news industry looks next in line for platform disruption’.
He proposes as “collaborative, industry-wide response” to the growth of online platforms in order to “retain control” of the market.
It’s like the taxi drivers rallying against Uber. Yes it’s annoying/upsetting/devastating when you’re a black cabbie used to earning £100k per year and have been through the Knowledge to see all your hard work and income destroyed by Satnav and an app.
But that doesn’t mean you can change it. Because ultimately, it is what it is. It’s evolution, it’s life, it’s the way the cookie crumbles. Things move and develop forwards, not backwards. We all like things to stay as they are, especially when they earn us money, but as some other bright spark said (definitely not me) the one thing that is constant in life is change.
Every cloud has a silver lining
And for many, this particular one is very bright. The release of the stranglehold on communication by powerful media outlets and journalists now means that everyone has a voice, which is increasingly easy to get heard thanks to the very same platforms that are causing the traditional media such pain.
It’s just a question of standing up and using it.