The Guardian’s Revolution: New Business Model, New Audience and New Peak Times

September 26, 2012
by Michel Rubini, Media Relations Specialist, Business Wire/London
Michel Rubini

Michel Rubini, Media Relations Specialist, Business Wire/London

Asked which newspaper is not shy about embracing change, most people in UK would have no doubts in replying, The Guardian. Constantly at the forefront in terms of design, technology, and trends, guardian.co.uk is the second most popular online news site in UK, which is a substantial achievement considering it can hardly be called mainstream.

Against a backdrop of increasing online readership and decreasing print sales, how is The Guardian making its money these days? This question was answered by Stephen Folwell, a business director of The Guardian Group, during a News Rewired conference held on the 13th of July in London. Stephen summarized the old model as “We produced stuff, you consumed stuff, we guessed you liked it, we measured that through circulation, we gave it to you at a price you were willing to pay, and advertisers came along who wanted to be associated with that audience”.

Stephen Folwell, Business Director, Multimedia and Brand Extensions for The Guardian

According to Folwell, this model does not work anymore. When your audience is mostly online, you either create a pay-wall or change the business model. So what does the new business model of The Guardian look like? To put it simply, The Guardian wants to be at the heart of communities, becoming an enabler of editorial and commercial conversations for those communities, allowing people within to share data, to share stories, to discover stories and disseminate them; and then allow commercial partners to access these conversations (when relevant) for a fee.

Folwell explained that this new model works well for The Guardian because “it delivers an audience that we are getting increasingly clear about which we call progressives.” The Guardian defines progressives as forward looking individuals who are curious about the world and embrace change and technology —  in other words, digitally savvy and socially conscious. They are much more likely than the average adult to blog or have social network profiles. Stephen points out that “advertising agencies in particular find this very interesting, because it means that if you can get a message aboard among that community, it will spread.”

Another interesting aspect is that The Guardian is now spreading among an age group that was previously thought to be of difficult access. Folwell explained that the average reader’s age for each platform differs. See below:

Not only is the audience getting younger, but it is also more involved in the output.

Another major change described by Folwell is the fact that news is now accessed at times of the day that were in the past considered prohibitive. Where a TV peaks in the evening, newspapers usually peak in the morning. But by working on multiple platforms, The Guardian now has new peak times: around lunch time for online and apps, mid-afternoon for Facebook, and late evening again for iPad and online. Multiple peak times delivers increasing demand from advertisers which in turn delivers increased revenues.

A clear consequence for PR professionals is that windows of opportunity for offering press releases to journalists do not need to be condensed in the morning slot but can now easily be scattered around the day according to the kind of audience the message is willing to reach.


MINNEAPOLIS: Newsroom 2012: Best Practices for Engaging the Media

September 24, 2012
by Jane Cracraft, Senior Client Services Representative
Business Wire/Minneapolis
Jane Cracraft

Jane Cracraft

Business Wire Minneapolis’ Meet the Media event in downtown Minneapolis was at full capacity with IR and PR professionals from around the region.

The panel consisted of David Brauer, of MinnPost; Julio Ojeda-Zapato, of the St. Paul Pioneer Press; Todd Stone, of the Star Tribune; Dirk DeYoung, of the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal; and Michelle Cortez, of Bloomberg. The quintet discussed many topics, and the meeting was very capably moderated by Brad Allen, longtime IR exec, journalist, university adjunct instructor and consultant.

(l-r) Brad Allen, moderator; Julio Ojeda-Zapato, Pioneer Press; Dirk DeYoung, Minneapolis St. Paul Business Journal; Todd Stone, Star Tribune; David Brauer, MinnPost; Michelle Cortez, Bloomberg

The event focused on how to best pitch your company’s story and reporters’ increasing use of social media such as Twitter for story leads. In fact, Twitter was mentioned far more than any other social media topic.

Below are a few tips captured from the event:

Pitching:

  • Introduce yourself to reporters before making your pitch by writing a personal note.
  • Schedule a meeting with the reporter; it is their job to know their sources.
  • Cultivate and nurture those media relationships.
  • Do not pitch to a reporter without knowing his/her beat.
  • Well-crafted pitches are crucial: the size of a company is less important than the quality of the pitch.
  • The pitch should be concise and strong. Brevity is encouraged.
  • Write in plain English. Avoid overuse of acronyms.
  • Be specific. Explain what is new and why it matters.
  • It is impossible to send a beat reporter a timely copy of a press release you have already issued via any traditional source. They have it; they measure in seconds.
  • Include more multimedia! This is one of the first things they look for.
  • Don’t get discouraged if they don’t pick up your story; try again. They want news. Keep in mind the reduced staff in most newsrooms.
  • For public companies: noteworthy pitches are those that effect the movement of money.

 Twitter:

  • Twitter enforces brevity, which is a good thing.
  • Twitter can be useful for finding sources for stories.
  • Twitter pitches via “direct message” are increasingly popular, and welcome (again, brevity is key, and well-crafted messages are crucial).
  • A wise PR person will form a Twitter relationship with key reporters.
  • Twitter is a perfect place to tease a story, but be careful not to expose baseline reporting.

Earnings:

  • Earnings: try to release other info around the time you release your earnings. It will make your earnings more noteworthy to those watching your company or industry.
  • Earnings: growth is important. Put that at the top.
  • Provide numbers of revenue and employees.
  • While full earnings are often geared toward analyst audiences, your earnings releases will catch journalists’ eyes more readily if the stock price is dramatically affected or other noteworthy changes are announced.

Social media is ever in flux and you might feel like you need to be on your toes all the time. You do! The Twin Cities scene is a highly literate and educated market with many great publications; these factors make for one of the healthiest media markets in the nation. PR and IR folks can form a relationship or trust with a reporter via social media. If you use it wisely it can help you as a PR person.

Always remember, stories with multimedia get more traffic.

For more in-depth discussion of the “big 3” social media sites – Twitter, Pinterest, and Facebook – check out this Business Wired post by Chris Metinko, Media Relations Specialist.

To follow our panelists and moderator on Twitter:

David Brauer: @dbrauer

Julio Ojeda-Zapato: @ojezap

Todd Stone: @StribBizEditor

Dirk Deyoung: @ddeyoung

Michelle Fay Cortez: @FayCortez

Brad Allen: @Brad_D_Allen


Upcoming Webinar: Mobile Alerts for Investor Relations

September 18, 2012

Reaching your audiences via mobile devices becomes more and more important all the time, as investors and consumers move away from desktops to smartphones and tablets. In our upcoming webinar, Mobile Alerts for Investor Relations, Nigel Malkin, president of Brand2Hand will discuss the growing trend to deliver breaking investor relations and other news to key stakeholders via mobile devices. Nigel will provide tips on adding SMS registration to your online investor center or online newsroom, an overview of how financial tables render on mobile devices and synchronizing your alerts with your press releases.

Register here for this free webinar, which takes place on Thursday, Sept. 27 at 1:00pm ET. We look forward to having you join us!


Business Wire at Worldcom Group Americas Conference

September 10, 2012
 – by Tom Mulgrew, Vice President – Agency Relations, Business Wire
Tom Mulgrew

Tom Mulgrew, Vice President, Agency Relations

Worldcom Group, the world’s leading partnership of global PR firms, is holding its annual “Americas” conference soon and it looks like another fabulous line-up of speakers and programming.

It all happens Sept. 19-21 in Vancouver, and I will be there mingling with agency principals from all over the West Hemisphere: from Boston to Buenos Aires.

Established in 1988, Worldcom today boasts a membership of more than 100 agencies with more offices in cities and countries than any other multinational organization.

It was formed so that strong PR firms could serve national, international and multi-national clients while retaining the flexibility and client-service focus inherent in independent agencies.

What I like most about this conference is the networking/socializing.  It gives PR professionals the chance to talk in an informal setting about anything.  And whether the topic be social media, client retention, measurement or corporate social responsibility, the exchanges are always robust and engaging.

Worldcom in Vancouver.  Stay tuned for an update in a few weeks.


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