By Nicky Carlson, Co-Founder / Vice-President ChicExecs retail and strategy firm. He has over 21 years of experience in PR / Marketing.
Once upon a time, the newsroom of the media industry was full of journalists. But today, most of the news cycle is happening from afar, and with freelance journalists instead of employees.
It is not surprising that newsroom jobs have dropped 26% since 2008. And, although digital media employment has increased, there are fewer journalists today than ever before. For brands, this means there are fewer people available to tell your story — with tighter deadlines and more work for journalists.
To reduce costs without compromising on the amount of content they create, most media outlets hire freelance journalists to fill the gaps. In fact, many journalists are leaving the media room entirely for their careers as freelance journalists.
This shift to freelance journalism changes the way the brand interacts with media relations and pitching. Keep an eye on these five major changes to the media landscape.
1. Greater diversity of perspectives
By hiring freelancers, outlets are able to share stories from far more people While most media outlets certainly keep their spin on the stories, it’s still a great way to showcase more diverse stories that the media usually ignores. If outlets have seen your brand’s story in the past, try reaching out to freelancers! They may be able to convince the outlet to give you a shot.
2. 24/7 news coverage
Journalists are just people. Although the news cycle is 24/7, the journalists in the media room are not able to work twenty-four hours a day. Fortunately, freelance journalists make it possible to share the burden.
Freelancers fill in the blanks so that there is always a flow of new content for the readers in the media outlets. As it consumes less internal resources, it is also a win-win for in-house journalists.
For the brand, 24/7 news cycle good news! This means that outlets are always looking for good stories to share with their readers Although there are fewer journalists, outlets are always on the market for new content.
3. Extensive skills
Freelance journalism is quite competitive. Today, freelancers need to be more than talented writers, they need to have full media production capacity to hang out with major media outlets. This means that today’s freelance journalists are better off, with skills that were once considered excellent, such as:
• Video editing
Skilled freelancer means that media outlets can get the multimedia content readers expect, at a lower cost and on a tougher timeline than they can create at home.
4. Various pitching contacts
Although the number of journalists is less at present, the number of PR professionals is more. Internal journalists are bombarded with requests, so outlets will attract freelancers to reduce workload. This has a big impact on how you pitch your brand to journalists, though:
সম্পাদক Editors instead of journalists: Previously, you could pitch to a reporter scheduled for a certain beat. But if an outlet primarily uses freelancers, the authors have a revolving door for that beat. Freelancers don’t always have control over their assignments, so in this situation, it’s best to pitch to the in-house editor or department head.
Slow response time: With fewer headcounts in the newsroom, journalists are struggling to keep up with their inboxes. It is not uncommon to wait one to two weeks before receiving a response (if any) on your pitch.
Freelancer Relationships: While freelancers don’t have as much control as in-house journalists, it’s a good idea for brands to build relationships with them. Many freelancers have a large network of publications with which they work, so if a freelancer ever needs a source for another client, they can knock on your door! Freelancers can also connect you with relevant people at media outlets, saving you a lot of time.
While pitching to media outlets is still a good idea, the switch to freelance journalism has decentralized the entire industry. This means that freelancers themselves are becoming outlets. They have their own reputation and brand for managing freelance journalists like Good Morning America or ABC News.
If you manage to get covered by a reputable journalist regardless of the outlet they are writing for — you can still get a great result for your brand. In this case, you should pitch for both high-profile outlets And Big name journalists get more coverage.
Journalists are an important part of the media landscape that we often acknowledge. They are storytellers, detectives and writers all together. With more media outlets available online and a 24/7 news cycle, freelance journalists are filling the gaps in the media industry.
It is important to plan brands for these five changes in the media landscape, courtesy of freelance workers. Freelance journalists are not a bad thing, but it is important to know how the industry is evolving so that you can position your brand in the best light possible.