Today’s insatiable demand for news and information has led to the Fake News Era. This has created an uphill struggle for companies. They must convince consumers they are worthy of their business. 42% of consumers believe companies are less truthful today than they were 20 years ago.
But not everyone, myself included, agrees the Fake News Era is destructive. Why? Fake News has demanded journalists bolster the quality of their work, so they’re seen as credible among flashy headlines of fallacy. 91% of journalists feel pressure to get things right as new media forms have gained traction; consumer demand has given rise to a 15% increase in podcast listening since 2008; digital advertising spending is taking up more than 50% of marketing budgets; the number of YouTube channels making six figures is up 50% over 2016; and 15,000 verified Twitter accounts are journalists, making them the highest-grossing authenticated profession, ahead of even professional athletes and actors.
And the mainstream media is experiencing a revivial. Reuters reports online news services have experienced record growth; from November 2016 to June 2017 The New York Times added more than 500,000 digital subscribers; The New Yorker added 250,000 and The Wall Street Journal added 200,000. In addition, U.S. online news payments jumped from 9% to 16% between 2016 and 2017. This demand for information is even a point of pressure within the media; The New York Times is publishing 234 articles daily, every day.
The question for communicators is how businesses can slice through the torrent of media, manage/protect their brand and stay solvent at the same time? The answer is defined in how B2B and B2C sales trends are shaping marketing today. Third-party credibility is boss.
Three simple, but major, steps can help:
- Promote Intelligently: The entire PR>Marketing>Sales lifecycle is the new Intelligent Promotion. The tricky part is putting all three steps together. Intelligence is the ability to acquire knowledge and skills. Promotion today is markedly different than it was just eight years prior as the court of public opinion prevails. If you don’t have it, your marketing is always behind the eight-ball. Third-party credibility (PR) is the forerunner in the game. Marketing repetition is what grabs attention, not one-hit wonders. Decision makers turn to an average of 12 sources before they even decide to call you to buy. And last, sales must follow up leads by using all 3P-credibility garnered to close sales faster.
- Create a Strategic Communications Plan That Follows Your Business Plan: After that tie PR’s goals into top- and bottom-line goals. Real PR always contributes and increases gross revenue and even profits, IF one knows how to plan and execute correctly. Ensure PR & publicity pushes out in front of the issues and problems one’s industry is facing, with stories of solutions to issues. Getting out in front of issues and establishing third-party recognition will add fire to the flame for every marketing and sales machine.
- Make Sure Marketing & Sales Augment PR: Today, we see up to 50% of marketing budgets going toward PR – real PR, not fluff promotional news. PR, though, will never be able to fully operate without marketing and sales to back it up. Ensure your company backs up PR & publicity efforts with sound marketing and sales action. If not, the brand will never see the ROI it seeks.
One antidote for communicators to deploy in the Fake News Era is to communicate more…not less.