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There are six PR people for every reporter. So change your strategy.

This is a terrible and confusing graphic from Bloomberg, but the point of it is, there used to be 2 PR people for every journalist and now there are more than 6

Bloomberg reports that, according to the U.S. Census, as of 2018, there are 6.4 PR people for every journalist.

Reporters will tell you what that means for their inboxes. Thousands of pitches falling on the floor. Constant pestering. And waste. So much waste.

You can lament this trend (and the loss of media is a tragedy) — but you can’t fix it. What you can do is adjust to it.

What does this mean if you are in marketing or PR? Here are some ideas.

  1. Stop trumpeting news that is not news. You have a client. Big deal. You got an award. Great. You released version 3.2. Well, that’s nice. Your press release is worthless. No one will read it. According to Christopher Penn, the median number of clicks on a press release is zero.
  2. What does your company do (or what has it done) that is truly unique and outstanding? What is worth talking about? I don’t mean getting a high net promoter score. I mean, saving people from flat tires for free or cutting the cost of EpiPens by 80%. If there is nothing, then change your company. (And by that I mean, either make the company better, or, change companies.)
  3. Make your own content. Write. Make videos. Podcast. But above all, make something interesting. Be generous — talk about the customer’s problem, not how great you are. After all, where did all those journalists go? Into PR, in many cases. So you ought to be able make a story out of what you did.
  4. Spread it.

If the journalists who went into PR continue to act like journalists, there is hope for getting interesting stories out. If journalistic sensibilities and ethics invade the PR world, that would be awesome.

On the other hand, if the ex-journalists and current PR people keep shouting about nothing, that would be tragic and wasteful.

What’s it going to be, friends?

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One Comment

  1. Ykes! Never would have guessed this when I started in PR 40 years ago. Nevertheless, I remain hopeful that real journalists will make a comeback somehow with new technology and digital platforms for storytelling, including innovative ones they create with a similar entrepreneurial spirit and passion that traditionally went into investigative reporting.