Wednesday, May 27, 2015

PR & Media Landscape Changes But Authors Still Promote Books

If everyone is promoting a book or something, who is left to report on the book?

According to a Washington Post report, based on a Labor Department statistic, outside of LA, DC, and NYC, the number of reporting jobs has decreased severely in recent times.  In fact, one in four reporting positions in 2004 no longer exists now.

That’s a net drop of 12,000 jobs.

Los Angeles reporting jobs increased by 20%, NYC remained flat, and Washington, DC, doubled, adding 1,300 jobs.  But the rest of the nation saw a huge plummet.

Meanwhile, outside the three cities just mentioned, 20,000 new jobs in public relations sprang up over the past decade – a 13% increase.  In fact, many reporters shift to the PR side once they can’t find work or a decent paycheck with the news media.

The numbers are getting lopsided.  Publicists outnumber reporters something like 5 to 1.  Further, the media is becoming more concentrated.  LA, DC, and NYC account for 20% of all reporting jobs today.  A decade ago it was 12%.

So there are many more people seeking to influence public opinion through the media and the media is shrinking and consolidating.  Who will be left to be the gatekeepers of truth, justice – and book reviews?

What’s also happening is social media is causing traditional media to be one of several voices out there and no longer the only voice.  TV, print and radio used to put each other in check, and build off the other’s reporting.  Now it’s Twitter feeds, Facebook posts, blog interviews, and YouTube videos that are shaping public opinion, knowledge, and actions.  Social media not only dictates how traditional media approaches its job but it speaks directly to citizens and consumers – unfiltered and raw.

It’s what it is.  This will only continue to grow – the gap between promoters and journalists, between social media and traditional media, and between DC-LA-NYC media vs. the rest of the country.  So how does a book promoter or author navigate such a landscape?

Authors and publicists don’t need to do anything but think of how to find potential readers and consumers for their books.  They simply must use every tool at their disposal and to increase efforts in the areas that seem to work for them.  But even as the balance of power and information-sharing shifts, one truth holds true.  It all matters – we still want and need traditional media and we need social media.  You don’t have to choose between them.  In fact, they complement one another.  Keep at it and experiment until you find a combination that works best for you.

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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2015

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