Guys, it happened. I finally wrote a whitepaper. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a while; mainly so I’d feel intelligent and as professional as some of my PR peers, but also so that I could do some research that the wider industry might find at least a little bit interesting and/or useful.
What I wanted to figure out was just how much PR-generated content could be found within the pages of daily papers, especially since there’s such a focus on digital PR now.
Most of the briefs we get in from clients or potential clients couldn’t be less focused on print media, with link building, PR for SEO (search engine optimisation) and online PR more common utterances from those who want our services.
When I started out at the agency 10 years ago (YES, ALL OF MY ADULT LIFE), I remember the excitement of getting client coverage in a newspaper or a magazine. Actual coverage that you could hold in your hands, immortalised in paper-form forever (not at risk of being lost from the internet forever because of viruses, hackers, trolls or whatever other nasties are floating around in cyber world). Actual coverage that you could take round your nan’s house to show her and she’d ask why your name wasn’t next to the article (because she thinks you’re a journalist).
Now, print coverage isn’t even on a lot of our clients’ radars, so we can proudly wave a full page in a national under their noses only for them to turn them up and ask “does it have a link though?” Most of them have a point; the value for a lot of businesses, especially those ecommerce brands or just those that place more of precedence on their online activity, lies in digital PR.
That shouldn’t mean that PR activity targeting print publications should be forgotten though, because there are so many opportunities for brand awareness in those pages that you can turn with your actual, real-life hands. I, for one, still see the power of print PR and I don’t think brands should be quick to write it off.
In a world full of fake news and dodgy websites, there are still many people who put more trust in print media; and there will always be people you’re more likely to reach through print coverage than through online pieces. It’s a different audience, but still a varied one in terms of the readership demographic.
Instead of blathering on about print media and my views on it, I’ll let you case your eyes over the actual whitepaper, shall I? Like I said, you might be surprised by the results of my little investigation.
It needs to be said that the newspapers these findings are based on were from the end of April/start of May this year, which feels like a lifetime ago now. If you’re wondering what’s taken so long, do you have any idea how long it takes to go through 62 newspapers (that’s almost 7,000 articles) with a fine toothcomb to analyse their content and what it all means in this crazy thing called life? Spoiler alert… a long time. Fear not, though, I’ve been randomly spot-checking more recent newspapers over the last few months to check it still stacks up and, it definitely does.
I’ll let the whitepaper do the rest of the talking, but here are a few little nuggets of information you can expect to stumble upon in its pages:
- 41% of the national newspaper’s total pages are made up of PR-generated content
- The i Paper, The Times and The Guardian have the MOST
- Daily Express and Daily Star have the LEAST
I know… I was shocked too.
If you want to read the full whitepaper, enter your email address below to unlock it, like a boss level on Donkey King, and it’ll magically appear on your screen. We will also sign you up to our newsletter, because we’re cheeky like that, but you can unsubscribe as quickly as you can say “remove me from your mailing list” (like a poorly targeted journalist).
Whilst I’m on the subject, here are the team’s top tips for getting your brand or client print coverage in the national papers…