Beth Monaghan Archive
We made a bold move at InkHouse. We’re cutting back on email. Yes, that’s right. We’re encouraging our employees not to respond to email messages outside the hours of 7 am and 7 pm (thanks to the smart folks at Edelman for the idea!). We think it will increase our productivity, our creativity and our overall happiness. (Don’t worry clients and press. There are exceptions, and you can still call or text us after hours in case of emergencies!)
I blame email for a lot. Kelly McFalls, one of my colleagues at InkHouse, calls it the “nasty nibbler,” eating away at our days piece by small piece. I, for one, have never had a good idea while staring at my email. I’ve also never felt good about an interaction with a person who’s checking email as he or she sits across from me at dinner (although 38% of us do it), or across my desk at work for that matter.
Survey says: Yes! Earlier this year InkHouse teamed up with GMI Lightspeed to survey of 1,000 Americans ages 18+. We discovered that only 10% of Americans pay for an online subscription.
In fact, Americans still value print subscriptions. Just over half (56%) pay for one. Of those, local newspapers are most popular (68%), with special interest magazines (e.g. cooking, pets, etc.) coming in second (41%), and an almost three-way tie for third between national newspapers, news magazines and women’s/men’s magazines).
We are not willing to transfer that affinity for news to online and mobile just yet. Eighty-six percent of respondents believe that mobile and online news should be free, and only 10% pay for an online subscription. Men are more willing to pay than women: 15% versus 5%. Directionally, this trend seems to have staying power. Of the younger demographics, 90% of those 18 to 24 and 94% of those 25 to 34, expect news to be free.
A Checklist for Your Contributed Content
GigaOm decided to limit guest posts and I understand why. Late last month, Tom Krazit explained why in his piece, We’re updating our policies toward guest posts on GigaOm. Here’s why. The main reason: bad content.
There is only one thing to say about this from a PR standpoint – garbage in, garbage out. Yes, PR people are likely going to help shape the content. This is not new, or news. While some have decried this ghost-writing trend, the practice has been around as long as thoughtful people have been writing and speaking in public. In fact, we revere the speechwriters who crafted the memorable words we quote from presidents like JFK. We accept that not all influencers are great writers (even Sheryl Sandberg had a co-writer for Lean In – her name is Nell Scovell).
As PR Newswire is celebrates its 60th Anniversary (see their 60 Years of Stories here), they’ve asked us to weigh in on how the PR profession has evolved. InkHouse was born in 2007 out of the need for a different approach to PR. Part of this change is due to the fast-changing media business, to which we are inextricably intertwined. Print is struggling, online is trying to invent a successful business model, and reporters are changing beats and titles every single day. The other influence on the changes in PR comes from our digital world and the ways people share information.
All of this change is good for PR. In fact, the PR industry showed tremendous growth in 2013. While the tactics may be less familiar, the opportunities for PR have never been greater. Here are the five trends we see shaping the PR industry today:
Most Americans don’t know, according to a survey of 1,000 Americans ages 18+ that InkHouse conducted earlier this year in partnership with GMI Lightspeed. If you’ve taken a quiz about which city you should live in, or which career you should have, you’ve probably been on BuzzFeed though (see Who Am I Really? BuzzFeed Knows).
BuzzFeed has a massive audience. Just the other week, Mary Meeker issued her 2014 Internet Trends report, which put BuzzFeed at 130 million unique visitors and a 3x year over year growth. To put that in perspective, The New York Times has 31 million monthly uniques. Meeker’s deck also showed BuzzFeed as the top Facebook news publisher. I’m not surprised.
Mary Meeker at Kleiner Perkins issued this year’s “Internet Trends 2014” report at Re/Code’s Code conference yesterday. It’s 164 slides of fascinating information, but which things matter most to PR people? Here you go!
- The rumored tech bubble is not as big as some think. 2013 tech IPOs are still 73% below their 1999 peak. Venture financings, too, are 77% below their 2000 peak.
- Facebook leads social traffic referrals with 21%. Pinterest has 7% and Twitter has 1%.
- Buzzfeed is the top Facebook news publisher. Huffington Post, ABC News, Fox News and NBC follow.
- The BBC is the top Twitter news publisher. It is followed by The New York Times, Mashable, ABC News, CNN and Time.
- Buzzfeed’s formula works. It has 130MM+ unique visitors with 3x year over year growth. WOW!
Reporting is not storytelling. Successful PR campaigns rest on great stories, not just great facts.
Dictionary.com defines “reporting” this way: an account or statement describing in detail an event, situation, or the like, usually as the result of observation, inquiry, etc.
The most important part of that definition is the phrase “usually as a result of observation.” It implies the presence of context, insight. Facts are important because they validate the story. Yet on their own, they lack context. When companies look to make their stories public, the facts can distract them from the stories that make those facts interesting. It is the difference between beginning the discussion with WHY versus WHAT. What you do is simply the proof of how you think.
Do most people share news articles via email or social media? This is one case where old proven trumps the shiny new object. Email wins, according to a study we did in partnership with GMI Lightspeed of 1,000 Americans ages 18+.
Social media stood a fighting chance, but good old-fashioned email won the prize for article sharing coming in first place with 34 percent. Social media was a close second with 29 percent. Not surprisingly, younger people are more likely to share news on social media: 50 percent of those ages 18 to 24 and 45 percent of those ages 24 to 35, compared to eight percent of those 55 or older.