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Top Tips for 2012

A new report on the State of the Media by Vocus paints an interesting picture of how media outlets are continuing to struggle but are using the web to evolve.

Website versions of newspapers are continuing to grow – with MailOnline replacing the New York Times as the world’s most read online paper – and new platforms are beginning to change the way we consume our media.

Whilst TV stations are increasingly sharing news resources, radio audiences continued to rise throughout 2011.

So how does this all affect your media strategy for 2012: Our top tips are:

•    Get to know journalists on Twitter but don’t pitch through social media – 80% prefer contact through email
•    Make it easy for the media – shrinking newrooms mean that journalists are more hard-pressed than ever
•    Content is king – they want pictures and video as well as carefully-crafted words

And finally…buy an i-pad and get used to the content you need to create for this platform as tablet-based media consumption is firmly on the rise.

For the full report, click here.

BBC to axe nearly 2,000 jobs

The BBC have announced that they will be cutting up to 2,000 jobs as it looks to save £670 million a year.

Local radio will be amongst the worst affected and will see 280 job losses as the BBC attempts to contend with a license fee freeze which is expected to run until 2017.

Resources are expected to be pumped into each station’s breakfast and drivetime shows, with non-peak programming to be shared with neighbouring services. This will mean that an average BBC local radio station with 40 or so staff will have to make about a quarter of them redundant.

This announcement follows the news in January that the BBC will be cutting their online budget by 25%, including the decision that local sites will no longer publish feature content.

At a time when local newspapers are under relentless pressure and many local commercial radio stations are becoming more regional in scope, it will be interesting to see what impact these cuts have on the BBC’s 7.25 million local radio listeners in England.

Guardian News & Media to become digital facing organisation

The seismic shift in media business models continues apace with the recent announcement from Guardian News and Media that it plans to become a digital-first organisation.

Editor-in-chief Alan Rusbridger revealed plans to push operations at The Guardian “beyond the newspaper, shifting focus, effort and investment towards digital, because that is our future”.

The development from traditional to multi-media is a trend that is sure to continue, and it will be interesting to see whether other media players follow suit.

New shoots of growth in local media

New online media outlets have sprung up in Bristol to harness the appetite for web-based news and early signs are that they are meeting a gap in the market.

Behind both Bristol 24-7 and Bristol Business News are former Northcliffe Media journalists and the news services have been launched to provide very focused or more in-depth opinion and analysis than are provided by the ‘traditional’ local media.

Our moles tell us that Bristol 24-7 is now reaching 60,000 unique visitors and month and recently launched Bristol Business News is aiming to provide a home for the City’s thriving commercial scene.

National PR awards show industry is alive and kicking

In these tough times, it’s heartening to see the high level of innovation and creativity across the industry which was revealed when Spirit MD was called on to help judge some national PR awards.

The tables were turned when Caroline Harris joined fellow PR professionals from around the country to assess this year’s Public Relations Consultants Association’s (PRCA) awards.

She helped select the shortlists for two categories, the Small Consultancy of the Year and Best International Campaign and was impressed by the real impact being made by the PR industry for its clients. The winners will be announced later this month.

Brand association increasingly an issue

A number of brands are becoming increasingly proactive in the way they manage negative depictions of their products.

Abercrombie & Fitch recently offered to pay TV’s Jersey Shore star Michael Sorrentino not to wear their clothing as they believed his “association is contrary to the aspirational nature of our brand, and may be distressing to many of our fans.”

Blackberry producer RIM, who have endured a difficult time recently due to their association with the UK riots, have once again come in for criticism as their email and web systems have crashed twice in recent weeks. They too are working on rebuilding their brand and have offered Blackberry users over £60 worth of free apps, but will this be enough to recover their reputation?

Mail Online is most popular national newspaper website

With newspapers battling to maintain their print sales, it’s interesting to watch the growth of their website traffic.

Mail Online set monthly newspaper web traffic records recently when it became the first national newspaper website to pass more than 50m monthly browsers, more than 11m greater than its nearest rival.

The website drew an average of nearly three million daily browsers in November and was up 55.77 per cent year on year.

The website of The Guardian is in second place, and has been closing the gap on Mail Online recently, with the Daily Telegraph in third place.

The Times and The Sun websites dropped out of the monthly web audit last year.

Tune into changes in local commercial radio

There have been significant changes to local commercial radio in Bristol and the wider region.

Heart West Country now broadcasts from Bristol, Bath and Somerset, replacing three stations with one, and offering local breakfast and drivetime shows.

Mid-morning and mid afternoon programmes are broadcast nationally from London. Heart Swindon and Heart Gloucester continue to be broadcast locally at breakfast and drivetime, but with news coming from Bristol.

Bristol stations Star and Jack FM have been brought by Celador and this month Star has been allowed by regulator Ofcom to reduce their local programming hours.

Bauer Media’s Kiss FM is the latest station to take advantage of this relaxation in local radio rules, effectively making Kiss, which is broadcast from Bristol, Cardiff and London, a national radio station.

Watchdog clamp down on covert social media endorsements

The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has begun a crackdown on Twitter users and bloggers using their online presence to endorse products and companies, without clearly stating their relationship with the brand.

It has brought a case against a PR firm which was found to be paying bloggers to write positively about their brands.

The OFT said online marketing that did not disclose paid-for promotions were “deceptive” under fair trading rules, including comments about products and services on blogs and microblogs such as Twitter.

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