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  • Tracy Jones, MD

Navigating the shifting sands of new media

Updated: Jul 13

In today’s world of fast paced digital news, consumers are not only looking to find content online, but they’re also looking to find their favourite brands at their fingertips. While a marketing manager may still enjoy the feel of a newspaper or magazine in their hands, print titles are more and more migrating online – and your brand should be too.


Traditional media titles are increasingly going digital – with high cost to keep print runs going, media titles are looking at digital options to still give their readers continuous content.


A new media landscape

As consumers become ever more used to real-time information, they look to titles to provide content faster – something that can be more easily done via online. in today’s media landscape most news titles are now breaking stories online and supplying more in-depth content in their print edition.


According to the Global Digital Yearbook for 2020, over two thirds of South Africans (37 million) are online. Local consumers spend over nine hours online daily – of which around one third is spent on social media. Added to this, around 91% of users searched online for products or services to buy.


Running parallel in this move into digital has been the downsizing of the traditional print industry. Losses were announced in May, when both Associated Media Publishing and Caxton and CTP Publishers & Printers made public a series of magazine closures, affecting over two dozen titles. In the first week of June, Media24 announced the closure of five magazines and two newspapers, as well as taking two newspapers digital.


With few print titles still in circulation, brands need to innovate in the way they reach their audience. Where in the past brands wanted to be seen in print, today we find more consumers preferring to use digital platforms and thus companies need to look to digital as a way to find their consumers. This has seen numerous titles going digital, to provide fast and easier access for consumers.

Where to be seen

There are a number of new media platforms that brands should be considering for their PR strategy, as consumers tend to be found across a combination of platforms.

  • Blogs: Blogs are a great opportunity to raise awareness of your brand, as they live on the internet forever, continually driving traffic, increasing leads and improving your ranking. Featuring subjects linked to your industry, blogging can steer visitors to your website and has the potential to develop into leads.

  • Online platforms: Websites and online publications offer the same type of editorial opportunities as their print counterparts, and often have fewer restrictions. Word counts and space restrictions fall away online, meaning these platforms are often a more flexible option for editorial coverage.

  • Influencer marketing: Through influencer marketing, you are able to tap into the audience of social media personalities, working with them as if they were mini publishers. Social media influencers have accumulated their huge following for a reason, whether popularity, credibility, or expertise. Influencer marketing allows you to ride on that popularity, credibility, or expertise to create high-impact conversations around your brand.

New strategy for new media

Your brand might not be a perfect fit for every new media platform, and it’s likely that you’ll need to devise a strategy that speaks to the platforms your audience prefers.


1. Who are you talking to?

Understanding your audience is key to finding the right platform for your brand. This can be identified by researching what channels your target audience engages with, their age groups, the relevance to your brand and how they prefer to consume information.


2. Where are you talking?

To find your audience you need to understand the media landscape, as well as the types of publications and platforms that your audience prefer to access for information. Not all of these many be suited to your brand, so there is a balancing act in finding a platform that your audience access while remaining true to your brand’s voice.


3. How are you talking?

Content creation is vital. In today’s world of tight budgets, creating content that can be used across various platforms is beneficial to most brands and can lead to cost savings. Brand managers should ensure the look and feel of the content, as well as the campaign messaging, are consistent across all platforms. Tailor your messaging for new media – long-form content will resonate more with digital magazines and blogs, while short form tips and endorsements work better on social media with key visuals.


In the world of new media, content creation is everything. Carefully curated images, videos and gifs have the ability to set your brand aside, but you should ensure they are true to your brand’s voice and messaging.

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