Jun 28, 2022
For decades, the public relations industry relied on the media to publish clients’ stories and help them raise visibility to achieve results. An agency would pitch a news outlet on a potential story, and that news outlet would either run the story or not.
In the current digital age, people are seeking information about a variety of topics, but are trying desperately to avoid advertising and other forms of overt marketing. After all, barely one-third of global consumers claim to trust “most of the brands they buy and use,” according to research by Edelman. And 56% report that they’re able to spot “trustwashing,” a term used to describe when “brands use societal issues as a marketing ploy to sell more of their product.”
This breakdown in trust leads to skepticism of self-promotion — brands telling you how wonderful they are. And it leads people to consume content differently. Think of websites like BuzzFeed, which has attracted a loyal following by, in their words, “creat[ing] authentic audience engagement that fosters real-world impact.” BuzzFeed reaches hundreds of millions of people worldwide, but they don’t do it by flooding readers’ newsfeeds with sponsored content. They do it by rewarding their readers with content they’re actually looking for. In other words, they attract and retain their audience by building the right kind of audience first — an audience that knows, likes and trusts the brand. POPSUGAR is another example of a news outlet that has built the right audience — millennial women — for itself. Or what about Tasty, which serves up videos of food, cooking and kitchen fun?
The article read in this episode originally appeared on the Forbes Agency Council CommunityVoice™ in November 2019.
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