Any longtime crisisblogger reader, and certainly any reader of my book Now Is Too Late, will note that I have referred to the post media world many times. In fact, it was the working title for Now Is Too Late until my publisher suggested a title change. Today two news stories came to my attention that seems to make it more and more clear that we are getting closer to a post media world if we can’t say we are in one already.
First, the LA Times documents the continuing and dramatic slide in newspaper circulation. A 10.6% decline in 6 months compared to same period the year before. That’s pretty amazing.
But this next story, about how marketers are forgoing advertising with traditional media in order to reach mass audiences with brand building is even more telling. You would think advertisers would be flocking to the media–certainly there have to be some awesome deals in buying advertising and advertising is typically bought in a pretty straightforward way with a cost per thousand calculation. Match up the right demographics and buy by the numbers at the best price. Those numbers have to be pretty attractive right now, some smoking deals I would think. But advertisers are finding they can create their own channels–on YouTube. (There is a chapter in Now Is Too Late, written in 2001 that is titled: You Are the Broadcaster). Here’s what Mark Haas from one marketing firm had to say:
“You build a channel on YouTube and you get millions of views,” Mr. Hass said. “And these people are coming from all over, and it’s more about their interest in your product, as opposed to the readership and viewership of a particular medium. It’s horizontal. If you wanted to reach that many people using traditional media, you would have to pitch and place in dozens of outlets.”
For crisis communicators, the lesson should be clear. Stop thinking media first. Stop thinking your job is to put out a press release about what is going on. Stop thinking the most important thing you will do in a crisis is set up and run a good press conference. Stop thinking the only questions you have time to answer are from reporters. Stop being so media-centric.
Start thinking direct. Start thinking about the people who matter most to your future–the people who if they thought bad of you would cause your organization some nightmares. Start thinking about engaging rather than distributing. Start thinking about participating instead of controlling. Start thinking about how you are going to interact with hundreds or thousands–personally–when you really need to. Start realizing that You are the Broadcaster.