Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Changing Home Media Landscape

The home media landscape has evolved dramatically over the past few years – with the increasing importance of online publications, the explosion of reality makeover programming and the advent of social media. During a recent LCWA professional development brown bag, we discussed the latest trends on the homefront and how to tailor our pitches to meet the needs of today’s reporter. Here are a few key learnings:

  • Shifting to Digital – Many high-profile shelter industry magazines are launching digital and mobile editions. These new formats present a great opportunity for PR professionals, as many will feature original content that is constantly updated. Not only will editors be looking for more products, more trends and more photography, but digital editions also allow for hyperlinks to videos, websites and other brand resources.

  • More Bang for Your Brand – Unless your client is a sponsor, most home improvement and lifestyle television shows – such as those on HGTV and the DIY Network – no longer offer on-air brand mentions. In exchange for a product donation, you’re most likely to receive a mention in the end credit roll and a link on the show’s website. To maximize brand exposure, ask the producer about the possibility of organic logo inclusion via product packaging, a delivery truck or even a shot of a merchandising display at a local dealer.

  • Pulling Double Duty – Newspaper reporters are working harder than ever before – with 30 percent of journalists writing an average of 10 or more stories a month. Consequently, even the largest of papers are turning to more “canned” home industry content and increasing usage of wire services and mat releases. Craft broader, more trend-focused stories to attract the features reporter who now covers multiple beats, and get more bang for your buck by pitching home writers who are frequently syndicated.

  • Social Savvy – More and more home industry journalists are encouraging the receipt of pitches and leads via social media. If a reporter seems to prefer sharing information via Facebook or Twitter, “friend” or “follow” and then send a message or tweet. Just be sure to let your contact take the lead and keep communications short and on-topic.

Even though the game has changed, keep these new developments in mind – and remain flexible – to ensure you hit a “home run” whenever you pitch home media contacts.

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