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Dec 08 2023

Understanding the Earned Media Landscape in Today's Digital Age

As Newspapers Close and Online PR Takes Center Stage, Here's How Clients Can Navigate the Evolving Earned Media Landscape.

In a time of rapid technological advancements and shifting consumer habits, the earned media landscape is undergoing a significant transformation. With traditional newspapers facing closures and online public relations gaining prominence, businesses are challenged to adapt and navigate the evolving media terrain.  

Traditional newspapers, once the stalwarts of media coverage, are grappling with closures and declining readership. This is all too true in North Dakota today, with no less than a dozen papers closing in 2023. And, as more publications transition to digital platforms or cease operations altogether, businesses need to reassess their media outreach strategies. The dwindling print landscape emphasizes the importance of diversifying media channels and embracing online platforms. 

In fact, according to a survey from the Pew Research Center, 82 percent of U.S. adults say they often or sometimes get news from a smartphone, tablet or computer. While search, news websites and apps are at least sometimes the entry points for news, half of Americans may get their news directly from social media. 

This makes it no surprise that online PR has emerged as a powerful force in shaping public perception. Social media, influencers, and digital publications offer new avenues for businesses to connect with their target audience. Crafting compelling narratives and engaging content for online platforms has become imperative for successful earned media strategies. Businesses should prioritize a digital-first approach, leveraging the reach and immediacy that online PR provides. 

The changing media landscape has also resulted in staffing challenges for traditional newsrooms. As newsrooms shrink and journalists wear multiple hats, building relationships with media professionals becomes even more crucial. Clients should focus on fostering authentic connections with reporters and influencers who align with their brand values, ensuring a reliable and consistent presence in the media. 

It may come as no surprise that as newsrooms shrink, businesses should be prepared to be the reporters themselves. Crafting short, succinct press releases with pictures and captions (if available) ready-made for editors to copy and paste into their story layout.  

Considering these shifts, clients must proactively adapt to the evolving earned media landscape. Here are key strategies to navigate these changes effectively: 


  • Diversify Media Channels: Expand outreach beyond traditional outlets to include digital platforms and social media influencers. 


  • Digital-First Approach: Prioritize online PR by creating shareable content tailored for digital consumption, maximizing visibility and engagement. 


  • Build Relationships: Cultivate genuine relationships with journalists and influencers, understanding their preferences and beats to establish lasting connections. 


  • Stay Agile: Be prepared to adjust strategies as the media landscape continues to evolve. Stay informed about emerging trends and technologies that can enhance your media outreach efforts. 


As the earned media landscape undergoes a paradigm shift, clients need to embrace innovation, foster relationships, and adapt strategies to thrive in today's digital age. By staying attuned to these changes, businesses can position themselves for success in an ever-evolving media landscape.