Consumers’ distrust in the media is on the rise. Cision’s latest State of the Media Report showed 63% of journalists think the public has lost trust in the media over the past year.
Among fake news, misinformation campaigns and native advertising, consumers increasingly question the validity of what they read online.
Not surprisingly, the report shows consumers view some media with more suspicion than others. Although only half of consumers trust paid ads, 92% say they trust earned media.
Often the channel gets blamed when paid media is underperforming. However, Cision’s recent report debunks that theory as it indicates the challenge isn’t with the search, digital or social platform itself, rather with the fact that buying your way to success isn’t going to work.
Most channels have both earned and paid media options. Instead of blacklisting the one that isn’t working, consider leveraging media that consumers perceive as more trustworthy. For example, earlier this year The Manifest found that 44% of Facebook users viewed the platform negatively after the Cambridge Analytica election scandal. In the eyes of many users, Facebook’s behavior has also tinged the trustworthiness of its ads.
Rather than pay for Facebook ads, consider taking advantage of organic growth. Influencers are a popular and valuable approach in part because the platform they use most frequently, Instagram, is attracting large numbers of new users and becoming the fastest growing social network last year.
Trust is the major theme in Cision’s recent report. In fact, it seems it’s the foundational through line that will determine the future of the industry.
Telling a reliable, informative and relevant story is more important than ever, and journalists are using data and analytics to better understand what stories resonate with readers and generate the traffic and revenue journalists need to thrive in today’s media environment.
Given that earned media is trusted by nearly twice as many people, it’s the obvious choice for brands operating in the age of distrust.
Other key takeaways from the report include:
Journalists continue to rely more and more on data to make decisions about the stories they focus on. Some 65% of journalists globally feel that detailed audience metrics like views and engagement have changed the kinds of content they publish, while 43% of respondents focus primarily on readership or views, 20% focus on engagement, and 15% focus on impact on revenue.
PR and communications professionals are valuable partners to journalists, especially in this turbulent media environment. However, 75% of journalists said that fewer than 25% of the pitches they receive are relevant. Journalists reported that the single most effective thing PR professionals can do to improve their relationship with the media is to better understand the end customer and provide information more relevant and customized to that audience.
Social media is both less- and more- important than ever. Because of the volatile nature of social media in 2018, journalists have increasingly complex feelings about the importance of social media. Some 38% of journalists surveyed agree that updated social media algorithms – such as changes to the Facebook News Feed – will be the most important technology to impact their work in 2019, which is an increase in the past year. That impact is not always positive, as journalists have concerns about relying on social media for publishing content.
To read the full Cision 2019 State of the Media Report, click here.