How to Diversify Your Strategy in a Shrinking Media Landscape

The shifting media landscape continues to challenge PR professionals.

Traditional media outlets are shrinking. Niche publications, while valuable, cannot entirely fill the void. To navigate this complex terrain, your strategies should evolve to include more diverse media approaches.

Let’s talk about why this evolution is necessary, and how you and your team can effectively adapt.

The Shrinking Traditional Media Landscape

In recent years, we have witnessed a significant reduction in the number of traditional media outlets. Mainstream newsrooms have downsized, and many community papers have closed their doors. Even larger outlets are operating with fewer staff members due to massive layoffs and budget cuts.

“There are less people to pitch to, and there are less outlets to pick up stories,” said Theodora Jean, founder and managing partner of Coldwater Communications.

This contraction has created a challenging environment for proactive media outreach.

The Rise of Niche Publications

At the same time, there has been an increase in the number of niche and ideologically focused publications. These platforms can offer targeted exposure, but they do not compensate for the broad reach and influence of mainstream media.

“I wouldn’t say that it offsets mainstream media,” said Jean. “I think people are still very old-school in their mentality. They really value broad mainstream coverage. If you come to them with a niche blog or podcast, they’re like, ‘Great, but where’s the mainstream stuff?’ That’s a challenge we feel constantly.”

This sentiment underscores the need for a balanced media strategy that incorporates both traditional and niche outlets.

Here’s why a diverse media approach is essential:

  • Broad reach and visibility: Mainstream media still holds significant sway in shaping public opinion and providing broad visibility. While niche publications target specific audiences, mainstream outlets reach a wider demographic, enhancing overall impact.
  • Credibility and trust: Traditional media is often perceived as more credible than niche platforms. Clients value the trust and authority that come with mainstream media coverage. In fact, because mainstream media is now more scarce, Jean believes its value has increased in clients’ minds.
  • Audience diversification: Different segments of the population consume media differently. A diverse media strategy ensures that you reach various audience segments, including those who may not engage with traditional or niche media alone.

Implementing a Diverse Media Strategy

To effectively implement a diverse media strategy, consider the following approaches:

Utilize the PESO Model

The PESO model (Paid, Earned, Shared, and Owned media), popularized by Gini Dietrich of Spin Sucks, offers a comprehensive framework for media strategy. Incorporating elements from each category ensures a balanced approach. Jean emphasizes its importance, noting that “we work in various industries, and it’s not a one-size-fits-all approach.”

The PESO Model (Source:

Leverage Niche Publications for Targeted Exposure

While niche publications cannot replace mainstream media, they provide valuable targeted exposure. Identify niche outlets that align with your client’s industry and audience. Use these platforms to complement broader media efforts.

Focus on Content Quality and Relevance

In a crowded media landscape, the quality and relevance of your content are paramount. Tell stories that ride the wave of current trends and align with public interest. Media monitoring can help you identify hot topics and align your pitches accordingly.

Develop Relationships with Journalists Across Platforms

Building and maintaining relationships with journalists in both traditional and niche media is important. These relationships can facilitate better coverage opportunities and ensure your stories get due consideration.

Adapt to New Media Trends

Stay abreast of emerging media trends and platforms. Social media influencers, podcasts and digital content creators offer new avenues for reaching audiences. Incorporate these channels into your media strategy to enhance reach and engagement.

As traditional media outlets continue to shrink, keep evolving your media approaches! While niche publications provide valuable targeted exposure, they’re not a replacement for the broad reach and credibility of mainstream media.

By leveraging a balanced media strategy that incorporates the PESO model, focusing on content quality and adapting to new media trends, you’ll achieve greater success for your organization or clients.

The key is adaptability. Embracing diverse media approaches ensures that your strategies will remain effective, relevant and impactful.