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More Than Ever, Your Local News Media Needs Your Utility’s Help

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Andy Gotlieb's picture
Editor of a specialty publication, former public relations practitioner Freelancer

I hold 34 years of experience in communications, mostly in journalism, with a decade in public relations, too.  The first 17 years were spent in print journalism, where I covered, at various...

  • Member since 2016
  • 1,004 items added with 508,744 views
  • Jul 27, 2020

The pandemic’s impact on life in general can’t be overstated, especially when it comes to business, but your utility can stand to benefit.

That’s because the already embattled news media, especially print publications, finds itself under greater financial pressure than ever before. Faced with years of declining circulation and advertising sales (the two go hand-in-hand), the pandemic has reduced those levels even further. And they may never come back.

In response, media outlets are cutting staff and taking other cost-saving measures.

How does us this potentially impact your utility? Let me count the ways.

  1. Fewer journalists means the remaining ones are scrambling to take up the slack. That means your press release is more likely to get play (assuming it’s legitimate news).
  2. And because that harried journalist has less time for research, it’s more likely that some of your material will be published verbatim. Of course, that doesn’t mean you should lie – or even stretch the truth – but you should be able to get more of your messaging across.
  3. Media outlets will increasingly need material, which you can help provide. That’s especially true when it comes to op-eds. There are numerous topics that might be of interest right now, including the end of unpaid bill moratoriums, lessons learned during the pandemic, the ongoing push to green energy and improvements to storm response plans, to name a few. A well-written 800-word op-ed can be repurposed in utility press kits and on your social media. Just remember that an op-ed must provide interesting or informative materials for the media consumer at large; in other words, don’t just pat yourself on the back.
  4. Update your contact lists. There’s a good chance the person who covered your utility is either no longer there or doing something else. No matter how important the news you have to share, it does no good if the wrong person (or a now-nonexistent person) is getting it.

Nobody should be rejoicing at the decline of the media, but you may as well take advantage of the opportunity to improve and/or bolster your utility’s public profile.

Andy Gotlieb's picture
Thank Andy for the Post!
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