Anyone who has questioned the continuing importance of so called ‘traditional media’ should take note of some compelling research released this week.

POSTED BY ON THE 26th January 2018

Anyone who has questioned the continuing importance of so called ‘traditional media’ should take note of some compelling research released this week.

The 2018 Edelman Trust Barometer found that:

  • Only 1 in 4 Britons (24%) now trust social media
  • 64% believe the likes of Facebook and Twitter are not sufficiently regulated
  • 62% believe social media companies are selling people’s data without their knowledge.

These were just a few of the headlines, but others including the fact that a tenth of young adults claim to have quit Facebook in the past year make equally grim reading if you are Mark Zuckerberg or Jack Dorsey.

There was, however, some good news contained within the in-depth study carried out by Edelman, which interviewed 33,000 people around the world.

And that was that the trust in traditional media – newspapers, TV, radio – has jumped by 13% in the last year to 61% - a six year high.

In an age when there is almost information overload, combined with widespread fears about ‘fake news’, consumers are desperate to find media outlets they can trust and depend upon.

The phrase ‘traditional media’ makes it sound like The Times, Telegraph, Mail, Guardian, BBC, Sky and others have stood still. The reality is that some of the most innovative techniques in gathering and distributing information to their respective audiences is coming from these organisations and others like them.

What does this mean for a PR and Content agency like Mason?

It means that our clients are looking for integrated communications strategies that enable them to reach the right audiences with the most relevant and engaging content.
Being busy on multiple social media platforms is no more strategic than firing off multiple dull press releases that will never stand a chance of capturing the imagination of a time-starved news desk.

Strategic means gaining a deep understanding of what a client does, who it is seeking to engage with and, crucially, being able to work up a content plan that will achieve cut-through. This is just as important if you are trying to get into the business pages of a national newspaper, secure an interview on the BBC, make a splash in your trade press or engage with prospective customers via social media.

What the Edelman Trust Barometer tells us is that any business which discounts the importance of traditional media and tilts too much towards a dependency on social media, probably needs to recalibrate.

The social media barons have plenty of work to do in order to improve their dismal trust ratings, something that cannot be put right overnight.

Likewise, traditional media should not see these findings as a reason for complacency. There is still room for it to further improve its trust ratings and also to ensure that it continues to make the case for its own products and services.

But the overriding message is that comms strategies are not straightforward affairs. Investing time understanding which media channels will be most effective and then building out a comprehensive, measurable content plan should be the starting point.