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The News May Be Recycling Much of its Content; Implications for PR and Content Marketing

Amid layoffs and closures stemming from the pandemic, news organizations are republishing political content leaving less time and space for business news

Survey data shows media relations keeps getting harder, but now there’s a new analysis of content being published that offers a glimpse as to why.

As much as 34% of content is being republished and recycled, according to an analysis by Chris Penn for the marketing data consulting company Trust Insights. Mr. Penn told me he used a tool called AHREFS – a popular SEO tool to perform the analysis.

Speaking about his analysis on the Marketing Over Coffee podcast, he points out that early in 2020, republished content was in the “single digits.” Then in May and June of 2020, the volume of recycled content jumps to as high as 30%.

Since then it’s come down a bit, but his graph of the data shows October – the most current at the time of this writing – comes in at around 16%, which is still considerable.

Click image for higher resolution.

What’s happening?

Mr. Penn points to the closures and layoffs among news organizations amid the Coronavirus pandemic. While news organizations have fewer staff, they still aim to hit the same web traffic targets. Consequently, news outfits “republish stuff optimized for clicks,” he says.

What gets the most clicks? Politics because it get people riled up and angry.

The effect for business is that it’s “getting harder to be seen.” For businesses that rely on PR and earned media, Mr. Penn says, there are 30% fewer pitching opportunities.

We’ve seen evidence of this in other studies too. For example, in the third annual JOTW Communications Survey for 2020, PR and communications professionals were quite vocal that political noise was crowding out business communications.

Nearly three-quarters (72%) of respondents said partisan politics makes the job of a business communicator harder. The open-ended comments respondents sent in provided context.

“EVERYTHING is now seen through a political filter. Issues that should not be political now are,” wrote one respondent. “The divisiveness bleeds through and is reflected in areas beyond politics,” said another.

According to Mr. Penn – and I wholeheartedly agree – if you are not your own publisher, if your business does not take content marketing seriously, you risk missing the visibility and market awareness a business needs.

Need help with marketing or PR? We’re more than a proactive partner. We’re an extension of your marketing and PR team. Try our services.

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Image credits: Photo by Paweł Czerwiński on Unsplash and Trust Insights

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