This article on the media industry and content marketing was originally published on CMO.com.

Often, marketers create strategies using intel from surveys that focus on peers’ beliefs and practices. But do those stats paint the whole picture?

Recently, Cision released its annual “State of the Media Report,” which surveyed 200 traditional journalists and digital reporters about the latest trends and changes in their industry. These objective perspectives provide clues to success for today’s marketers.

Here are three notable trends:

Native Ads

Nearly half (49%) of our respondents pointed to native advertising as the biggest driver of revenue for media in 2015, edging out traditional advertising (42%).

Native advertising has expanded to publications such as Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, and The New York Times. Even The Onion has embraced native ads. Before Tax Day, for example, it ran sponsored content from H&R Block.

The native advertising relationship is a win-win, as outlets need revenue and brands need visibility in a content-bloated world. However, many brands have been slow to adopt native ads. While digital ads typically require only a designer, native ads involve a bigger investment in terms of creation, often requiring a designer and writer.

As consumers become banner-ad blind, native ads become more necessary. The key to success? Declaring your intentions up-front. Are you attempting to reach prospects or influencers? Will text, video, audio, or a combination best reach your target audience?

Considering audiences get more value from native ads and outlets maintain editorial control, it’s understandable that 43% of journalists have a favorable view of native ads. That percentage will only increase as the benefits of native advertising become more known.

Mobile First

The most important media trend, according to our respondents, is likely within arm’s reach. Mobile compatibility earned 36% of the vote as the top trend.

That number might be even higher now, considering Google rolled out its “mobile-friendly update” on April 21, which boosted the ranking of pages that catered to mobile users.

These days brands need to think mobile first, determining how audiences will receive content on screens not much bigger than your palm. Responsive and adaptive design and tailoring resources to these small screens are critical to success.

Social Monitoring

Investigative reporting once meant diving through mountains of paperwork and stakeouts. It still does, but it can also mean surfing Instagram. Recently, the Associated Press searched a politician’s Instagram account, concluded wrongful spending, and wrote a story that prompted a spending review.
This innovative way of leveraging social matches results from our survey. The second biggest trend in the media was social integration in the newsroom (18%).

As more and more reporters rely on social media to unearth and source stories, brands need to balance appealing to customers and prospects and the media. Offering more thought leadership content, sharing breaking news, analyzing trends, and engaging with reporters are key to modern-day media relations.

Conclusion

As digital and social media journalism booms, brands and marketers should look not only to their peers, but also to the media outlets that are innovating within the industry. After all, about 90% of brands do content marketing but only 38% say their efforts are effective.

media infographic

 

The Author

As Chief Marketing Officer of Cision, Mark Thabit guides the global product vision, builds Cision’s brand in the marketplace, and oversees the development of integrated demand generation plans that drive leads, acquire customers and increase customer retention across product lines. Thabit joined Vocus, which later became Cision in 2014, with over 23 years of sales and marketing experience in the technology arena.

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