Today’s columnist, Neil Anderson: Nothing will stand still again

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Newspapers have had their fair share of misfortune these past few years.

I’ve followed their plight closer than many as their success has regularly been linked to mine through my PR business; if people aren’t reading newspapers they’re not reading the press releases I’m putting in there.

But in recent months there has been a major upturn in the fortunes of many as a new business model has started to emerge.

‘Brilliant content’ is a phrase you’ll find all over the internet. It’s viewed as online gold dust.

Providing a non-stop supply of interesting prose backed up with pictures and, better still, video content via your media channels is seen as the secret of online success .

And who does ‘brilliant content’ better than anyone? You guessed it, journalists.

News is the number one thing people want to read on the internet and that’s why you’ll now find gargantuan Twitter followings for The Star, Sheffield Telegraph and other titles that publish online.

And journalists don’t just turn up with a notepad and pen any more. They want a constant supply of video footage, photos and content to supply their own social media channels as well as the digital editions of their newspapers.

It wasn’t that long ago that people questioned the thinking of allowing people to read newspaper content online for free.

The method to the madness is starting to shine through.

If you get your stories in the digital editions, the influence and readership can be stratospheric.

At one time local newspapers were just that, local. Not any more. These days their stories can be read anywhere on the planet once they go online.

But there’s still a long way to go before things settle down into anything like an equilibrium. Online advertising still only brings a fraction of the amount once commandeered by the print editions of old.

But the situation has given a whole new focus to PR people. At one time there was only a finite number of outlets for news – namely print and broadcast media.

If they didn’t use our press releases we were at the end of the road on that particular story.

Not any more. The one thing the internet definitely means is nothing will stand still again. Nobody can be complacent. You only have to look at the rapid rise and fall of social media channels like My Space and Friends Reunited to realise that.

* Neill Anderson, Neil Anderson Media public relations