This PR Agency Pulled Back on Influencer Outreach This Year

We are all familiar with the missive that ‘print is dead.’ And yes, we are looking at a media landscape with fewer of the big books than ever before. Alongside it, the consumer fashion and beauty PR landscape works hard to work within this smaller pool of PR opportunities. Many agencies have shifted their focus to the influencer space, convinced this is the best way to achieve PR goals. However, while it is necessary for agencies to expand expertise beyond traditional print media relations, the pendulum has swung too far in the direction of influencers over editorial.

As a PR expert and agency owner I am taking a stand against this idea that ‘That print is dead’, and the future is influencer marketing. We have worked with bloggers since we launched in 2015 and had very mixed experiences and results. This year, we took a step back from influencer and blogger outreach and collaborations. Shocking right! Before you decide we are totally nuts, there is method to our madness.

We understand that clients and brands want to gain coverage online through influencer and blogger content and see the value in tracking backlinks, boosting Search results and driving website traffic. For many brands influencer marketing is key for brands and works as a main driver for coverage. But there are still audiences who don’t use social media, and still others who are rapidly changing or reducing their usage. As surprising as that may be for those of us in fashion + lifestyle communications, it’s an important understanding to keep in mind.

For example, according to a report carried out by Science Trends, Generation Z are deactivating social media accounts, with 58% taking a break from social media all together. Depending on who your client’s demographics, not focusing on print coverage could potentially be a big mistake.

We have worked with bloggers since we launched in 2015 and had very mixed experiences and results. This year, we took a step back from influencer and blogger outreach and collaborations.

Now, some of our clients focus on trade audiences and not all are seeking a Gen Z customer, group but we still feel committed to continuing to focus on fashion journalism over influencer marketing. It is from this perspective that this year we chose to really dive into understanding how print media is evolving and changing and to really invest in our existing relationships with journalists and freelance writers. After all, magazines have been a driving force for consumer brands for many years. From product placements to in-depth features, print coverage ensures client coverage will be thoughtfully produced and well-written.

This is the perfect time to enhance and build on the connections among those in the traditional print world because these publications still need us to help them put together issue after issue. Collaborating with influencers and bloggers can be great, but it can be very uncertain, and difficult to manage. This year alone has seen brands like Unileaver publicly announce that they won’t work with anyone who buys followers.   You have to sit back and think ‘will the quality and reach really be there?’

Yes we live our lives online, but many people still buy a newspaper daily and love nothing more then buying the latest issue of their favourite magazines. Being mindful of generations and audiences that don’t even know who or what an influencer or blogger is can open up new opportunities for brands to truly stand out against the competition.

For many brands influencer marketing is key for brands and works as a main driver for coverage. But there are still audiences who don’t use social media, and still others who are rapidly changing or reducing their usage.

No one knows for sure what will happen in the next few years in regards to PR, influencers, bloggers and print. But we are committed to:

  • Investing in our relationships with traditional PR outlets
  • Supporting editors and freelancers of closed publications with their new ventures
  • Considering outlier audiences who “don’t play the influencer game”
  • Supporting print with our subscriptions and creative pitches

For as long as we can, we will continue to work with print publications and secure as much glossy coverage as possible.

Print isn’t dead it’s just evolving…and we are here for it.

About Rochelle

Rochelle White is Owner and PR Director of boutique PR agency Rochelle White PR,  a consumer and lifestyle agency based in Milton Keynes and London. Rochelle is passionate about all things PR and loves helping brands tell their story through carefully created copy and building their brand narrative through high quality campaigns and photography.

RWPR believes magazines still make a lot of sense for brand publicity - do you agree?