Now, more than ever, journalism-based news should be aggressively marketing what differentiates itself — the truth — from other sources of information.
In Jack Trout and Al Reis’ 1980 book Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind, the authors made it clear if you don’t position your brand, others — namely your competition — will position you as they see fit. Somewhere along the line, journalism-based news started assuming everyone understood what set it apart, and what made it different, from other sources of information.
We started assuming all we needed to do was remind audiences and prospective readers we were available for a “limited time low price.”
All the while, other media channels began positioning themselves — and repositioning the printed news — as they lay claim to specific niches, whether speed to market, breaking news, or investigative journalism.
They (competitors) claimed we were slow, out-of-date, and behind the times. Some claimed printed news sources were dying and our days on earth were numbered.
They made fun of us and we sat there and took it, because, as we wrongly believed, we were the one and only true source for objective and independently verified news.
Well, it is past the time for newspaper industry to stand up for itself and reclaim what sets it apart from all other news sources. Despite years — no, decades — of erosion, we are beginning to see printed news sources adopt more aggressive positioning for their brands and a willingness to reposition their competition.
Recent subscription marketing efforts from the Star Tribune in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA, is but one example. While these subscription marketing e-mails provide a specific offer, they also begin to build on what differentiates the Star Tribune from other sources of news and information.
Whether promoting a political columnist that is “deeply connected” or reinforcing the important role the newspaper plays in following up on the “promises” that have been made, they begin to tell the story of how the Star Tribune is different — and better — than other sources of news and information.
Still other newspapers are beginning to communicate their value as a trusted news sources. The Gazette in Janesville, Wisconsin, USA, recently launched a campaign focused on the “Value of Trusted News.”
And other print news sources have begun to reinforce the important role that subscribers play in supporting the survival of a free press. As this recent e-mail to former subscribers to The Advocate in Louisiana, USA, points out, “Your one subscription matters.”
“Your one subscription made it possible for us to cover the cruel flooding and push for a national role in rebuilding Louisiana …
“Your one subscription help pay the reporters who covered the devastating cuts to higher education …
“Your one subscription enabled us to investigate questionable and wasteful spending in the prison system …
“Your one subscription is more than just a subscription. It’s an investment in a free press at a time when fake news threatens our civic life.”
And still other print news sources are reinforcing the value of an independent and free press.
It’s time for journalism-based news to take off the gloves, stand tall, and clearly and confidently communicate what sets it apart from other news sources — the purveyors of alternative facts, and the propagandists. It’s time for journalism-based news to position itself and reposition the competition.