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Is Social Media Taking Over Traditional Journalism?

With BBC News and Mail Online replacing newspapers, Pinterest and Instagram substituting magazines; are we seeing social influencers and bloggers take over from traditional journalists?

More and more brands are looking for influential online outlets to place exciting PR stories and product reviews, rather than pushing stories the traditional way through journalists. Blogger outreach can be more effective than traditional media coverage, generating higher exposure and increasing brand awareness, with bloggers more likely to advocate products they like, helping to bolster brands.

Gone are the days where products and destinations are reviewed from a neutral journalist’s perspective, but instead today’s social influencers are explicitly voicing their opinions and feedback, coercing a loyal following to copy whatever they recommend. Whether they are convincing their fans to travel to certain holiday hotspots, practise yoga or eat kale, blogs and social channels have worldwide followings and devoted supporters.

For example, if a new restaurant is opening in Santorini, consumers need to think about the best way to generate publicity and engage with the desired target audience. Will the restaurant and destination secure maximum exposure if a journalist from a regional newspaper reviews the destination and the feature appears in print in a seaside town in Cornwall? Or will there be a far bigger outreach if a top blogger such as Zoella reviews the destination, accompanied by images or videos, opinions and tips? With a dedicated following of over 16 million across her social channels, Zoella is likely to generate better exposure and brand recognition, showcasing the strength and growing importance of social influencers and bloggers. Yes, using such a prolific blogger incurs a cost, but if you want maximum exposure, you need to make the investment. That being said, there are plenty of impressive social influencers out there that don’t ask for payment, yet still ensure you achieve maximum impact.

I wouldn’t argue that the day of the traditional journalist is over (nor will it ever be), but the day of the social media influencer is very much here.

By Libby Allan