How Facebook (and other social media) has affected the News World

 And what you can do about it

Social Media takes over journalismWe all knew it was going to happen eventually; Facebook has taken over the world. Ok, maybe not the world, but it is definitely giving the news industry a run for its money. With more and more people getting their news digitally, social media is rapidly changing the way that journalists approach news.

News outlets must now find a way to produce original, interesting content that is highly shareable and will drive traffic to their web site. Oh and all before anybody else too. Edelman in a recent study, in collaboration with start-ups NewsWhip and Muck Rack, discovered that over 75% of journalists admitted to feeling pressure about their story’s potential for being shared on social media. Journalists are also having to delve into new areas of expertise. Nearly 75% journalists are creating original video content to go with their stories rather than relying on consumer generated or corporate video content. In an effort to make their stories more “share friendly” journalists are using the following five key components:

• Video/Images
• Brevity
• Localization
• More Use Of Human Voice
• Proximity To Trending Topics

The study also showed what news outlets are most popular on certain social platforms. The Huffington Post had the most video content and thus emerged as the top shared news outlet on Facebook overall. While outlets like The New York Times, Forbes and Business Insider posted the most shares on LinkedIn. Not very The Big Threesurprisingly, the most shared outlets on Facebook weren’t your typical “hard news” outlets, they were: The Huffington Post, Buzzfeed, Mashable and PlayBuzz. And let’s not forget about Twitter, with shares from outlets like The New York Times, BBC and Mashable, Twitter gets our vote for most informative, but still entertaining. Edelman also found that journalists are seeing five trends that are impacting the news world this year:

• More Mobile Friendly Content
• Faster Turnaround Times
• More Original Video
• Smaller Newsroom Staff
• Social Media Influence Growth

Now that we’ve seen the depth of impact of social media on the news industry and what journalists are seeing, what can we do about it? We’ve come up with five tips to help get your stories through to the journalists and onto the social interwebs beyond!

1. Form stronger relationships with journalists: Did you know that 64% of journalists think it is inappropriate to do a follow up (on your original pitch) over the phone? Email is the far preferred method. Also a lot of journalists are using Twitter to build their personal brand. Try engaging with them “outside” of work and you might have better success when you next pitch them.

2. Remember what is actually “newsworthy”: While you may think that your company or your client’s company is the greatest thing under the sun, unfortunately not everyone else does. When trying to pitch journalists make sure that what you are wanting them to share, is actually newsworthy and not just noteworthy. Is it positive? Give practical, useful information to the average news consumer? Does it evoke a strong emotion? Is it a once-in-a-lifetime kind of thing? Is it an accident? Is it controversial? If you answered “no” or “not exactly” to these questions than it most likely isn’t right to share on the news platform.

3. Create stories that are “shareable”: Do the job for them! Make the reporter’s job easier and craft your news so that it is already shareable (remember the list above) If you can create your own original video and pics, they are even more likely to share and probably use you again in the future too.

4. Keep it simple silly: Journalists are very busy people, always looking for their next story. Make sure you are contacting the correct person for the beat you want to be featured in. Make sure you give them important details in the first few sentences and remember to tell them why their readers will care. And remember that reporters are people, they like to be treated like a person.

5. Be creative: Reporters are constantly barraged with phone calls, emails and faxes from people asking them to cover their story. If you want to be heard, sometimes being creative and standing out can pay off. Remember to be brief, reporters are busy people.

Worried about how to get your message out? We’d love to help! Contact us to see how we can get your message where you want it to be.

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About the Author:

As founder of PilmerPR, John Pilmer, APR serves as a PR and marketing communications advisor for both emerging and established companies. He offers customers more than 20 years of results-driven business PR and marketing experience. John and the firm have provided PR consultation and campaigns for clients such as Mozy, Novell, AdvancedMD, Certiport, NextPage, ElectraTherm, Altiris, Avamar, EmergeCore Networks, FSLogic, INVISUS, 10x Marketing, MWI, Project Insight, REIC, Seastone, US Synthetic and Funding Universe (now Lendio), among others.
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