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The News Chair

What Makes a Good Media Story

instagram-1474232_1280According to Data Never Sleeps 4.0, in the past five years, “The global Internet population has grown by more than 60%, and there are more mobile devices on the planet than people.”

Every minute:

  •  Americans use 18,264,840 megabytes of wireless data
  •  3,567,850 text messages are sent in the U.S.
  •  Google translates 69,500,000 words

I guess you could say data is everywhere, being shared at a mind-boggling rate. And as more data is shared across a growing number of digital channels and social media platforms, it becomes more challenging to have your voice heard, your client’s brand noticed or your customer’s testimonial heard.

So what makes a good media story? And what makes that story stand out within the media buzz?

pencils-762555_1280The story:

  • Impacts people by solving a problem, providing an answer, generating an action or getting a conversation started about a topic
  • Touches the audience on an emotional level, helping motivate people to spread the word to others
  • Captures natural moments between people as well as the environment, evoking one or more of the senses
  • Contains fair and balanced information, telling a factual and accurate account
  • Revolves around a good character, a person who is a spokesperson for the story, offers a reflective testimonial and draws the audience in with his or her point of view

film-512132_1280The media–traditional and digital, print and online–has more stories to cover, more platforms to share to and be responsible for, and less resources to gather those stories.

Make sure your story is one that can’t be overlooked … or forgotten.

 

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Will Leo Finally Win His Oscar? And Does it Matter?

Leonardo_DiCaprio_Popular_American_Film_Actor_WallpaperAs I started to think about what I wanted to write for this blog, I looked back at some previous PR-related posts on the PR Daily website. And one of them had a photo of Leonardo DiCaprio. After staring at his photo for awhile, I confirmed how enamored I am with Leo. Always have been — and I’m quite sure I always will be.

This year, he’s in the running for an Academy Award for his work in “The Revenant,” a movie I have yet to see but am looking forward to enjoying. It doesn’t really matter to me that he gets attacked by a bear or eats a bison liver — it’s two-plus hours of Leo, and I’m okay with that.

There are many articles to choose from focused on whether Leo will or won’t win the Oscar — it would be his first, shockingly. Why has he been snubbed before? Why might this be the first win? Will it affect his chances going forward? And why is this being covered so much in the media?

And then I started to research how much news and media really influences us as a public. Are the Academy members reading all these articles about whether Leo should or should not win? Does that affect them and their decision? One article I read noted the following:

  • Mass media frame the details of the story.
  • Mass media communicate the social desirability of certain ideas.
  • Mass media sets the news agenda, which shapes the public’s views on what is newsworthy and important.

I’m sure we have all seen how much what the media says can affect your opinion on a particular issue. I used to work in the media and know how you frame a story can indeed have both a positive and negative effect with viewers. Another article says: “News is bad for your health. It leads to fear and aggression, and hinders your creativity and ability to think deeply. The solution? Stop consuming it altogether.”

I’m not too sure I agree with that, but it’s an interesting thought.

Somehow my train of thought went from PR to Leo to news coverage to media’s affect on the public to — Does anyone really care hundreds of articles have probably been written about Leo and the elusive Oscar? Someone cares, or the articles wouldn’t have been written. Or would they?

 

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Have You Newsjacked Lately?

BreakingNews

When was the last time you flipped through a newspaper, turned on TV news or scrolled through Twitter and found breaking news? It’s happening every day — a crime, an accident, severe weather, a political battle.

 

Tiffany Whisner

Tiffany Whisner

But how can you turn breaking news into a marketing opportunity for your organization? It’s called newsjacking.

 

Ride the popularity news wave

HubSpot’s Corey Eridon said, “Newsjacking refers to the practice of capitalizing on the popularity of a news story to amplify your sales and marketing success.”

 

Newsjacking was made popular by David Meerman Scott with his book, “Newsjacking: How to Inject Your Ideas into a Breaking News Story and Generate Tons of Media Coverage.” He offers tips on how to take advantage of breaking news and use it to generate media attention for your business.

 

But you have to take action at the right time. There’s a point in the life of the news story between the news breaking and the scramble of journalists for additional information. This is the time to newsjack.

 

In most cases, breaking news becomes old news pretty quick, and the interest in that story dies down. To take advantage of newsjacking, don’t get wrapped up in the details of the marketing campaign or ruminate on the exact angle of a blog post. Just go for it.

 

Not-so-new concept breaks ground

Newsjacking isn’t a completely cutting-edge concept. Public relations professionals have been using it for years. However, it’s getting more attention as brand and content marketing is advancing to the forefront of the industry.

 

Why should you newsjack? Mark Sherbin of the Content Marketing Institute said benefits include:

  • Boosting SEO
  • Drawing in readers with ultra-timely commentary
  • Sharing a new angle for branded content ideas
  • Leading your market in thought leadership

 

Newsjacking also “improves your brand’s reputation and drives highly-targeted traffic that can turn into leads and even sales,” Eridon said. But it’s a very delicate practice as well.

 

Countless brands that tried to make the best of Hurricane Sandy is one prime example, as are Kenneth Cole’s infamous Egyptian revolution and Syrian conflict tweets, which exploited a massive social movement and a source of considerable human suffering as opportunities to push products,” said Content Marketing Institute’s Britt Klontz in her article.

 

It’s a fine line between brilliance and breakdown.

 

Get newsjacking right

The key to newsjacking is thinking and acting fast. HubSpot’s Eridon shared some steps to move through the process:

  1. Set up alerts. Constantly monitor the news. Set up alerts for both natural and out-of-the-box opportunities.
  2. Check keyword search volume. Once you find a story to newsjack, create content around it. Also, research the search volume around variations of the keyword phrase you’d like to target.
  3. Read about your topic. Find the primary source of the news story and what others have written. It allows you to maintain originality and credibility.
  4. Write quickly but accurately. Get to writing, and do it fast! You want to be the first to respond to the news story … but make sure your content is accurate.
  5. Differentiate yourself. Ask yourself — what makes this story interesting to my audience? Give a reason for people to reference your content above the rest!

 

And Ragan’s Elizabeth Breese offered some additional technical tips about taking newsjacking success to the next level:

  1. Maintain targeted media lists. Build a dedicated list of journalists who will welcome your organization’s angle on a breaking news story.
  2. Pitch, don’t spam. Don’t spam every journalist covering the breaking news story. Reach out with a personalized message.
  3. Offer substance. Let media contacts know what additional information your business or client can provide.
  4. Don’t forget to share. When the story has been published or aired, treat it like your own. Share and promote it over your company’s social channels.

 

Newsjacking can be risky, but when done right, it can be very rewarding for your business.

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Categories: 2014 July Newsletter, Newsletters | Tags: Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,