Over the past ten years the news media has been under a great deal of pressure. More than a third of the journalists in newsrooms in the US have been laid off. This has led to some major changes in how media relations is practiced. According to the 2013 State of the Media report from Pew Research Center, shrinking newsroom staff has opened the door for news content from nonprofits and brands to be included in news reporting:
“With fewer specialized beats your press release has never been more important. Often, it provides language we see verbatim in news stories.”
So while the core of news reporting and media relations is still the same, there are new ways to get earned media for your brand. Journalists are reporting on a 24/7 deadline, most are covering more than one beat and many of them are strapped for resources. The best way to get your news content noticed and used is to provide content that:
- Is newsworthy and interesting
- Makes reporting the story easier
- Has excellent visuals that extend and enhance the story for the reader
A traditional text press release written in the inverted triangle format is no longer enough.
“In today’s hard-pressed newsrooms, having access to some usable, pre-produced copy would be incredibly useful. And this way, the PR industry becomes a partner in communicating truthful and factual information.” Tom Foremski, Publisher of Silicon Valley Watcher.
How’s how to create SMART news content
S: SEARCH & SOCIAL
98% of journalists start a story by doing a Google search. If your news content or press release is not optimized for search – both news and web search – it’s unlikely that it will be found and read by journalists, bloggers and members of the public searching that topic online. SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is an essential skill for PR practitioners. It should be taught along with writing, in all PR classes.
Journalists and bloggers watch sites like Twitter, Reddit and Pinterest for content about for breaking news stories. They dig through LinkedIn and blogs for experts and sources.
A majority of U.S. adults – 62% – get news on social media, and 18% do so often. That’s up from 49% in 2012.of U.S. adults reported seeing news on social media.
Who Reads News on Social
Although there is some cross-over, each social site appeals to a somewhat different group. LinkedIn news consumers are more likely to be high earners and college educated. Twitter news consumers are significantly younger than news consumers on Facebook, Google Plus and LinkedIn. And Facebook news consumers are more likely to be female than news consumers on YouTube, Twitter and LinkedIn.
Trend to Watch: Sharing News on Social
The Pew State of the Media report identified the sharing of news on social media as the one factor that will most impact the news media in this decade.
Media sites know that when a story has an appealing image or interesting video it gets more views, comments and shares. Social sites like Facebook and Twitter have updated their design to be more visual. Instagram and Snapchat are the current darlings of the social world. = and it’s all about visual content. Here are some relevant statistics:
- Colored visuals increase people’s willingness to read a piece of content by 80%
- Content with relevant images gets 94% more views than text alone
When the images are relevant, readers spend more time looking at the images than they do reading text on the page
Infographics are liked and shared on social media 3X more than other any other type of content
Reporters say that good images and video with a press release significantly increase the chance that they will use your material.
TIP: Every press release should have two or three multimedia elements attached.
Download this Visual Content Guidebook.
A: ATTRACTING ATTENTION
In our “always-on” world of constant communication, attention is the scarcest and most valuable commodity. People are bombarded with messages all day long. Your content has to cut through that clutter. The first step is to be visible. but the content has to be interesting and useful to the reader in order to get their attention. That means you have to know what interests them right now and what will push their “go” button and get them to pay attention and share it with others.
Watch this video on how to make your content ten times better than your competitor’s.
These are some of the most important factors in getting your news content found, seen and shared. People are looking for information and news online, but they will only pay attention to content that’s relevant to their current interest or situation. You have to do your research and get to know your audiences. Write content that gives them the news and information they need.
Do the research on influencers and journalists too, so that you can create relevant news content they would find interesting and useful for their audiences.
Build relationships with your own audience, as well as with influencers and journalists, so that your news will reach a wider audience.
People engage with brands they feel they can trust. Your news content must include information that engenders that sense of trust. Be fully transparent and publish news that is accurate.
The most trusted form of content for the public is reviews or recommendations from friends, fans, followers and family or “people like me.” Telling stories about real people and publishing case studies about customers goes a long way towards building that trust.
The media wants trusted sources they can rely on who will provide them with excellent content. If you consistently provide good quality content you can become that source.
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