Guest Post from Becky Miller: Former TV News Producer/Reporter on Turning Your Brand Into a Trusted Source
What is news, and what is promotion? When I graduated from college in the 80′s, and began working in TV news, there was a clear distinction. There were rules, standards and lines in the sand. Over the years, one by one, the lines in the sand have been moved, the rules revised and standards faded. Journalism as I once knew it is dead. But out of the ashes has arisen a new opportunity for entrepreneurs. Social Media and video sites such as You Tube are giving an enterprising businessperson more power and access than ever before.
Traditionally it’s been very difficult to secure an interview on the evening news or in the paper. It was a narrow and somewhat selective market. That still is the case, but viewers in increasing numbers are bypassing the local news, and finding the daily happenings online 24/7. According to a recent Pew study, “Social networking has expanded the ways in which the public gets news and information. About a quarter (27%) of adults say they regularly or sometimes get news or news headlines through Facebook, Twitter or other social networking sites.” “And when asked to describe what they like about getting news over social networks and Twitter, answers range from features of the technology such as speed, portability and brevity to ways in which the content is more customized, personal and topical.” Pew Study/Views of the News Media: 1985-2011/September 22, 2011
Customized, personal and topical is the window of opportunity for business. The trend right now is to make quick tweets and Facebook postings. I contend you need to pause before hitting the share button; make sure you choose those few words carefully.
- RESEARCH is a word rarely used anymore, especially in the social media arena, but it is perhaps the first one businesses need to consider when tweeting or posting information. You need to make every effort to make sure the information is accurate and helpful.
- Befriend your audience. Put yourself in the shoes of your viewers/readers. Consider how they may view the posting/video.
- Be conversational. Use proper grammar & spelling, but keep it reader friendly.
- Offer helpful tips, not just a sales pitch. You need to become the go-to source for specific information. If you build furniture, why not offer tips for the novice home woodworker?
- Be genuine. Tell it like it is, but temper it with carefully chosen language.
- Keep your posts neutral on the political front. Per Pew: ”Fully 74% of online news consumers say they prefer internet sources that do not have a political point of view.”
The study also found that even though the public mistrust of the media grows, it still is trusted above big business and government. Per Pew: “These surveys find that while the public holds news organizations in low regard, they are more trusted as a source of information than are federal, state and local governments…..and business corporations.”
This is a challenge for business, but if the social media is personalized, accurate and credible content is provided, I believe the business can overcome this obstacle. This Pew study is no surprise to me. I frequently talk with clients about the media, and those views are almost parallel to what I’ve been hearing from the mainstream. The methods of how news is broadcast are expanding. Video is searchable, so are blogs and even postings if you desire. Why not make the most of the tools to promote your business and give the public what they want. Credible, personalized and trusted information. The suggestions made in this blog can be applied to both social media and video used in social media.
About the author: Becky Miller worked in broadcast news for 20 years. Honors include 3 Emmy nominations, awards from Associated Press, The State Bar of Texas and others. She now helps businesses find a voice in the video and social media landscape. Contact Becky at email@example.com.