By Melissa Baratta, SVP, Affect
A study came out last week showing that 51% of online users are now getting their news from social media at least once a week. And for the 18-24 age bracket, social media has surpassed TV for the first time ever as the number one source of news. Just this morning at the doctor’s office, a young employee told me that he gets all of his information (all of it!) from Facebook.
These survey results aren’t a huge surprise, but it does mean that media outlets – and thus brands and PR execs – have to change the way they operate to meet the new way people are consuming news. What can companies do to appeal to the media and make their voice heard in this changing landscape?
- Think Like a Journalist
Facebook’s trending topics often dictate what consumers will click, so news outlets are trying to find headlines that will trend on social. There is increased pressure on them to make shareable and social media friendly articles that will ultimately drive web traffic. Affect surveyed some reporters last month and found that they do this by:
- Scouring other publications and multiple social sites to see what people are talking about
- Using tools like Trackmaven and Google Analytics to see what stories are trending and what people click most on their own sites
If reporters are doing that, so should brands. Look at social media and see what’s trending, and read publications to see what kinds of stories are getting top promotion or the most shares and comments. From there, develop story-lines and pitch topics that relate to the kinds of things the audience is really interested in.
- Use Different Mediums
Almost 20% of people use YouTube and 10% use Twitter as their news source. Sites like Medium are also getting a lot of attention, not only from readers, but also from news sources which are now pulling content from them.
Make sure you’re building content for different platforms that will allow you to reach these audiences. For every story you develop, think about how it could be told on social. Publish your corporate blog posts on Medium, do a video component for big company announcements, and break your press releases, reports and bylines down into “snackable” images and posts for Facebook and Twitter.
- Keep it Casual and Friendly
Think about what the audience wants to read, not just what you want to say. Consumers tend to prefer the BuzzFeed approach to news – images and listicles instead of long blocks of text.
Reporters love when brands can bullet point advice for their audience, so your story is much more likely to get picked up by the media if you’re providing tangible, easy to digest bits of info. To do this, write your headline as a perfect tweet, and use short phrases and bullets that are quick to read and easy to share.
If you can provide content that is relevant, concise and applicable to various social media sites, you’ll be in good shape to get your stories picked up, clicked on and trending.