Six Public Relations Tips to Tackle Fake News Influence


By Tom Becktold, Founder, NewsDriver

My thinking is that you drive around the fake news swamp and tackle the audiences you need to reach more precisely and directly with your own messaging.

Social media provides an amazing opportunity for public relations to micro-target with factual, relevant content that speaks to our tribal selves.


It moves beyond just press releases, to leverage all the content at your disposal and speak to different audiences in different ways about your core message.

While we at NewsDriver are focused on building the tools to help you identify, curate and serve the right content to the right influencers at the right time, there are a range of solid approaches PR teams should consider to engage better in our tribal social world.

  1. To start with and to paraphrase Hamilton, “talk less, listen more.” Understand who your influencers are, what they are saying and in what context so you can craft more relevant content to share with them. Here’s a basket of social media monitoring tools to consider.
  1. Next, practice and refine building fantastic entry points to your content. Identify a range of different facts that will speak to the different tribes you’ve identified in your listening phase. Craft compelling headlines and tweets and then match them with visuals from your content marketing arsenal.

Infographic: The Essential Guide to Writing a Catchy Headline, Hubspot fakenews2

  1. Reach out to your marketing, advertising, sales and social teams to grab photos, graphics, videos and other visuals to tell your story. Don’t skip this critical step – visuals are critical to breaking through clutter and connect XX% then text only stories.
  1. When you build social media posts featuring these great entry points, make sure the links back to your source content are trackable and measurable by your team. Add Google tracking tags and a URL shortener for starters. The data you gather will help you refine and measure success.
  1. Don’t just post and pitch. Serve up content that best speaks to the tribes you’ve identified. Refine, modify and provide variety. Offer videos, white papers, press releases, blog posts, third party tweets (ask first). Even within narrow tribes, we’re all individuals with different trigger points.
  1. Boost your content through paid social. After all, social media platforms are at their heart, paid platforms for brands. You want to go viral? Not likely without opening your checkbook. Our NewsDriver team has a great algorithm to build a highly targeted and cost-effective audience for your social content.

For more tips, check out Robert Wynne’s excellent post, Public Relations in a Post-Factual Fake News World.

Public relations professionals are uniquely qualified to have the conversations that have impact on social media. The influence of social media on our perceptions and decisions has never been greater. Traditional media continue to struggle, and that’s a challenge we need to tackle head on.

Broaden the communications front that public relations owns by leveraging our ability to influence real people one-on-one in a more systematic way on social.

We’d love to hear your thoughts below or tweet us @thenewsdriver #fightfakenews

About the Author: With nearly three decades of experience in the marketing, public relations, social media and content delivery, Tom has unique insight into the challenges and opportunities facing today’s communications professionals. Along with partners Peter Brand and Gavin Carter, Tom founded NewsDriver in 2016 to create a purpose-built SaaS platform that let’s public relations professionals identify, combine, connect, share and promote their best content across social media to reporters and influencers. The company’s first beta product, NewsDriver Boost, functions as a fully custom social “newswire” building and refining audiences in real-time across social media, boosting content teasers that drive traffic back to the client. Tom’s marketing and design consulting firm, Modernist Marketing, consults with start-ups, non-profits, private equity and business-to-business companies to launch and refine marketing and business plans. From 1988-2014, Tom was with Business Wire, where he was senior vice president of global marketing from 2006-2014. 


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