Could Twitter become the primary news distribution channel in the near future?

Social media has fundamentally transformed how we live, work, shop, buy, and market. Outreach to journalists is no exception.

 
Hannah Fleishman, Media relations, HubSpot
hfleishman@hubspot.com

Social media press releases have become increasingly trendy in the PR business as a tactic to spice up conventional, text-heavy pieces with shareable, tweetable content.

Twitter's brevity and real-time feed make it an ideal source for consumers of news media. For journalists, Twitter is equally handy, allowing them to interact in real time with sources, readers, and experts, as well as building their personal brands online.

Social media has fundamentally transformed how we live, work, shop, buy, and market. Outreach to journalists is no exception. Making information context-driven, easy to find, and shareable is paramount.

The old-school PR recipe is pretty standard: write a press release, pitch to reporters, and follow up via phone calls and emails. This feels as modern as an 18th century novel in today's times. However, social media press releases can also seem like marketers are trying too hard and thus difficult for reporters to navigate.

To that end, I recommend a hybrid approach that puts social top of mind, not as an afterthought. First, share the content of others and embrace a personality on Twitter - your customers and journalists alike will thank you. Second, for each announcement, craft a blog entry and a concise press release that is interesting, clear, to the point, and consider visual elements to make content pop in a crowded marketplace.

Instead of asking whether your release is social or not, ask whether your strategy itself is? If not, rethink your approach so that social opportunities seamlessly strengthen content and make it impossible not to share.

Jennifer Lashua, global social media manager, Intel
jennifer.l.lashua@intel.com  

It is important to recognize the unique strengths of each social network and the role each one plays in a brand's social media and communications strategy.

At Intel, we tailor our approach for each network, taking into account what type of people are on the network, when, how, and where they are using it, and what their expectations of the experience are. Twitter is all about information that is in real time and makes an immediate impact.

We create tweets that we hope will literally stop people in their tracks. When we're crafting them, we ask ourselves two questions. First, can this be read and understood in under a second, and, did this engage me or pique my curiosity enough that I would be willing to click the link in the tweet, the favorite button, or retweet it?

Twitter has a role in keeping the world informed with the latest news. And, when news is delivered via Twitter in a format that matches people's expectations - in short, impactful statements - it works because it's quickly and easily consumed and shared.

Yes, some people will read a full press release or a news article but, increasingly, Twitter is often the first or only place people get news from. Over time, the role and relevance of Twitter in delivering news will only continue to rise. However, the ubiquity of other channels, including traditional news outlets, won't be entirely replaced by Twitter, at least not quite yet.

Richard Nevins, digital manager, Weber Shandwick
rnevins@webershandwick.com
 

Twitter has become an essential destination for news discovery, and a major driver of media distribution through links and hashtags. Among serious news hounds, the platform is the most valuable tool for learning about breaking news and finding new information, as well as potential sources.

Even among Twitter's non-journalist users, there is an appetite for news content. According to a recently published survey by the Pew Research Center, slightly more than half of Twitter's adult American audience consumes news on the service, and those users are more mobile, educated, and younger than news consumers on other social platforms such as Facebook.

For corporate communications professionals, Twitter's information-rich environment and appealing demographic slant should be a natural place to take news, whether it is about an executive appointment, a new product announcement, or a quarterly earnings report. If it is newsworthy, then it will find interest among some relevant portion of Twitter's audience.

Companies can build equity in their Twitter presence by releasing information through these channels. If news comes first, or at least simultaneously, on Twitter, then reporters, analysts, investors, and other stakeholders will follow corporate accounts to stay abreast of news releases or to find an official comment. When they serve as a source of new information, tweets are often embedded in news articles and blog posts, giving further authority to the channels as a voice of the company.

It's not yet clear that Twitter's format of 140-character messages could become the primary channel for delivering all news in the future, but it has already proven that it can be an indispensable primary source for all information-gathering organizations, media publications, and news aggregators

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