For years conventional wisdom has dictated that the best way to garner traditional media coverage is to deliver stories to the media, who then deliver this news if they deem it to be relevant.
Times have changed. We can now produce rich new media content and leverage social media channels to share stories ourselves. This approach, if done right, can produce two major results: we can share stories directly with an audience and traditional media can be exposed to these stories and become interested beyond a traditional PR pitch.
Journalists are paying attention to the stories that are being shared in social media. They are watching, seeing if people are attracted to a story by engaging, responding, retweeting, posting to Facebook, and making comments. If all of this is happening, then they can tell a story is hot and they may cover it. Today, more than ever, journalists need to know a story is going to attract an audience and they are looking at social media as a test lab for sticky stories.
To be successful in this approach, we have to be purposeful and strategic and develop stories for an audience, not just the media. We have to think – and act – like journalists. The “think like a journalist” idea has been around for a long time, but the opportunity to “act like a journalist” is pretty new thanks to advances in social media, reasonably priced HD video and digital SLR cameras, and highly accessible online platforms.
If we put our journalist hats on when we set out to shoot a video interview or write an article about a business, a client, or a corporate employer, we force ourselves to think differently. And then we'll learn what sticks and what doesn't when we share it in social media.
Taking this new approach while sharing stories directly with an audience will only improve our success and increase our value as strategic communicators by getting stories to the right people through traditional and social media and ultimately impacting the bottom line.