Journalists are in the middle of a digital and social migration, and are looking for more interactive content – and communications teams stand to benefit.
Media outlets are moving more toward mobile compatibility, social media and multimedia content to capture an audience’s attention. And yet, a 24/7 news cycle demands speed – all while journalists are armed with fewer resources. In short, media outlets are expected to be faster and share better quality content – yet have less time or staff to do either.
This paradox presents a unique opportunity for marketing and communications professionals, who can serve as a partner to journalists by pitching them creative live social ideas and providing images, videos and infographics to accompany their stories. By helping influencers drive more traffic with strong, timely content, you will forge a relationship that will keep them coming back for more.
Stand Out with Social Video
Live video use among journalists is still in nascent stages – indicating an opportunity for first-moving communicators to get ahead of their competition. Almost half of respondents in Cision’s 2017 State of the Media Report said they use new video features of existing social platforms. Of those who use video, 41% say that they use Facebook Live, 19% are using Instagram stories and 17% have used Twitter’s livestream features.
I expect these numbers to keep going up, which means the time is now for communicators to think creatively about how to capitalize. In a cluttered social landscape that makes it difficult for brands to stand out, getting featured on an influencer’s Instagram story or doing a Facebook Live session with a journalist will help your brand break through the noise and reach new audiences. “April the Giraffe” captivated audiences simply by standing around and being a pregnant giraffe, live on video – surely your brand could take advantage of this medium (and do something more interesting) to generate interest and engagement.
Becoming a Journalist’s Greatest Asset
The report also found that journalists are relying less on staff photography than years before, possibly due to budget cuts. This puts them in a tricky spot – they need to stand out with interactive content, but have fewer resources than before to do so.
Communicators can become incredibly valuable to journalists by providing them these types of assets. By showcasing that you can deliver content that is going to make a story more compelling, you are helping the journalist do his or her job – and improving both of your audience and engagement numbers. Yet many organizations are missing this opportunity — A study by PR Newswire found that only 42% of press releases included multimedia elements. Before embarking on an announcement or series of pitches, think through the possible multimedia resources you could use to accompany the story. Taking the time to develop these assets could significantly amplify the amount of coverage you get.
Telling a story through unique data will also set you apart and capture a journalist’s attention. Fifty-six percent of respondents said they “always” or “often” use data, with only 5% responding “never.” Think through the different types of data your organization could have access to – case study information, a survey, trends in use of your software or service, etc. If you can provide new, interesting information that has not been published before, you’ve got a story.
The holy grail, then, lies at the intersection of multimedia and data. Package your survey findings in an infographic. Do a Facebook Live session to discuss trends. Post a series of Instagram stories outlining one finding after another. Compelling data plus compelling visuals provides the one-two punch that will deliver value and pique an influencer’s interest.
Integrated Campaign Calendars are a Must-Have
If journalists are increasingly turning to a wider array of digital sources and content for information, communications professionals can’t afford to work in silos. Consistency of message and materials is key, and your communications function needs a one-stop resource to understand everything the brand is disseminating. If your paid, earned and owned teams are working separately – and worse yet, maybe digital is its own function altogether – you’ll lose control of this consistency, leading to confusion for the researching journalist.
This is particularly true in a crisis situation. One of the first places journalists visit when a brand experiences a crisis is a company’s social media channels. An integrated, up-to-date campaign calendar enables real-time coordination across channels, allowing communicators to easily adjust during a crisis. This gives communicators the opportunity to accurately shape crisis communication in real time, ensuring they get the appropriate message across.
If the journalism industry is evolving, “same old” communications methods won’t cut it anymore. Marketing and communications teams who adapt and think big about dynamic content opportunities and new ways to craft campaigns will be the ones to capture influencer attention, increasing their brands’ visibility in order to reach the target audiences.
Nick Bell is the VP of Marketing Communications at Cision. With more than 20 years of technology marketing experience, Bell has held executive-level positions with marketing technology firms including Oracle Marketing Cloud, Eloqua and Adobe. Bell has a proven track record of developing award-winning and ROI-based marketing programs, media relations, and brand strategies. Bell holds a degree in journ