New Media, Old Media: What Are Your Readers Looking For?
 By Sally Falkow, social media coach & president of PRESSfeed

The Pew Project for Excellence in Journalism has a new report out about the news content in old media and new media, and how blogs and social media news agendas relate to, or differ from, traditional media sources. The findings are very interesting.

What used to be a one-way broadcast of news has become an increasingly social medium. Half of Americans rely on friends and people they know for news. 44 percent of online users get news from a social site.

News Patterns
Although most original reporting still comes from traditional news sources, technology—like blogs and social networks—have opened the floodgates of discussion and opinion about the news. People are influencing the impact of the news in ways that were impossible before.

The Pew study looked at the types of news stories consumers share and discuss the most, and the issues they have less interest in.

Not surprisingly, they discovered that each social community has its own culture, personality, and function. The study analyzed a year of data–top news stories discussed and linked to on blogs and social media pages; seven months’ worth on Twitter; and a year of the most viewed, news-related videos on YouTube.

Emerging News Trends

• The stories that gain traction in social media are substantially different from those that lead in the mainstream media. Gosh! Could this be a clue as to why mainstream media circulation and viewership is declining? Are they perhaps not tuned in to our tastes and interests?
• There are also big differences between what gets noticed and shared in blogs, Twitter, and YouTube. Just as with other media channels, each of the social media channels has its own community and their interests differ.
• News consumers don’t stay long on any website–make your news brief and appealing to the particular audience of that platform.
• Blogs shared the same lead story with traditional media in just 13 out of the 49 weeks studied.
• Stories that gain traction in social media do so quickly, often within hours of initial reports, and leave quickly as well.
• Blogs are still heavily reliant on mainstream sources for their content.
• Twitter, on the other hand, is not. A majority of Twitter news is linked to online sources.
• News videos on YouTube that got the most views and sharing had a strong visual appeal.
PR 101 Still Applies
The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Do your homework. Read the blogs. Don’t pitch stories that are wrong for that blog or website. Use video to get more interest–but make sure they are visually appealing and tell a story.

Don’t make the mistake of viewing ’social media’ as one, homogeneous platform, and put the same content on all channels. It did not work in old media, and it won’t work in new media. It might save time, but it does not get results. Find out who the audience is for a particular channel, and create content specifically for them.

To properly service journalists, bloggers, and social media conversationalists, you need to provide multiple types of content on your online newsroom. Don’t assume that you know what they want. Let them pick the content they prefer, and make it easy for them to take it and use it.

---Source: Sally Falkow has been in PR for 30 years and has been accredited by the Public Relations Society of America. She has trained over 300 PR professionals from Fortune 100 companies, small businesses, and individual entrepreneurs. Follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

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