Social News Is A Media Must

In the age of social media democratization, news distribution is no exception.  Nowadays journalists are competing head-to-head with brands and publishers for the most sharable content. The changing landscape of interconnected social news distribution and consumption also means that PR communicators need to strengthen their storytelling abilities and social angles to support their chances of media coverage in this competitive environment.

A recent survey by Edelman, NewsWhip and Muck Rack with an infographic sheds light on how PR folks can exploit these changes to get the most coverage possible.  Here are 4 takeaways for PR profs:

The Social News Five W’s

The Five W’s of journalism—Who, What, When, Where, Why—have gotten a social media complement of five key storytelling ingredients reporters identified to make stories as sharable as possible: imagery (including video), localization, trending topics, the human voice, and brevity.

PR Takeaway: Your social, paid, and earned media strategies should include social amplification as a core part of the plan, not an afterthought. Harness these five elements in your pitch to make sure your story is incredibly sharable.

Journalists Are Feeling Social Pressure

Social news sharing also has impacted the way journalists examine their own craft and build their personal brand. In fact, 75 percent of journalists say that they feel pressured to think about their story’s potential to get shared on social platforms. About the same percentage use Twitter as the go-to platform for personal brand-building. Other stats of note: more than half of journalists prefer that a story pitch and its follow-up be done via email or Twitter—not by phone (hardly a shocker).

PR Takeaway: To deepen your relationship with the press, every move of your story pitch should be aligned with their preferences. Watch their behavior online, decode, and take your communication cues from there.

Homegrown Visual Assets Are Preferred

To enhance their storytelling, online media outlets are embracing the increasingly visual world that we live in, as much as content marketers from any brand. In fact, up to 75 percent of reporters create videos to enhance their news products. But there’s a caveat: an equally whopping 75 percent want graphics or video to come from their own newsroom, not from a company’s pre-packaged visual content. Only 13 percent are interested in using consumer or third-party videos, and a paltry 3 percent want corporate or branded videos.

PR takeaway: When pitching your story, offer up some agnostic but smart visual assets that support the story while making it easy for media outlets to include.

2015 Journalism Wants Visual Stories, Quickly

The last arena of the survey pulsed journalists on the upcoming trends they predict for this year. No big surprises here but they still require PR communicators’ attention to be responsive to their needs. They are: quicker story turnaround times, more reliance on visual elements (video dominating the list), smaller and focused staffs, more digital and mobile usage, and the continued rise of social influence.

PR Takeaway: Reporters’ deadlines, technology advances, and social media interconnectedness are moving even faster in 2015. Communicators must stay ahead of target media’s requests, requirements, and desires—or your story could be left in the dust.

Whether it’s earned, paid, or social media, the sharing news culture we live in is only going to become more inextricably linked. Journalists, in many ways, are at its epicenter. Understanding what their needs are and responding with sharable angles on stories, finding the most effective means of connecting with them, and providing the tools they want to tell the best damn story possible is a winning formula.

A more detailed analysis of this data, publication trends and the DNA of the “sharable news story” will be available later this year.

Here’s the full infographic (click on it to see it in full size):