Don’t Chase The Media: Start The Conversation Yourself Reply

A critical part of marketing is getting other people to start talking about your business, and some of those “other people” are members of the media. But getting the media’s undivided attention is not as easy as it used to be.

First of all, it’s more difficult to define who the media is these days. The “traditional media,” such as print, radio and TV news reporters, has shrunk dramatically in the intersection of the move to online news and the recession. Media business writer John Reinan estimates today that a typical newsroom, radio or TV station has dumped  half of its staff in the last five years. As a result, a new form of media has arisen – among them bloggers who self-publish on their own site and may broadcast with social media, and citizen journalists who may contribute to both online and traditional outlets.

Even with this new landscape, the trusty press release is still an effective way to reach them and highlight what your business does and why the media should be talking about you. But the bad news is, the media is inundated with more of them as they juggle multiple beats or dip into subject areas to cover here and there, depending on what they think is newsworthy. You may find you have to have a lot of vigor in your pursuit to make your information rise above the rest.

So why not broadcast your own news? Social media gives you the opportunity to be your own publisher. And when you do, you aren’t limited to a press release – or even writing for that matter.

But a warning: publishing content you create and marketing that content isn’t about tooting your own horn. It’s about telling a story, placing that story into the broader world, and finding angles and threads your target audience finds interesting and engaging– so much so that they are likely to keep to coming back to you for that content.  That loyal following will eventually win you customers and be advocates for your brand.

Don’t have any ideas what to create content about? Here are some tips on how you can begin thinking like a content pro yourself:

What Are Other People Talking About? On social media, the whole world is a water cooler, so get in on the conversation to show your business’s relevancy. An example: during The Academy Awards, Target posted a clever little riff of one of Les Misérables’s signature songs that clicked through to announcement on how soon their followers could get the musical on Blue Ray or DVD. As soon as Anne Hathaway sashayed off the stage with her little gold guy, the post was racking up to 4,000 “likes” and plenty of conversation. Project your voice and make it germane to your business. Timing is everything.

What Are You Talking About? “A lot,” you might say. “But none of it is that interesting to the people who work outside these four walls.” That is why often you need an outsider to bounce ideas off of. Content creators and marketing strategists who love what they do can find a story, a video, a picture, and a wider but still relevant angle on just about any topic. You just need to be willing to share your story with someone who is thinking strategically and creatively.

What Are Your Peers Talking About?  Another way to get your story out before waiting for a bite on a press release is to plumb content from your industry that shines a light on what you are doing too and, with some strategy, own it. Find a peer you respect, and throw it out to the world on Twitter. Be sure your 140 characters shine a light on you and say that you and the source are playing in the same sandbox. Although your toys and tools may be different, it’s still your space and customers should come join you. Your followers will see you are interested in and passionate about what you do and that you care enough about them to share it.

If your business offers content that addresses these points regularly, posts the content on the correct platforms, and offers substance instead of flash, you may find yourself fielding the media’s calls. You never know who may be listening.

Leslie Mladinich/SocialProseLeslie Mladinich is a contributor to SocialProse Media.

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