5 things that people who work in media understand

I’ve spent the last three weeks meeting with and speaking to a range of media [journalists, online editors, bloggers, influencers, and freelancers] about changes in the industry and some of the day-to-day challenges they are facing.

I REALLY love this part of my job. It’s one of the greatest things about working at Flaunter – we have the opportunity to speak regularly with such a wide range of people and companies within the industry. It means that we get to see things from so many different angles and we’re then able to ‘join the dots’ for our community.

We consistently get feedback that the information we share is incredibly useful – which is awesome 🙂

So here are the five key takeaways from my most recent conversations with media…

 

1. THE FACEBOOK HEADLINE MATTERS

Hailey-Baldwin-on-Facebook

Did you know that for many publishers up to 75% of their web traffic comes directly from Facebook. That’s a huge number right?! So that gives you an idea of how important it is for editors to have access to a plethora of Facebook-friendly stories and headlines.

How can you use this knowledge?

Before you start writing your next email to an online editor, pause to consider how this particular publication might ‘sell’ the story you’re suggesting on their Facebook page. What would the headline be? And then: is it interesting? Would you really click on it if you saw it on your feed? Framing your pitch with this in mind is now vital for viewing your pitch as an editor or writer would view it.

 

2. INFLUENCERS WHO HAVE BUILT COMMUNITIES & BUSINESSES IN INSTAGRAM ARE NOW TURNING TO BLOGGING

Monochrome-desk-influencers-turn-to-blogging

This one surprised me the most. With huge drops in engagement levels, a crowded market and too much similar content Instagram has lost some of its lustre. Those who I spoke to were frustrated that they’d put so much energy into building communities and followings that are now so hard to access. So why back to the blog? Driving traffic to a blog gives more autonomy, allows for better storytelling, gives you back control of your audience and allows for more depth of coverage.

How can you use this knowledge?

You can’t ignore the power of Instagram. And remember Facebook? That ol’ chestnut.  If we look at the numbers, 43% of purchasing decisions rely on media articles as part of their buying process.     

Don’t forget that customers live across many channels – and it can be dangerous to rely exclusively on one platform to cover all your bases.

 

3. SPEED IS THE ULTIMATE TASKMASTER 

Journalists-need-content-fast

Summarising the feedback in one sentence – “if you can’t get it to me fast then I can’t use it.”

Today’s pace is set to maximum speed + maximum output. This means that anyone working in and around publishing is responsible for producing SO MUCH, EVERY DAY, that efficiency and reliability is non-negotiable. We often hear about 20 minute deadlines and expectations of delivering up to 10 articles a day.

This means that people don’t have time to wait for you to slowly gather information. No matter how much they love you, your brand, your story or your images – if they can’t access them quickly then they HAVE to move on to the next brand.

How can you use this knowledge?

Here’s a quote from one Australia’s top digital editors:

Images are vital to selling a story online, so if an editor can’t get a visual immediately on your story pitch, it will be relegated to the list of ‘things to download and look at more when I have the time’ – which, sadly, often means your story loses its timeliness and subsequently, editorial value. Make it easy for content producers to evaluate the relevancy of your story by including at least one or two web res (that’s 72 dpi, or approx 400KB) JPEG images to your initial story pitch email. I can’t tell you how many times a PR has sent me an email which sounds promising but there are no images. Instead, they’ll include a link to a Dropbox – which I then have to download the 50MB file that crashed my computer just to see it full size. This is why Flaunter is such a great resource (and no, I’m not just saying that!) as it allows editors to see all the available images at a glance, then choose the resolution they want to download at.

 

4. STORY IDEAS… AND LOTS OF THEM!

Media-need-story-ideas

In fact, everyone agreed that one of the most challenging parts of their role was the sheer volume of stories that the content cycle now requires them produce. Everyday.  

And if you’re a brand looking to get some coverage – this new state of being is a GIGANTIC opportunity. Caveat – only if you can become very good at being a valued resource and story generator.

How can you use this knowledge?

It’s common misconception amongst brands, especially emerging brands, that journalists/bloggers/writers and freelancers don’t value unsolicited news delivered into their inboxes. This is only true in part.

DON’T

It’s estimated that globally PR people outnumber journalists 5:1, and there are 1,092 press releases being sent out every day. The traditional model of media relations — writing press releases, and then blasting them to a mass network of journalists — just doesn’t work anymore.

Did you know that Google even devalued press release distribution sites a few years ago?

DO

So what does work? Targeted, personal communications and relationship building. Journalists are 1000% happy to hear from you, and keep hearing from you, if you provide value and demonstrate that you have respect for their job and their time.  Don’t send a media release alone. Use the media release as ‘extra info’. Send a list [yes list – not essay] of potential story ideas, that are relevant to who you’re emailing, centered around the news you want to share. Example:

You’re releasing a new range of xx.

  • Is there a story behind where and how they were made?
  • Is this part of a new local or global trend?
  • Has someone ‘famous’ shown interest in this range?
  • Who is the designer – is there a story there?
  • Is the product contrary to current trends – could this be interesting?

The list should read like headlines – so your contact can immediately imagine the potential for their audience.

Don’t forget that Facebook headline 😉

 

5. ARE EXCLUSIVE STORIES STILL IMPORTANT?

Exclusive-stories-good-content

Straight from the source – strictly exclusive content isn’t as important as good content. I suppose this follows on from #3 and #4 above re stories and speed.

Almost all news breaks online now. So within seconds, a story is ‘out’ for everyone to read and write about. The feedback that was shared with me was that it’s the ‘angle’ that counts – how a journalist or publisher can create their own story using the information that’s shared with them. So how you help each journalist find their angle is more important than only crafting one quote and one image – and then only sharing with a single outlet.

How can you use this knowledge?

Once you truly understand what a journalist wants [and we know this varies from person to person, role to role and publication to publication – EVERYONE is different] then think of all the different angles your story has – and which angle best suits each journalist.

Is there an angle in…

  • How the product was made?
  • Has someone with a high profile used the product? Or a very similar product?
  • Who are the designers?
  • Who are the makers?
  • What stores will stock the product? Are 1 million people already lining up to buy/order?!

And then can you create a collection of different images that suit the various angles? So you can still share images with more than one editor – but each editor will have a different shot to play with.

Finally, can you provide a different set of quotes for each person you contact? Quotes are always great – they add personality and a human element to any story. They also help things get published quickly, without having to wait for calendars to perfectly align for a phone or in-person interview.

 

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Looking for more useful resources about working with the Media? Find out how to become besties with an online editor and get your content in order with our list of things that the media really want.

 

Banner: Krisztian Kondor, Hailey Baldwin – STYLEDUMONDE, Unknown via Pinterest, Cara Delevingne for Chanel, Jimmy Marble & Unknown via Pinterest.