Our Saturday media training went over by almost an hour and we didn’t even get to one crucial subject: the different kinds of media and the use of social media to promote businesses and non-profits.
Mike Green, former Web editor of the Ashland Daily Tidings, had some notes on the differences between old media, new media and social media, along with some valuable advice that we did not have a chance to share.
Plagiarizing from Mike’s notes, here is what he has to say:
Old media still works!
… if done right. Press releases are highly relevant today, but they also straddle the fence between old and new media. How can a press release be both? It can … and it should. If it is purely old media, it stands more of a chance of being tossed if done wrong. Press releases that contain bullets: What, Where, When are all tossed and out. Gone. Stop it. Don’t do it. No one is going to rewrite the press release into AP style.
BUT, if you use the old style press release format, newsrooms will notice and use your submissions if kept concise and well written in AP style format. Editors may still change, edit, shorten press releases for the purposes of where the piece will appear in the paper. But the piece appears in the paper. And that’s good.
When using old style press release formats, use the new method of sending them to newsrooms. That’s email. Send the press release in the body of an email. Not in an attachment. Editors won’t open the attachment. They’ll simply delete the whole thing. Then use the old method of follow up. That’s the phone.
Always send to specific person. Do not use a shotgun approach and send to everyone in the newsroom in order to cover the bases. You’ll get a bad reputation. And that can be bad for a long time.
New media is important and can be an excellent way to get the word out…
Newsrooms are in the process of integrating print and Web content and products together, with articles we see in print expanded in various ways on the Web.
What are some of the ways articles can be expanded when they move to the Web? You can include photos and even links to photo galleries in your press release (provide a caption, send the photos as attachments). You can also include a link to a UTube video or an audio file. This kind of multimedia makes Web editors very happy.
If your story has the potential for good photographs, it’s more likely to get in the newspaper.
Social media encourages “user-generated content.”
This is the fastest-growing area of media.
Social media includes blogging, Facebook, and Twitter. And savvy business owners and nonprofit leaders can take full advantage of this open door policy created by mass media that invites the community to use the mass media as a method of broad communication. But this method can be tricky to use, since it is an open door to both good and bad press. How can business owners and nonprofits use social media effectively without treading across the line that invites others to use it against your business or nonprofit?
Standing out among the Social Media mess … ideas for using social media in an effective and positive way:
Contests: People LOVE contests! Why not use the broad scope of your local media to draw attention to your contest … and your business/nonprofit!
Awards: Give awards sparingly, but with great fanfare. And ALWAYS fill the frame of photos with the person receiving an award. Standing 18 feet away in order to get everything and everybody into a single photo is a sure way of getting your photo tossed.
Special Events: Everybody has special events all the time. Give yours a special name: funny, cool, eclectic, bizarre, mysterious, etc to make it stand out and use some design that draws attention. You don’t need to be a graphic artist nor hire one. Use your imagination.
Insider blogs: these give readers a little sneak peek that piques interest.
DO use social media in a positive way. Media routinely mine the user-generated content areas of their social sites for print-ready copy.
DON’T use social media to defend yourself. Let your fans and supporters defend you.
Always be gracious. Always be professional. And protect your brand by understanding that anything you do on new media or social media is public, even in “private” forums.
Published: September 3, 2009
Last update: February 2, 2020