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Everyone is "The Media," Especially Us!

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If everyone in the world owns a printing press, how do you adapt your strategy for “media” relations? It's great that your institution’s news can go direct to the consumer now, but you’ll find it …

If everyone in the world owns a printing press, how do you adapt your strategy for “media” relations? It's great that your institution’s news can go direct to the consumer now, but you’ll find it faces more direct competition than ever before. Your latest story might be jostling for attention on the same page with today’s LOL Cats and cell phone video of a citizen uprising. In this joint session, presenters from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and Duke University will share how their institutions stopped depending on the local newspaper to tell their stories. We'll discuss snappier headlines and tighter, brighter leads that will thrive in a 140-character-limit environment and be more readily shared.

Karl L. Bates, Director of Research Communications, Duke University; with Clinton Colmenares, Senior Director of Communications, University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine

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  • The 20th Century is over. That means your 20th Century approach to “media relations” should end too. If you’re lucky enough to still have local media, great; keep feeding them. But you also have the entire world under your mouse-finger. It’s time for you to think differently and move on, because there’s a great big world out there, and your local coverage may not last forever. We’re going to talk about where news is found now and how and where university communicators can still participate in the conversation – maybe in more and better ways than ever.
  • The future of News is in the palm of your hand. HALF of all Americans own either a tablet or a smartphone, and that number will only grow. Mobile devices are the FIRST and MOST FREQUENT exposures most people have to new ideas. And mobile devices lead people to consume MORE news, not less. The alleged death of journalism is a myth: The audience has never been bigger. Source for next three slides: http://www.journalism.org/analysis_report/future_mobile_news
  • “The Media” isn’t a one-way pipe anymore. It’s a web, a net, a swirl, a scrum… Stories come from every direction and go in every direction. Everyone is a publisher and a distributor. Mainstream media sometimes cover a story AFTER it’s a viral presence elsewhere on the web! Your ‘media relations’ need to adapt. People no longer discover a story because a professional journalist wrote it up and a 13-year-old kid dropped it on the doorstep; they see it because somebody they know in Boise posted it on her Facebook. So if all you’re doing is creating content for “The Media” in the old, linear fashion, you’re missing many other avenues for making that first impression. Your school might not offer shopping or games, but you can produce almost every other kind of content people are consuming. And you don’t have to wait for “The Media” to pick it up. YOU are the media and you’ve got great content. Think about all the other things you may have to offer and Do it Yourself.
  • Don’t despair about the alleged death of quality or quantity. Yes, your audience may see you first in 140 characters, but they READ like never before on their devices. The key to your success is to create that 140 characters, and that Facebook post, and that standalone picture, or maybe that great 45 second YouTube – all of it leading them to the full package of content you’ve created on your site.First and foremost, you have to get the click. Today’s noisy, competitive environment makes a good headline and lede paragraph even more important than your old journalism prof told you, back in the day. Your battle will be won or lost in the first seven words.
  • Good news – the world is now entirely flat. Your story can be right there next to a citizen uprising and Lady Gaga’s latest costume. That’s also the bad news. You are engaged in a global competition for attention. You have to compete with your choice of words. Unlike the old hierarchy of the newspaper, headlines today tend to be all the same size and displayed chronologically. Your words, not your font or your page placement, will set you apart.
  • The glass “news hole” is TINY. By all means, use a picture, but it has to make sense at 30 pixels. Your headline has to get the job done in SEVEN WORDS. Your lede must get to the point.
  • MAKE IT COUNT! This is a killer headline that should just vacuum up the clicks. But then what happens? A wasted opportunity. There are four lines of type in this FaceBook post. Done right, that would have been plenty. Make that brief first exposure count or your story will quickly be left behind. Catchy and compelling is what gets shared -- and if you aren’t shared, you aren’t seen.
  • I know, I know. Your dean/president/chair/provost/trustee insists on being named first and foremost. But they’re wrong, and they’re doing the institution a disservice. You, as the communicator, have to speak for the public. You HAVE to push back. Use your Headline and lede to get to the point (which, again, is not the Dean’s name). The institution has only 7 words in the headline and a 20-word lede to earn that first click that leads them down the path to you. Do not waste it. The Dean can be in the second or third graf.
  • This example hits almost every point of my Do Not Do list. Enjoy!
  • Okay, you’re saying, but we have SO MUCH to explain. Yes, you do. And in fact you SHOULD do the long version, because maybe nobody else will. So the key is to optimize the stickiness and share-ability of the top, and then come back to everything.We’re having good success with this structure. It’s a short, sticky, shareable rip-and-read top that tries to do the key parts of the story in two or three paragraphs, and then we come back around and flesh everything out.
  • Love it or hate it, Twitter provides a useful discipline to framing your story. We find the subheads or ledes we write make great Tweets, and vice-versa.Edit your content into sharable size and shape to make it easier for audience members to share. Write a headline and lead that work at as a tweet or FaceBook update because, even if you don’t post it, some loyal alumnus might. What you really want is people you’ve never heard of to pick it up and share it. Always include a link and say whether there’s a photo, or video. (Use link-shortening like Bit.ly and track clicks)Does the story have more than one good hook? Tweet it several times, spaced out over a couple of hours.
  • PR Newswire conducted a study of more than 10,000 releases they published in a four-week period in early 2011. Multimedia sells. A complete package sells better and lives longer. If the point of your efforts is to be seen and shared, then multimedia is probably worth the added work and expense.Source:http://blog.prnewswire.com/2011/05/02/multimedia-content-drives-better-press-release-results/
  • All you need is a smart phone! Photo and caption, posted to Facebook. (I recommend shooting, editing and THEN posting, as opposed to Instagram or straight-to-Facebook.) Make good use of that caption space on Facebook. Too long and it clobbers the picture; too short and you’ve wasted an opportunity.Just as sound is more important on a small video, captions seem to be more important on a small photo.
  • Okay, this story puts it all together: Arresting words in headline. Punchy lede tells the whole story (164 words total, but lose the first sentence and you’re there.) A photo that just BEGS to be shared.You want somebody to say OMG OMGOMG, and then click the share button.
  • Put the extra effort into making your story a complete package – it serves as a destination for your social marketing. (Push each item individually -- headline, lede, video, photo), AND it greatly enhances your pickup by traditional media outlets, all of whom are becoming web-first.
  • In a flat world in which everyone has a voice and every story has a shot at global exposure, we in the University news business have the content to be competitive.Unlike a lot of organizations, we’re starting with a base of loyal alumni and community members who can start the social sharing. We just have to get it out there where it can be picked up by the breeze.So – create sticky, shareable content, because that’s what “media relations” means now.
  • Transcript

    • 1. Everyone is “The Media” Especially Us!Making the most out of our changing environmentKarl Leif BatesDirector of Research Communications, Duke UniversityClinton ColmenaresSenior Director of Communications, UAB School of Medicine CASE III, Feb. 2013
    • 2. 20th Century model of Media Relations News mediaUniversity Public
    • 3. The 20th Century is Over
    • 4. Birmingham News, Mobile Press-Register Buildings up for sale
    • 5. More Than 15,000 People LostTheir Newspaper Jobs in 2009– News-Cycle.blogspot.com
    • 6. New Age of Media Relations Facebook YourUniversity.eduUniversities Twitter Public You Tube Bloggers News media
    • 7. Where people found news in 200990% 78%80% 73%70% 61%60% 54% 50%50%40%30% 17%20%10% 0%
    • 8. There‟s this thing called the Internet …
    • 9. Online news grew 17.2% from 2009 to 201180% 79% 77.50% 78.20%70% 78% 73% 61%60% 55%50% 54% 46%40% 50%30%20%10%0%
    • 10. Now, 44% of adults own a smartphone, and the numberof tablet owners grew by about 50% since the summerof 2011, to 18% of Americans over age 18. Pew, State ofthe News Media 2012
    • 11. 50 Percent of US Adults Now Own Smartphones, TabletsThe Future of Mobile News, Pew Trust, Journalism.org Oct. 1, 2012
    • 12. Your First ExposureThe Future of Mobile News, Pew Trust, Journalism.org Oct. 1, 2012
    • 13. They Still Read!The Future of Mobile News, Pew Trust, Journalism.org Oct. 1, 2012
    • 14. So, what do I do?First: Convince leadershipSecond: Make news integral to your websiteThird: Act like a reporter
    • 15. Become a News Source
    • 16. Package Your Content
    • 17. Your 7 Words Against the World
    • 18. 7 wds, 140 Char, 30 px
    • 19. Leave your school out of it
    • 20. Just Say It! …or be left behind
    • 21. Tell Your Story, Quickly! Short, active words and sentences Offbeat words „Hey Martha‟ Humor, if you‟ve got it Visuals, graphics, images Get. To. The. Point.DO NOT - Lead with the sub-sub-unit, thefull name of the endowed whatever, thenumber of people in the room, the names ofevery person who ever went to a meetingabout it, the acronyms, the year the storystarted, etc.
    • 22. One Story Structure That Works 1, 2, 3 ONE… TWOOO… THREEEEE…
    • 23. Brevity is the soul of TwitHey, @UniversityPR - Strive tofit your storys best hook into abox this big. Aim for 120 so itcan be forwarded**This is 115 characters, counting the asterisk.
    • 24. Visuals More Important Than Ever10,000 releases examined:• Stories with multimedia 3.5 times more likely to be shared• Video boosts viewers by 20 percent• Photo AND video + 48%• Visuals more than double “shelf life” from 9.5 days to 20 days. PR Newswire, May 2011
    • 25. What Makes a Good Image?Composition, color“reads well” on asmall screenAction! No grip-n-grins.Make the captiondo some work.
    • 26. The Package Snappy headline Tight lede Colorful picture Video (outside source) Citation
    • 27. With great power comes great responsibility
    • 28. Your boss might not like it, but your audience willUse an “outside” sourceProvide an appropriate contextDisclose conflicts of interestDisclose funding sources
    • 29. We Have Great ContentWe Have Loyal Audiences