Category Archives: NewsJacking

Help for Free. Your Brand Will Expand

‪#Video is a major player in social media – produce useful industry #news [FOR #FREE] to attract attention to your #brand. ‬

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Facebook can’t find enough local news for its local news service

Facebook can’t find enough local news for its local news service
— Read on

The modern tragedy of fake cancer cures – STAT

An underreported story about a half-baked advance caught fire and scorched its way through social media, onto TV, and into the minds of millions.
— Read on

The Best of Off-Network Streaming Video News

I’ve been doing some research on video news delivery over the Internet and found these as some of the best.

Why off-network? Because the TV, cable, and satellite news providers have a formula to get you to watch their commercials and it drives most of us crazy – long on tease and promotion, short on information and actual news.

You can spend a half hour watching network or local affiliate news and get about 8-12 stories. Who has time for that? I really don’t care to watch their non-stop fancy production graphics and their promos. Get to the news already! Those same 8-12 stories can be delivered in 10-15 minutes without all the fluff.

The news videos I found are not big on hi-end video production values but they provide a lot of information in their broadcasts.

Vimeo has over 13 thousand videos in their “news” and reporting & journalism categories. That includes a lot of promo videos masquerading as news, video news packages from Iran, Vietnam, and other countries, trade show video news segments, etc.

YouTube has a mix of the usual networks, local affiliates, government or quasi-government video (like Voice of America), corporate news, and much more… 7.5 billion videos that are tagged “news.” Virtually every possible media outlet has a YouTube Channel.

Here’s just a few of the good streaming news productions that provide great information to their audiences (doesn’t include the usual networks for the above reasons):

Tech News Weekly

Science News
Non-Profit Society for Science & the Public has been published as a magazine since 1922. They started their YouTube Channel in 2013.

This Week in Palm Beach (Full Disclosure: R. Michael Brown from Brownie Bytes writes and produces this)

Australian Mid-Western Regional Council Community News

Post-lite weekly news and events for the week from Lorton Valley, Virgina Star newspaper, with Valerie Nalls of Nalls Produce

What makes these broadcasts great is the writing and producing!  The audio for the most part is not off-the-cuff, it’s planned out, not lots of useless banter from the anchor or between those on the screen, and the visuals match what is said.

Seems simple, right?  Believe me there is a lot of streaming drivel out there. Chatty intros and what must be inside jokes because I didn’t get it.  Moving powerpoint like screens with voiceover, or no audio at all – just text on the screen to read – YIKES!  Reading videos?

Of course there are many streaming news services. The more the subscribers, the higher production values. Listed in order of views or subscribers:

YouTube News (34 million subscribers)
This is the aggregation of what Google (YouTube owner) deems a news outlet.

The Young Turks (4 million subscribers)
Liberal (they say Progressive) streaming site.

Russia Today [RT] (2.8 million subscribers)
RT is a global news channel broadcasting from Moscow and Washington studios.

Vice News (3.3 million subscribers)
HBO News Network

There are many more, millions in fact. See them in the link below:

The point is, you don’t need hi-end production to deliver a great video news service to your audience. Just great writing and producing.  Distribution is on the Web, video sites, and social media.


How to Start a Content Marketing Agency: 11 Tips for Growing Your Business

By Kathryn Hawkins [@kathrynhawkins]

Learn how to take your freelance career to the next level by leveling up into a content marketing agency.

Agencies come in all sizes, from the boutique shops where the owner knows all the clients’ names (like ours) to supersized teams that number in the hundreds or thousands. If you’re a successful freelance writer, you’ve probably worked for several agencies in addition to partnering directly with clients. In some cases, it can be a smooth relationship, while others create a rocky road.

If you’re a strong writer who finds yourself turning down assignments because you’re getting more requests than you can handle, you might start thinking about whether it makes sense to scale up and start an agency of your own.

If you want to ever take a relaxing, fully-off-the-grid vacation? I’d probably think again.

But if you’re comfortable with taking on the stress of juggling a few dozen projects a day for the benefits of building a business on your own terms, here’s my cheat sheet with 11 tips (one for every year we’ve been in business):

Read More (EucalyptMedia)

Audiences Are Taking Over

Audience  Publishers w=400The computer industry was the first to lose control.  Then, the music industry. Next was the newspaper industry. Now publishers and soon, the video / TV / movie / cable industry.

Back in the 1970’s, despite the best efforts of IBM and other large computer companies, computer users started to make their own.  The barrier to entry was shrinking.  Apple and garage based companies formed making hardware and software.

Since the computer, and later smartphone, became the ultimate communication, media production, and publishing / broadcasting device, it opened up the possibility for the audience to define what they wanted, rather than some monolithic gatekeeper that defined the products and rules about their industry.

Audiences Now Rule

Most media companies are still stuck in their self-defined rules and roles and trying to find a way in this new reality.  They still want to control; but, that has been taken from them.

Local podcaster Eric Howell at home scores major "get" interview with celebrity.  Becomes global broadcaster.

Local podcaster Eric Howell at home scores major “get” interview with celebrity. Becomes global broadcaster.

They don’t like it. New business models are talked about endlessly and tried but the traditional media companies still don’t get it.  Do you think Blockbuster gets it yet?

A perfect example is the newspaper industry.  Their answer today is paywalls.  Control access to their content by forcing you to subscribe.

It works for the Wall Street Journal.  Why?  Because they have fantastic content.  Emphasis on fan.  The audience is willing to pay for it.

Not so for most local newspapers. Why?  Because their content is often not fantastic and is not something the audience is willing to pay for.

The passive audience is tired of waiting.  It reminds me of the Jack Johnson song, “Sitting, Waiting, Wishing.”  The active audience is now making it themselves.

It’s simple.  Give the audience what they want and they will pay for it.  Otherwise the audience will make the content and distribute it on their own.

The active audience realizes there aren’t many rules, set processes, or limits to production or distribution.  They figure out what some audiences want and they give it to them.  The passive audience is glad to consume it.

It’s demand filled by supply.

Publishers & Broadcasters Looking for Answers

Traditional media delivering the same old thing

Traditional media delivering the same old thing

The newspaper publishers, now semi-media companies, don’t get it.  They are ‘semi’ because they are holding onto their rules and processes.

The audience is tired of it, at least the ones with money.

News organizations limit what they publish and broadcast on purpose.  For example, most editors and journalists are sticking to the old and tired concept of newsworthiness.  Their definition of newsworthiness is:

1) If it bleeds it leads.
2) If there is sex involved, that’s even better.
3) Conflict rules. No conflict, no story = not newsworthy, not published or broadcast.
4) Stories about animals are more important than what is going on with employers.

Of course the audience does have its bottom-feeders for #1 and #2.

The conflict angle, #3, is interesting because it makes great narrative, usually isn’t boring, and sells. This is where news operations miss incredible opportunity.

And hey I like animals but they don’t pay my salary, #4.  I seek information religiously about my clients and an employer.  Bet you do too.  They pay the bills and I want to know what’s going on with them, even if they publish it.

The news organizations argue that they cover business, sports, weather, real estate and lifestyle in sections or segments of what they provide.  They claim they are impartial.  Nobody believes it or is buying it because for the most part it isn’t true.

News organizations can stick to their old editorial model all they want, argue about it, defend it, and continue to lose audience and money.

The problem with their definition of newsworthy is that it is so limited that they automatically handicap themselves.  Both passive and active audiences are interested in much more than that.  But the rules don’t allow these semi-media companies to expand their content into something that audiences are ready and willing to consume or pay for.

That opens the door for the active audience.  I was at a lunch with George Lucas at a Las Vegas trade show in the 1990’s and he said “everyone is going to become a producer.”  He was dead on.

The Audience is Now the Publisher

News, books, video, photos, you name it, they are creating it on their own.

News, books, video, photos, you name it, they are creating it on their own.

Every Facebook, Google+, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc. post is from a publisher / broadcaster.

Every website, WordPress blog, and more is a publishing organization.

The web is exploding. In August of 1995 there were only experimental websites when it went live.  Just a few.  Now according to a report from Verisign as of December 2012:

• Total number of websites: 634 million
• Number of websites added in 2012: 52 million
• Number of domain name registrations across all top-level domains: 246 million
• 4 billion hours of video was viewed via YouTube each month
• Number of indexed webpages: 25.21 billion
• Roughly 2.4 billion people worldwide used the Web

These numbers are expanding exponentially.  Some estimates are saying 2 billion websites by 2015.

North America leads in the number of websites but users, those in the audience, we are only 11.4% – in third place.  Asia leads with 44.8% followed by Europe with 21.6%.

How many of the audience are publishers of content? Hard to tell but be sure, a large percentage of the 2.4 billion are in it because they want their voice heard.

What’s the Answer for Organizations, Publishers, and Broadcasters?

Ever since I was at IBM in the 1980’s and 90’s we knew content would be king.  It always was in the publishing and broadcasting industries.  That’s still true.

Content w=300The best content will rise to the top and it will come from many different sources, not just traditional publishers.

In addition to the traditional publishers and broadcasters, the rise of brand journalism, content marketing, native advertising, blogs, apps, and more defines information now.

If your 3 year-old kid accidentally locks himself in a room in your house and you have to find out the exact tool to open the doorknob lock from the outside, getting clear, concise information fast on your smartphone is a lot more valuable right now than anything the NY Times published that day.  If you’re the doorknob maker, you have an opportunity for great content distributed by channels your audience cares about. [Silly example but think about what great content can do for your organization. Every organization MUST be in the publishing and broadcasting business now to compete.]

Audience Persona Strategy

Audience Persona Strategy

Defining an audience by creating personas that help you understand what your audience cares about and creating and distributing that content is the key to the future.

Don’t limit yourself by industry or corporate rules. The audience rules.

That doesn’t mean you have to seek the lowest common denominator on the information you provide.  You must provide for your niche and look to expand it outside your comfort zone or location.  Great content wins.

Don’t be bound by traditional channels.  Expand them based on where your audience hangs out.

Your goal should be to make content and use channels that inspire interaction with you.  Don’t just keep blasting out like it’s a one-way street.  Think of media that folks in your target audience will want to react to, re-post, comment on, like, and follow.

The mix of content and channels you work on is defined by the audience you are trying to reach.  They will seek you out if you make content they want or need.  Capture their email.  Find out what social media channels and groups they spend time on. That’s your best subscriber.

Many channels are free (social media), but creating content is not.  At a minimum it takes time and that is not free.

Audiences are taking over so your content is ripe to be republished.  Find ways to help and encourage them.  That takes a content marketing strategy.

Speaking of creating content, the cream will only rise to the top if it is the best and delivered – if not first, real close to first.  That takes top professionals with amazing God given talent: real writers, photographers, illustrators, graphic designers, video pros, and creative management to lead them.

Get Content Created

No, that's not the guy to make your content.

No, that’s not the guy to make your content.

There will be breakout producers with inexperience that will rise to the top but you usually won’t find them in your family, your spouse, your friends, the club, or your neighbor’s kid.

If they don’t have at least the beginning of a stellar portfolio of their work, and don’t live and breath working on it, don’t risk wasting your time and money.  Your audience will appreciate it.  After all, they are the ones that matter and are voting with their eyes and ears – and their cash.

If you want to find out more about creating audience personas, creating a communications – publishing – broadcasting strategy, or have content produced by top pros, contact me today:

Brand Journalism on Steroids

Hey, nobody would ever accuse me of being a fan of lawyers, especially personal injury ones.

However, this guy took a news event about the murder of his own brother and turned it into a local 2 min. Superbowl commercial in Savannah, GA area.  Talk about NewsJacking!

This is creative non-fiction brought into movie-like special effects.  It’s not just an ad for his law practice.  The lawyer, Jamie Casino, is trying to set the record straight about the local chief of police, Willie Lovett.  You can’t make this stuff up.  Even the character names fit.

Carl Hiaasen couldn’t make a more amazing parody of southern cops and local ambulance chasers.

What do you think?