Social media has changed journalism forever, said NYU professor and Demand Success speaker Jay Rosen last Thursday.
Every new social network that comes along offers a new way to distribute news and share information. Readers connect with each other as well as the authors they read. The costs required to distribute news have decreased, and anyone to create and share content.
Because of this, journalists and other content creators need to adapt, especially in how they use social media. Here are 10 social media tips for journalists from Jay’s Digital Journalism in Flux presentation.
1. Don’t be a jerk
Social media creates many opportunities to engage and enchant people. But if used improperly, it can destroy your credibility in 140 characters or less.
“It’s essential for journalists on social media to realize how dangerous and risky their professional life is if they don’t know what they’re doing,” Jay says.
2. Share good stuff
Before the Internet, the only content journalists shared was what they produced. Today, they must share content that they didn’t produce even if it comes from a different outlet.
3. Create solid content
Want more visibility in search rankings? Write a good post and use a headline that tells readers what’s in it.
4. Stay credible
You inevitably come across juicy stats you can’t wait to write about or share, but take a minute to try to confirm the information. Publishing errors, even if it’s just a tweet, does harm to your credibility.
5. Do what you’re good at
Years ago, only regional TV news stations, periodicals and radio could reach people in their homes. Now, people can access anything on the Internet in seconds. Find and focus on your content creation strengths and link to the rest.
6. Take fights behind closed doors
Want the key to winning a Twitter fight? Take it to email. When journalists engage in public online shouting matches their credibility can quickly vanish. Focus on being conversable without getting into fights and scrapes.
7. Appeal to the niche
When it comes to content, readers prefer niche journalism to a general interest news approach.
“People who want to know a lot about something because they have a special interest in that subject or because they have a professional interest in something want to know a lot more than the general news vehicle could ever provide them,” Jay says.
8. Do the dirty work
Want to become a valuable resource to your readers? Save them time. Dig through mountains of data and provide the findings. Theoretically, they could do the work themselves, but you create value by saving them the time.
9. Call it as you see it
Jay provided the key to being an influencer. When you endorse something, make sure it’s actually good.
“Don’t say it’s good because it’s your company or because you’re paid to say it’s good,” Jay says. “It’s that trust that you can leverage into influence.”
10. Jay’s secret to going viral
There is none.
“If you’re paying someone thousands of dollars to make your stuff go viral, you’ve been taken,” Jay says. “It’s the audience, the users that make something go viral. Only by understanding your audience can you even improve your odds of something going viral.”
Image: Divya Ooi