9 Ways Social Media Marketers Think Like Journalists

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Many times when I tell people what I do, they ask me what I majored in. A lot of people don’t expect me to say journalism. Yes, I was a journalism student and I don’t report the news, write cutting edge stories or put pounds of makeup on for the camera.

A successful journalist knows how to tell a compelling story and engages the audience. Well, isn’t that what a social media marketer does?

The line between social media and other media seems to blur more and more over time. Social media is just as influential as major newspapers and celebrities. It’s powerful and it’s here to stay. In fact, when you wake up in the morning, you don’t have to walk outside to get the paper. Grab your phone and scroll through Twitter to get the information.

Because social media is so influential, social media marketers and content marketers need to think like journalists to appropriately distribute engaging and relevant content. Fortunately, I was educated to think like a journalist. Here are 9 ways social media marketers think like journalists:

  1. Get the facts. So, journalists know a little something called the ‘journalistic truth.’ The base of good story telling is true facts and research. There’s an importance in accuracy because it’s your reputation on the line. As a social media marketer, you might not be writing your own story or giving statistics from an interview. However, whether you share an article, blog, tips or videos, you want to use your best and professional judgment. Make sure it’s true to your industry and your brand.
  2. Provide value. Providing value to your audience will not only boos reach and engagement, but you’ll also be able to learn from and connect with people outside of your network. For instance, if you provide something of value to a follower on Facebook, they are likely to share it or engage with it somehow. Therefore, the post will reach even more people who weren’t necessarily going to see it before.
  3. Trust and credit your sources. All journalists know that networking is key. This is even true for social media as well. You always want to be looking for ways to reach more people and for people to find your content. All it takes for your content to become viral, to reach outside of your network, is building strong and strategic relationships with influential Social influencers can be found by doing a Google search or by finding people that have a strong influence within your industry. Having people you can trust makes sure your content is always being seen. This is a great article explaining influencers a little more. Screen Shot 2016-03-04 at 9.35.13 AM.png
  4. Have your own style. Journalists write in a certain style. Once they find a style they like, they usually stick to it (AP style). This makes it easier for them to maintain consistency. Social media marketers should do the same so they don’t confuse their readers. This will simply strengthen the branding on social media.
  5. Know your audience. This shouldn’t be new advice for social media marketers. Most all marketers know that you obviously have to have a clear knowledge of your audience, their wants and needs, and your product or service. Since journalists and social media marketers are constantly switching their focus between specialist subjects and niche markets, they have to find which language, content and tone connects most with each audience. The goal is to publish content that makes a reader choose yours over another.
  6. Embrace multimedia. As technology becomes a bigger part of our world every day, print-only journalism is more irrelevant. Journalists must be tech-savvy. It’s not enough to just be a great writer, you have to know how to show and tell. Social media marketers benefit from multimedia as well. Using visuals, from video to photos to infographics, journalists and social media marketers will strengthen their content and boost conversion rates.Screen Shot 2016-03-04 at 9.37.51 AM.png
  7. Make a plan. Journalists always have an editorial plan. This way they always have a stream of new content ideas. Social media marketers plan as well. Finding new interesting angles on a subject that is entertaining and informational doesn’t just happen on the fly. A strategy and plan is usually made weeks or even months in advance. Setting aside time to develop a plan will make it easier on you as well as give your content structure and purpose.
  8. Remember who you network with. This goes back to your sources. Journalists are always making contact with new people and building relationships to get a good story. They have to be able to recall someone from years prior if they want to use them as a source for a current situation. Social media marketers benefit the same way if they can remember their sources. In fact, networking is a huge part of social media.
  9. Stay up to date. Always keep up to date with the new trends. Journalists are always trying to get the newest story first. Similarly, social media marketers want to know and utilize the newest social updates or trends. This keeps you as an authority leader and an influencer.
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