The news been really depressing lately, with so much death, destruction, doom and gloom. Why is it that the news always seems to focus on the negative? And is there room for more positive news? James and Nic take a look at good news versus bad news and the opportunity that creates for marketers.

Here are some key take-outs:

 

  • Reporters aren’t just looking for the negative in a story, it’s their job to test the positive. It’s how they cut through the “spin”.
  • But the media, recognising the public distaste for the negative, has now said “let’s make space for the positives”. And that’s creating an opportunity for brands.

“There’s an appetite for the positive and brands need to find a way to make something that’s a negative in tone and turn it into something that can be seen in a positive light. — Nic

 

  • Out of every negative there’s a positive that can be found around it.
  • Social media is a great space to spread a positive message. It’s a place people go to escape and have a laugh. It’s also where people go to find a new angle or an interesting twist on a story.

“When we turn on the television, turn on the radio or open the newspaper, it may well be a very different discussion to the one we’re seeing on social media. What you see come out in social media is some of the human stories and some of the positive stories.” — James

 

  • Make sure your “good news” message is still aligned with your brand.
  • A good story will continue to circulate.

 

Here are the links you might need

 

Have you heard the one about…

Recently James, Sarah and Nic took a close look at the art of public speaking.

 

And here’s a discussion about how to pitch to journalists.

 

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One of the most common questions journalists get asked is ‘where do you get all your stories from?’ Generating story ideas is a reporter’s bread and butter and these days it’s also an essential skill for the content marketer. Today, the Brand Newsroom chats with longtime reporter (and content marketer) Dan Hatch about how to generate article ideas like a journalist.

Here are some key take-outs

  • You’re never starting with a blank sheet of paper. News is always happening. You just need to work out what the angle is that suits your brand and that your audience will find interesting.
  • Open the paper. Open Google. Open Twitter’s Trending Topics. These places will tell you what people are talking about.

“Go away and ask people in your own team, in your own business. They’re the greatest resource when it comes to generating ideas”. — Nic

 

  • Run an editorial calendar. Keep an eye on the events that are coming up — be it a holiday, an International Day of Whatever-it-is, or even the new season of Game of Thrones You can plan great and relevant content well in advance because you know these are things people will be talking about down the track.

“Your clients may not realise the really good stories they’re sitting on either because they don’t have the editorial experience, or ‘news sense’, or they’re too close to it and they just don’t see it”. — Dan

 

  • Use your curiosity, use your contacts. Make sure your articles are a two-way street. Invite feedback. Get people bringing stories to you, but don’t be afraid to reach out and ask questions because curiosity is a fantastic way to find really interesting story ideas.
  • Use social media to interact with your audience. You should be following influencers. If you begin to understand what’s important to your influencers, you’ll have so much opportunity to get them to comment on your stories, appear on your podcast, appear in your video series, etc.

“I keep a folder with original research, survey results, and so on – these are coming out all through the year. If you go back and really mine through those, you can draw so many stories from them — beyond the headline figures”. — Sarah


Here are the links you might need

  • Here’s a blog post by Dan Hatch explaining where journalists get their ideas. There are a lot more tips for generating story ideas there.
  • Here’s another post by Dan talking about the importance of value-adding on your editorial offering if you want to grow your audience.

 

Have you heard the one about…

Recently Dan joined James, Sarah and Nic to talk about managing editorial workflow.

 

And here’s a discussion with reporter Simon Holt about how to pitch to journalists.

 

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Journalism is changing fast. Newsrooms are shrinking, news is published online first, and the “hungry beast” that is publishing requires more content than ever before. So how do we communicate with journalists effectively to give our story pitch the best possible chance of success?

Simon Holt, a veteran journalist with Australia’s Fairfax Media in Brisbane, has written a book crammed with useful tips for anyone communicating with reporters. It’s called 101 Ways to Connect with Modern Newsrooms. James and Nic spoke to Simon Holt:

 

Here are some key take-outs:

“This book has put in writing the words that every journalist has been wanting to say.” — Nic

  • As newsrooms go “digital first”, they are also shrinking. That’s where the opportunity exists for public relations.
  • Digital news comes with a lot of analytics that help journalists tune their stories to what people want, which couldn’t happen in print.
  • Don’t sell a story to a journalist, sell a story to the audience the journalist is serving.

“There is immense opportunity for the PR industry to capitalise on what’s happening. — Simon Holt

  • Journalists are not experts in everything and they’re open to actual experts contacting them to share their knowledge because it helps the debate.
  • You don’t need to be controversial to get coverage, you just need to be different.
  • Make it easy for the journalist. Get to the point quickly and provide everything “on a plate”.

“The little hook — the point where people’s eyebrows raise and they say ‘tell me more about that’, that’s where the story needs to go — that’s the gist of it.” — James

  • Don’t send it out mass press releases; target a reporter and a publication with a tailored communication.
  • Journalists are not the enemy. If you understand them and their audience you will succeed.

Here are the links you might need

  • To take advantage of Simon Holt’s offer to Brand Newsroom listeners of free postage with a copy of 101 Ways to Connect with Modern Newsrooms, email him directly at sholt@fairfaxmedia.com.au.
  • You can also buy a copy of Simon’s book here.  
  • Follow Simon Holt on Twitter

 

Simon Holt’s book

Have you heard the one about…

Recently James, Sarah and Nic spoke to Jo McManus from Edith Cowan University about the future of brand journalism.

 

And here’s a discussion with Carla Johnson, author of Experiences: The Seventh Era of Marketing.

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