News media organizations derive close to 100% of their revenues from advertising or some form of it. With the traditional spot ad business drying up, news media can’t just report the news, broadcast Viagra ads, and leave for the day at 11:30 in a limo as they have always done. They now need to demonstrate to their advertiser base how relevant they are to their community. When local advertisers see the news media interacting on a personal level with their viewer/readership, the advertising purchase makes more contextual sense to them.
Here are five ways news media organizations can leverage Twitter to become more closer and relevant to their community.
1) News organizations should use their Twitter accounts for sourcing breaking news tips. Techmeme does this by asking Twitterers to tweet tips by prefacing with tip @techmeme. News organizations can publicize on their websites a similar tip reporting announcement.
2) News organizations can recruit a corps of local Twitterers to tweet regular reports about their neighborhoods, their local economy, events, anything. Put this functionality as a widget in a “Neighborhood Watch” page. There is a simple, specific way to filter the tweets so only those authorized to report news are allowed to (and also, their extraneous tweets about what they’re having for lunch aren’t included). We show how to do this at our free webinar for the media next week.
3) Before Flight 1549 landed in the Hudson River, nobody knew how to send a breaking news picture to CNN. Afterwards, CNN made it more prominent on their iReports site on how to send pictures. I don’t see very many TV news site with any note that encourages instant uploads.
4) Gain support of the blogger community in your broadcast area. News media need to form relationships with their blogging constituency and highlight their best content. Set up a system that allows bloggers to submit new articles “Article @WKRP – headline description of article – and link”. Then, “retweet” blogger articles either on Twitter or as a news link onsite. This generous act of publicity ties the news organization more closely to and develops loyalty from its citizen journalist public.
5) Radio stations should set up a twitter account, for example, twitter.com/WKRP. Then use this account to draw in internet listeners who can tweet their requests to #WKRP and comment on the playlist. Encourage interaction by asking listeners to rate songs or report what they were doing when they first heard the song. For news and news talk radio, Twitter can provide complementary commentary to call-ins. Integrate the tweet stream for http://search.twitter.com for #WKRP with the online radio stream, so online listeners can watch the chat concurrent with the programming (similar to how CNN and Facebook chat were integrated during Obama’s inauguration)