Tag: communications

How reporters use social media, today’s mass media

By Amanda Kerr, Consociate Media Writer and Media Strategist

Just three years after Harvard College student Mark Zuckerberg and three of his roommates launched a website to connect fellow students through the world wide web, a seminal media moment occurred immediately following the Virginia Tech shootings on April 16, 2007. A lone gunman murdered 32 students and faculty at Virginia Tech and in the aftermath the press harnessed the reach and power of social media in new ways.

Reporters at The Washington Post used websites such as Facebook and Craigslist to quickly locate students connected to the tragedy. Messages students posted through Facebook were compiled in a story and names of victims appeared on The Washington Post’s website before they had even been released by authorities.

Facebook and other social mediums have become tools for the media to not only find people and contact them, but also to reach new and wider audiences. The very nature of Facebook — what was once meant to be a fun way for people to “socialize” on the Internet — has evolved and today it has become one of the leading ways younger audiences consume news.

Newspapers, magazines, blogs and television news stations use social media to promote stories and engage with readers and viewers. It started off simply enough, maybe a post teasing an upcoming weekend feature or a few links to breaking stories, but has since expanded to the widespread use of linking comment sections on articles to Facebook profiles, for example.

With the advent of Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Periscope and others, including storytelling methods such as podcasting, the way in which reporters both report and gather the news has dramatically changed in the 12 years since the launch of Facebook.

What does that mean? For starters, social media has afforded reporters the opportunity to do a lot more reconnaissance on a subject, organization, business or person than just looking for a phone number on whitepages.com. Social media has become a go to place for local governments, school districts, businesses and nonprofits to promote events, share news and engage with customers and citizens.

With all that activity on social media, that’s where reporters are going first to look for the latest news on a company or organization.

It’s no longer just an obligation for businesses and organizations to throw up a few posts; social media is an essential part of a larger communications strategy.

Newshounds can track down supporters of a gun rights group, garden club, local business or school using social media. They can research social media channels to better understand an organization’s current projects, values or messaging. And they can use that trail to cast a wide net to find the best leads and the best stories.

Reporters, however, no longer passively use social media as voyeurs. The multimedia options available offer an entirely new platform for storytelling, whether it’s breaking news, photos, video, or abbreviated posts in the form of tweets. There are myriad ways to use social media to enhance a traditional newspaper, radio, or television story that helps give the audience another perspective.

That same approach can help a commercial real estate firm, apparel company or app developer engage customers through blog posts, social media campaigns and behind the scenes photos and video that tell their story and sell their brand.

Using social media to sell a brand isn’t something reserved for just traditional retail businesses. The various social media platforms allow media outlets and reporters to sell their news brand too, be it a newspaper, television i-Team, major news network, radio station or podcast.

The technology also gives reporters the opportunity to brand themselves. And it gives readers a more intimate perspective of their interests. Reporters can personalize posts by sharing a national news story that matters to them, or describing how a tornado has affected their own neighborhoods. That branding is good for engaging very distractible audiences who are bombarded by a host of competing media interests.

There’s something else, too. Social media allows reporters to actually connect with readers or viewers in real time. They can answer questions or respond to feedback. Reporters often use social media to connect with potential sources as well through Twitter direct message and Facebook messenger. The technology makes it easier than ever to reach out and connect.

The opportunities for generating story ideas over social media are endless. There are as many potential stories as there are social media users.

If businesses and organizations aren’t using social media to its fullest potential, there’s a good chance customers and clients won’t hear that message – and reporters won’t see it either.

It goes beyond just having things to post on Facebook and Twitter. Businesses, organizations and media outlets alike have to be present. They have to be relevant. They have to be accessible.

The world of mass media has been forever altered, going from a handful of Harvard students who wanted to connect socially on a website initially called “thefacebook” to a new media giant — just plain old “Facebook” — that has reshaped the world of news gathering, information dissemination and interaction.

What hasn’t changed, however, is connecting with people and sharing the stories of the world around us.

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Why podcasting is an effective marketing tool

By Matt Sabo, Consociate Media Lead Writer and Media Strategist

We are wired to tell and listen to stories, an ancient method of communication that we’ve used for millennia to help make sense of the world around us.

We relate to stories. We gain insights, arrive at conclusions and learn from them. We experience the range of emotions through storytelling. We marvel, we may be surprised or shocked and we may react in anger or sadness. Often we tell stories to entertain and laugh.

Stories are a way to shrink a very big world and make connections in previously unimaginable ways that cross culture, gender, demographics and even societal status. As a marketing tool, stories are essential to connecting with an audience, whether it’s broad or targeted.

But stories are worthless without an audience; their very purpose is to share. Which makes podcasting a natural fit as a marketing tool to connect with an expansive new audience. It’s verbal storytelling reimagined, repurposed and recast.

One of the beauties of podcasting is its mobility and accessibility, making it a marketing dream. With the advent of smartphones, a podcast can be listened to anywhere — in a car, at an office, in a coffee shop, on a treadmill and a host of other places and even during a host of other activities.

Podcasters can use it as a tool to mold and shape their brand because they can control the message. They can also reach new, untapped audiences and connect with them in inventive ways.

Podcasting is a means to elevating a company’s brand and raising the profile of company executives. By telling their stories, hearing their musings on their successes and failures, what they are focused on, what they value in employees, industry trends — do you get the idea that there’s an endless supply of potential podcast subjects — you can take the audience on a journey inside the company’s walls.

You can also engage with an audience, soliciting questions and comments and building a rapport that you can’t get in other spaces. It’s also a direct line to customers, partners, potential patrons or clients and others.

Another selling point of podcasting is it helps cultivate a company’s cross-pollination efforts by incorporating other social media elements. It can widen a company’s reach as well by reaching out to contacts inside — and even outside — its industry to highlight trends, divulge what’s new, predict the future, tell war stories, frame discussions and offer insights into other topics of interest.

Before getting started, however, there are a couple of essentials to launching a successful podcast. Quality is key and it’s well worth the money — which can be surprisingly inexpensive at an investment under $1,000 — to ensure you have a podcast that sounds professional.

Also, have at least three to five podcast episodes edited and ready to upload and launch a social media blitz in conjunction with their release. You want to get noticed — there’s no point in making the time and effort to do podcasting if no one is listening — and use the tools at your disposal to drive traffic both to your podcast and from your podcast to a website and social media channels.

The times have certainly changed but whether it’s oral storytelling traditions in primitive cultures or podcasting, the story is still the same: It’s about the story.

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Consociate Media Welcomes Matt Sabo as Lead Writer, Communications Associate

Consociate Media, a Gloucester based public relations firm, is proud to welcome Matt Sabo to the team as Lead Writer and Communications Associate.

With more than 20 years of professional writing experience, Sabo is excited to tell stories of entrepreneurs and businesses through writing, editing, blogging and across various social media platforms.

Consociate Media, headquartered on Main Street in Gloucester, Va., was founded in 2011 by Stephanie Heinatz, a former newspaper reporter who worked alongside Sabo at the Daily Press. Consociate Media provides public relations, communications and marketing support to businesses of varying sizes and multiple industries. Clients stretch from New York to Gloucester, Williamsburg to Virginia Beach, and beyond.

“I write because it’s my passion and I’m fueled by the stories I have the opportunity to tell,” Sabo said. “Being a writer has taken me places I’ve never imagined, given me amazing experiences I didn’t foresee and allows me to meet extraordinary people. It never grows old.”

Sabo was born and raised in Bend, Ore., and went on to graduate from the University of Portland after receiving a track scholarship. After working as a reporter for various newspapers in Oregon, Sabo and his family relocated to Virginia in 2004 when Sabo landed a job at the Daily Press of Newport News.

Sabo took a sabbatical from the world of reporting in 2014 to work for the Transformational Education Network (TEN3), a Christian non-profit missions organization. With TEN3, Sabo traveled to Africa and Haiti helping church leaders and educators in those countries start Bible-based computer training schools. Today, Sabo pastors a non-denominational church in Gloucester.

“I view writing with Consociate and the expertise we offer as a team as an opportunity to elevate lives and see entrepreneurs and business owners succeed in the work they’re so passionate about,” Sabo said.

In his free time, Sabo enjoys raising his children, missions work, Wiffle ball, gardening and road trips.

Learn more about Consociate Media at www.consociatemedia.com.

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