Own Your Media…

The more groups I work with…the more I realize organizations struggle with one concept, taking ownership of their media. Take control of their message and the media created to communicate their message. What do I define as media? I consider media as any digital media assets used to communicate an organization’s message.

More and more organizations continue to spend lots of time and resources finding ways to attract mainstream media outlets to communicate their message. Why…why must we completely depend on mainstream media to distribute our message?

Now…this is not a post to discount the engagement and strategy of mainstream media in PR/communication initiatives. But, given the access to digital communication tools, we can build community around our message using digital/social tools.

So what do I think organizations should consider when managing their media?

1) Bring your communications and new media strategies in-house and use them to communication rapidly and efficiently.

2) Build a new media/social media team from across the organization to capture, create, and distribute the message(s).

3) Build a mothership or home base to direct all web traffic for each communication initiatives.

4) Identify communication channels that engage the target audience.

5) Utilize high-impact, SEO rich social outlets to gain digital traction. These include YouTube, Twitter, blogs, and email newsletters.

6) Track your results.

This is a simplistic look at a big initiative, implementing takes a more detailed approach…but this is a high-level overview that prompts discussion.

As a former journalist who has worked for both small and large traditional media outlets in both general news and investigative news teams…times are changing. As mainstream media outlets are downsizing…the competition is higher for space in traditional media spaces. Less staff to not only cover current assignments but also distribute this content on traditional platforms but new media platforms as well. This marginalizes coverage of your organizations “news” items which now could be deemed as “non-news.”

With the convergence of how traditional media outlets are integrating new media/social media strategies into their content distribution, web traffic is key to their success. So, when organizations depend on their “exposure” with news media outlets posting content online on their online news channels, that is less traffic we can leverage for our own organization’s benefit.

I hear over and over, why can’t we get the media to come to our event? Why can’t we get the media to write a story about our announcement.

Why do we continue to think that the media not only cares about our stories, but has the resources and space in their broadcast properties for our stories?

So…why not just take control of our message. Why not create and manage our own messages and leverage online tools to build our own communities. Why…because many of us are still treating new/social media like traditional marketing/pr initiatives. We hire outside agencies and outside groups to manage our content. We not only need to bring the messaging strategy in-house but the media strategy in-house as well.

This takes commitment from top down in your organization. It takes resources and it takes a shift in thinking. It also takes time to implement and successfully show a trend in success. What you will find is that you now not only own the process of creating and distribution, your content; but now the traditional media outlets use your online tools as ways to learn about your organization.

Why not build a community around your organizations digital properties as opposed to depending on the news media outlet’s fragmented audiences. Yes…there is tremendous value engaging traditional news media in your strategy, but they should work in parallel with your efforts.

Let’s just call it what it is…having a traditional new media outlet write or produce content about our organization is credibility. But let’s leave just at that…adding credibility to the message. But, let’s not depend on these same outlets become the main source of audience traffic to our message.

I will leave you with a prime example of this strategy, South Carolina Hospital Association. This organization had numerous web properties that fragmented their branded message. They were also working extremely hard to gain news media coverage for the numerous advocacy initiatives they represent. They built an online media strategy that included one large web portal which included social initiatives like YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, and regular email blasts. The communication section of their web property provides a one stop shop to read, watch, and listed to the life of the organization. They now own their media content and funnel the information through their communication section of their website, driving traffic via distribution channels back to this area of the website. This is ultimately tracking success during campaign cycles.

“Own” your media…

* Image is from SomeEcards.com