Breaking news, scientific breakthroughs, major spokesperson announcements, groundbreaking products are all areas that make the news.
A portion on these announcements come from press releases. Here is a selection of insights on how journalists in Australia and New Zealand view press releases and how they derive different types of value from them.
Point A: A common theme was the importance of the initial role of releases in news and information gathering. • “(It is) the starting point of the newsgathering process.” - Editor, Newspaper • “Often it’s the first alert I will get to somebody important coming into town or a new (musical) release.” Journalist, Entertainment News
Relationship Building: Another theme that emerges is a simple one: releases being essential for putting journalists and news sources in contact with each other. • “They are a great way to build your contacts.” - Producer, Radio • “They can be good to spark ideas and provide contacts.” - Editor, Online
Extra information: A press release can provide supplementary information for a journalist who is already working on a story. Sometimes it can contain the missing link And there is always evidence that releases are being drawn on towards crafting a story. • “If a press release has valuable new data then I’m likely to use it.” - Editor, Business News • "In the news cycle, they can be useful at highlighting an aspect of a story we hadn’t considered.” - Editor, Online
Good for finding a position on a matter Sometimes a press release can save a journalist time when they are looking to round out a story with a range of opinions or standpoints. • “The best stories rarely come from press releases, although they can be useful for ideas or getting quick reaction to a breaking story.” - National Affairs Writer, News Outlet • “Where traditionally a phone call would have provided the information needed, journalists are now being directed to written statements and press releases.” - New Zealand Reporter, Online Outlet
Cautious to use a release as the only source A widely held view among journalists is to treat press releases with caution. • “I’ve never had a problem with using press releases as a source of information. My problem is with journalism that takes a release at face value or, even worse, simply regurgitates it with a couple of syntactical changes, a few different words, a new comma. You needn’t leave your critical thinking at the door.” - Digital News Editor, Magazine
Social media continues to be both a source of delight and frustration for communicators. While it provides an invaluable means of communicating directly with target audiences we often struggle to measure the success of social media strategies and prove their value. Social media presents two main obstacles to measurement. First, it’s not the same as traditional media and as a result cannot be measured in the same way. Secondly, social media platforms are by their very nature data rich, but not all of that data is meaningful or relevant.
Here are 5 key ways to measure the effectiveness of your social media objectives:
1. Align your social media strategies to your business objectives
Without this your social media strategies will have limited impact and you won’t know what to measure. Your objectives should always be measurable and focus on outcomes such as raising awareness rather than outputs like number of posts or tweets.
2. Set benchmarks
In order to measure effectively you need to first set a benchmark to measure from. Benchmarks can be established by researching your current social media status such as how much traffic you are driving to your website from your social media pages or finding out the current volume and tone of conversations around your brand.
3. Quality not quantity
Be strategic about the data you gather. Social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter can provide you with excessive amounts of data, but much of it can be meaningless depending on your objectives. If your objective is to increase awareness and understanding around a certain issue then the most important data will be a qualitative analysis of the favourability and tone of conversations about that issue.
4. Key measurement frameworks
Frustratingly, there is no universally accepted social media measurement framework as yet. However, AMEC* recommends that you either measure your social media along with your traditional media or evaluate your social media campaign in isolation. Which model you choose depends on the type of campaign; however, both frameworks measure against a five-stage process of Exposure, Engagement, Influence, Impact and Advocacy. These five stages reflect the non-linear way in which social media is actually used by real world audiences.
5. Finding business impact and value
Management teams are often most concerned with financial ROI. The difficulty with social media (and all earned media for that matter) is that it is an assistive medium that doesn’t necessarily directly result in financial return. Value however doesn’t have to be directly tied to revenue. Value is also created when more people become aware of your brand, are somehow influenced by your engagement or take some action like advocating for your product. If you can’t articulate the ROI, present the value your strategies have created and how they align with your organisational goals.
Social media measurement doesn’t have to be as daunting and difficult as it first appears. Yes, it can be messy, particularly if you are working across different platforms. But if you take the time at the beginning to define your objectives and how you will measure them, you can then focus on extracting the important data and generating valuable insights.
Without a doubt, the nature of news is first and foremost reactive and immediate to current affairs and breaking news. Whilst newsrooms can't prepare entirely for every news story, there are a handful of events (national and global) that tend to be an important yearly, monthly or weekly topic.
Below are just a couple of main events that most often make the newsroom:
International Events: - International Women's Day - Earth Hour - World Health Day - World Humanitarian Day - World Mental Health Day
Entertainment & Sport Events - Australian Open - NRL Grand Final - State of Origin - City 2 Surf - Logie Awards - Melbourne Cup - Academy Awards, Grammy Awards, Emmy Awards
Health Focused Events - Mothers Day Classic - Red Shield Appeal - Jeans for Genes Day - Worlds Greatest Shave
Anniversaries - Remembrance Day - ANZAC Day - Australia Day
General Observances - Easter - Labour Day - Christmas and New Years - Mothers & Father Day - Valentines Day - School Holidays
The above are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to events celebrated across the world and throughout Australia. With news constantly changing and evolving, it is handy to know that certain topics and themes will ever be present in our media.