Fresh news is a fundamental element of social media and can be used in a variety of different ways to one’s advantage.
Across virtually every social network site, users scramble to be the first to break a news story. Inevitably, this leads to hundreds of duplicate story submissions and ends with one winner amongst hundreds of losers. But even if you weren’t the Woodward & Bernstein who successfully broke the story, there’s still hope. Remember, the story isn’t over once the news breaks; indeed, in many cases, it’s just beginning.
Taking a step back, a story that is â€˜breaking news’ material is news for many different reasons. Every popular news event has multiple angles and subplots that make the story newsworthy for different individuals. For instance, the Boston Celtics recently beat the L.A. Lakers in the 2008 NBA Finals. Why is this news?
This event is newsworthy for the following reasons:
1. A professional title was awarded making the Celtics the best team in the NBA
2. The Celtics went from terrible to tremendous in one season
3. Kevin Garnett, a good guy, finally won a championship
4. Paul Pierce won his first championship on a team that he has played for his entire career
5. The Lakers vs. Celtics rivalry is one of the more storied rivalries in sports
6. Boston sports have been phenomenal over the past few years
7. Kobe Bryant was MVP but his team lost the series
8. The Lakers were favored to win the series
9. The final game was a total blowout
Each of these different aspects contributes to the newsworthiness of the event, but as evidenced in the above screenshots, most of these slants are not highlighted. Hence, the same â€˜breaking news’ headline is repeated â€“ an ineffective tactic in generating social media attention. A more successful approach is to look for (or create) articles that highlight different elements of a popular story; use the story’s momentum to your benefit.
Reworking the above elements to improve social media traction might look like (in order):
1. Breaking: Celtics Win Championship
2. Tremendous Turnaround: How the Celtics Went From Worst to First
3. 12 Good Guys That Won Championships Before They Retired
4. 24 Loyal Athletes that Stuck With Their Team To Win A Title
5. Where Does The 2008 Finals Rank Among The Lakers-Celtics Rivalry?
6. Boston Sports: The Hottest Sports Streak for a City Ever?
7. MVPs That Couldn’t Finish: 36 Players That Had Great Seasons But Lost At The End
8. Underdogs That Overwhelmed: A Look at Recent Championships The Favored Team Lost
9. ExciteLESS: The Least Competitive Championship Winning Games In History
Of all of the proposed stories, only one of them is hedged solely on being the first to report it, the rest simply use the momentum and popularity of the event to their advantage.
Every news article has an angle that can be exploited.
The Iphone was released – What apps need to be made in order for it to work for businesses? Why Should GPS makers be scared?
Tiger Woods won’t play this year – Who are the best of the rest? How long will he take to fully recover from the surgery and what is the general success rate of this type of surgery?
Someone famous died â€“ Why were they famous and what were the highlights of their life? How did they die, could it have been prevented?
Regardless of your industry or focus, there is almost always an opportunity to find a way to spin relevant breaking news into a story that relates to your niche. And if you view every breaking news story through this perspective, you’re already ahead of the crowd.
It seems so simple, but these incredibly effective tactics may be the most underutilized in Social Media. It is a beautiful thing when you realize that you aren’t working hard to break the story, you are letting the â€˜broken’ story work hard for you.
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