How to Market Yourself Like the ‘Fake News’ Outlets

Published on July 26, 2017

Love them or not, our country’s news media outlets are remarkable for a lot of reasons. Most impressive to us is the way in which our news and information sources are constantly adapting and changing with the times.

You see, not only do the world’s news outlets (sometimes referred to as “fake news” – but the less said about that, the better) bring millions of people top-notch stories, criticism, and analysis every single day, but they’re also an amazing reflection of the current state of technology. Hundreds of years ago, our newspapers and magazines came in the form of printed leaflets, single sheets of text, and shouted proclamations. As time went on, we saw news spread to other available media, including to the telegraph, radio, and TV. Today, we receive our news through a complex, interconnected network of sources, ranging from websites to cable TV channels to social media platforms.

As a result of their need to constantly evolve to keep up with readers’ tastes and budgets, news outlets have long been on the cutting edge of marketing – and the digital marketing tips that they’re using to reach and engage audiences today can work wonders for your brand, as well!

Here are three big lessons that your digital marketing can take away from the news media:

Share Your Content Multiple Times

As of 2016, 62% of American adults get news on social media, and 18% report that they do so “often,” according to Pew Research.

With social media increasingly becoming the first and last stop that many of us make when we fire up our browser or check our smartphone, it only makes sense that more and more of us are getting our first look at the day’s news via social media. Recognizing this, many of the big players in the news media have taken to social media marketing in a big way, increasing their presence on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram and adopting some tried-and-true conversion-generating techniques.

The keys to success? In addition to the fundamentals – making sure that their content is well-written and that they include images, GIFs, and videos whenever possible – odds are that your favorite news outlet has adopted a pretty strict posting schedule in which it sends out the same piece of content multiple times per day.

Re-sharing content is a highly effective technique on social media; doing so ensures that your content is able to reach as many different eyes as possible. Even better, studies have shown that seeing the same piece of content multiple times may actually encourage a reader who is on the fence to engage; in other words, it may take multiple exposures to the same link before a reader clicks through.

Of course, news channels have a built-in audience that your brand may lack; it’s important to experiment and find the golden number of posts that works for your brand. Too few, and you may not be generating the results that you’re really capable of; too many, and you do risk alienating audiences who don’t want to see their timelines cluttered up, even with useful content.

Another big lesson you can take from the posting habits of news outlets? Most are very careful in optimizing their content for the specific platform they’re posting to. In other words, these outlets tend to recognize that what works on Facebook may not work on Twitter, and vice versa. For instance, take a look at how our local paper, the Chicago Tribune, shared the same story on Twitter and Facebook.

Spot the differences? The Facebook copy is shorter and punchier, the Twitter copy more informative; the Facebook post is also a “text” link, whereas the Twitter post is anchored by an image. Technicalities aside, the important lesson is to avoid cross-posting, which reads as lazy and can actually minimize your social results; instead, give each social platform the attention it deserves by tailoring each and every one of your posts for the network it will be shared on.

Diversify Your Content Types

Content is the foundation of all successful digital marketing; creating informative, appealing content allows you to construct a digital newsletter, rank highly on search engines, and consistently have things to share and discuss on your social channels.

One of the areas where our news media platforms have excelled is in content diversity. Having long ago recognized that the future of media consumption was multi-platform, our news outlets responded accordingly. TV news channels post blogs and written content as well as video; newspapers release video content, infographics, slideshows, and more; and plenty of online-only publications like Vox or Slate emphasize their podcasts as heavily as their written content.

None of these news outlets do just one thing, and your brand shouldn’t, either! Wherever possible, work to switch up your content marketing with new media opportunities, including audio, video, and interactive elements like quizzes or games. The payoff – in terms of traffic, engagement, conversions, and audience retention – will amaze you.

Emphasize Your Branding

Drop the phrase “The Gray Lady” at a dinner party, and we’re willing to bet that your guests will know without question that you’re referring to the New York Times. The same goes for the slogan “Democracy Dies in Darkness,” recently adopted by the Washington Post. Looking for rankings on healthcare or universities? Everyone knows to turn to U.S. News & World Report.

We could go on, but, unlike the Times, we don’t have enough time to cover “all the news that’s fit to print.” Suffice it to say that you recognize these brands by their visuals, content, or style because of a successful branding campaign.

Your business may not be a reporting institution, but it is worthy of instantly recognizable branding. Practically speaking, that means making sure that all of your content is visually unified and presented in one appealing, recognizable voice. Users will respond to effective branding by keeping your brand top-of-mind; if they know who you are and what you do, they’ll be more likely to recommend you to a friend, subscribe to your email list, share your social content, or do business with your brand.

When you’re ready to create content that rivals the New York Times for quality and style, drop Geek a line! Our team of seasoned marketing pros knows just what it takes to reach and win over audiences today.

Ready to talk multimedia content marketing? Curious about what it takes to get started? We’re always here and ready to help!

The Complete Geek's Guide to Email Etiquette. Get our eBook.