In this age of frenzied social media feeds and a struggling media industry, you might be asking yourself, do traditional news media stories still have relevance or impact?
My answer is yes. Here’s why:
Independent stories by trusted brands of truth validate your value. Media stories can break through the noise and clutter of mindless social media feeds. Media stories can reach a broader cross section of community influencers, business leaders, decision makers and consumers.
Journalists are professional storytellers supported by strong photographers and graphic artists. They are guided by journalism ethics and accountability. Journalists who fail to live up to these standards are called out by their editors and other journalists. Independent social media influencers are guided by their own rules. While some social media influencers have successfully vaulted into the trusted brands of truth arena, (most) media brands have a proven legacy.
An earned (your work for it) media story in your local media can elevate a cause for change or spotlight a rising superstar business. Even if you have personal objections to a particular media brand, you should not disregard individual journalists who are working on stories that define their careers.
How do you know if you have a story worth pitching?
Consider the traditional story formula. Do you have a hero conquering a battle? Is this an organization or business taking action that inspires others to act? Is this story you want to pitch breaking trends or rules? Is there a juicy scandal?
Unless you can demonstrate a conflict or remarkable trend, you probably don’t have a story.
Let’s assume you have a worthy pitch. Do you have the storytellers to make the pitch come alive? Journalists need people to interview to make a story interesting. They usually need at least three people who can discuss the relevance of a story. There are the people at the center of the conflict or trend and the people surrounding it. Have you identified the storytellers for your media pitch? Are they prepared and willing to participate in media interviews before you contact the media?
Journalists don’t have a lot of time for leg work. If you can’t suggest anybody who can discuss the story pitch besides one person, it’s unlikely the story is that interesting unless this single person is at the center of something remarkable.
Big media brands also aim to rank high on Google and social media platforms. A prominently placed media story will rank high in the Google ocean when a single social media post is a ripple. Big media brands also share stories with partners and national affiliates across the country.
Will your story idea pull people away from TikTok & Instagram reels? Will your story flood social media platforms because it’s trendy? Or will your story idea sink to the bottom of the Google ocean?
Remember: We are living in an attention economy. Consider your audience. Media and social media consumers are drinking from a firehose of content options. While social media is accessible to everyone, it’s also not possible for everyone to consume all of it. For this reason, traditional media stories remain relevant.