Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Now everyone can be a publisher is there too much news?

The volume of company announcements has increased rapidly with the ability to self publish online, but how much of it is really news?

Before the Internet, most b-2-b marketers had limited media access to reach their target audiences with news - typically trade journals, local press and a company newsletter. The press release is a formal company document, although often researched and written by a PR agency, it was (and still is) approved before issue,  so the process takes time. The PR specialist identifies news stories that are likely to be of interest to a magazine editor, will look for a unique angle on the story and provide a captioned and credited, professional photograph - the more eye catching and compelling the better. Once the press release reaches the editor's desk along with hundreds of others, probably only one in twenty gets selected for publication. Unpublished stories can still be used on the company web site and in newsletters. A Virtual News Office is a great way of publishing company news. But formal company news is not the reason for 'news' overload - it is the social media channels. Frequently the tweets are links to another online item. Even video is running the risk of over exposure.

Twitter and Facebook are probably the biggest culprits in churning out news by the minute. In the first case, most of it isn't interesting news just inconsequential comments of the moment. For example, by following tweets from companies and organisations active in a particular b-2-b market sector, even if you are following relatively few, it generates such a deluge of information that it soon becomes unmanageable and consequently unread. Amalgamating news feeds using something like Hootsuite clearly demonstrates the scale of the problem. One organisation told me it has about half a dozen people each tweeting 5 or 6 times a day. With the filters  - PR agency and magazine editor - on what constitutes 'news' removed, quality is obviously one casualty, interest another and the risk of losing the attention of your customers an all too real possibility. Is a development engineer or an architect keen to be kept informed of new products and projects really going to be impressed by being swamped with company tweets and Facebook messages, or would they prefer just to stick with what is important and relevant to them? Has anyone even asked? Perhaps the 'less is more' philosophy would work better.

On the other hand selectively used social media can add to traditional news broadcast methods. Tweets as headlines of press releases can link to the full story on a VNO. Blogs provide a channel for very targeted information appealing to very specific, small and focussed target audiences that would never have supported a printed magazine. Videos are good for providing supporting information on the YouTube channel. For b-2-b marketing not everyone will be social media users and marketing strategy must recognise the diversification of news delivery, maintain quality, publish information of real interest and value to the target audiences and avoid over kill.

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