UPDATE: The first video goes out of sync with the audio around 5:19; so I re-uploaded the video from 5:19 on so you could see an operational copy.
Many emerging journalists have dipped their toes into brand development social media; some go for it on full blast and do a cannonball into the sewer. Now is the time for all journalists to take a leap of faith and @reply, get Liked, and followed employing techniques that internet marketers do as routinely as playing Halo and Farmville. Many journalists with whom I have worked have listened and do what they can to learn and master the use of these new communication tools like Twitter, Facebook, Digg and the vuvuzuela. The one thing that I recommend is to try to avoid solely focusing on the major social media networks like Facebook and Twitter. The social bookmarkers like Digg, Reddit, Stumbleupon, still drive respectable amounts of traffic. There are millions of communities in the forms of blogs, forums, and other digital platforms where your target community is active. Become the brand advocate that produces the hottest content and drives traffic to that content; they’ll put your name on the corporate charter next to Rupert Murdoch.
I welcome journalists to also start their own ventures; you don’t have to stand outside of Target and sell candy bars for a dollar. There are ways for you to build your brand to the point that you could work independently of any news organization. You could build your blog to the point of having people seek you out to write for them. Or you could sell products that you use and review. Caveat emptor, don’t use your community to falsely endorse anything just to generate revenue; they’ll tie you up to a street lamp and run into you with a shopping cart, and then a snow blower. Jeffrey Gitomer wrote that if you make a sale you make a commission, but if you make a friend you make a fortune. Make friends out of your community members; hook them up with your hot ex-girlfriend. Don’t mislead your friends. If you offer them true value and solutions to their problems, they will buy from you and tell others to buy from you. They will promote you sharing your content with their friends and co-defendants.
The future journalist will build her email list(s), and communicate regularly with her community; they’ll stand on a folding ladder, talk crap, and take a rotten tomato to the mouth if they have to. People on their email lists will not only buy their products, but they will help spread the word on pieces of content produced by her. They’ll hold her hand when jumping into the cross-dimensional worm hole that’s to swallow the Earth whole in 2012. The future journalist will know the value of giving more than receiving to maintain a solid foundation of support among her community members in the form of blog posts, links, shares, Likes, Tweets, phone calls, brownies… yes brownies.
News organizations will also rethink their revenue generation models. Online publications are generating millions hosting and selling registrations to events; the 229 person gangbang in Japan sold out in minutes. The publications that will thrive, will be those who build communities through email lists, RSS feeds, and friendships built on social media platforms. Not everybody in the community will buy a ticket, an ebook, a course, your web cam, or your old rug that smells like a wet dog. But a proportion of people will turn your news organization into a business. And the more that you grow that community, the more the quantity of customers in that proportion grows. These tactics of communicating and maintaining relationships with readerships that are more comfortable at consuming media through digital means is not revolutionary. Email lists are a more engaged form of communication than alternative broadcast channels like Facebook and Twitter. And I could remember all the marketers yelling the importance of building my list through a mega phone since I was downloading my first virus on Napster. So I build my lists using Aweber email marketing software. I’m not only an Aweber affiliate, but I’m also a client.