Why news is still the greatest content of all

newspapersFor thousands of years, people have been seeking the most effective way to communicate their thoughts and ideas.

The concept of the ‘newspaper’ – a regular publication that contains news and correspondence – was born when leaders decided they wanted to distribute their news to the masses.

One of the earliest forms of newspapers appeared in Ancient Rome. The Emperor Julius Caesar made government announcements through the bulletin Acta Diurna. They were carved in metal or stone and posted as message boards in public places. After a couple of days, the boards were taken down and archived. They were replaced with new message boards discussing the latest noteworthy information.

Due to the obvious time and size constraints involved in carving news on stone and metal tablets, bulletins needed to be concise. They needed to convey a lot of ideas in as few words as possible. They also needed to be informative, entertaining and attention-grabbing to maximise engagement.

Fast-forward to the 21st century and times have changed. Information is now disseminated via an overwhelming number of news channels – we have printed and online newspapers, radio, TV and blogs. Social networking is now an intrinsic part of our lives with companies and private citizens updating the world via Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Tumbler and more.

However, while the distribution channels have changed some things remain very much the same.

Going back to Ancient Rome and more particularly since the first newspapers rolled off the presses 400-odd years ago journalists have been taught to write copy that is short, sharp and sweet. They need to grab your attention straight way – today’s society is a busy one and people are time poor. Readers want to get information quickly and easily while they grab a coffee on the way to work, on the train or before they turn their attention to their inbox.

The tricks of the journalistic trade – identifying an angle, crafting a headline, avoiding jargon and using tense to convey immediacy – have been refined over many generations to achieve the sole purpose of communicating quickly and effectively.

It’s a style that has evolved over hundreds of years. So why re-invent the wheel when the solution to communicating with all your audiences already exists?

Your media strategy, and particularly, the content that drives it, should be an integral part of your content strategy. Your media consultants need to be at the very centre of your content strategy.

Their experience as journalists will help create press releases, blog posts, newsletters, magazine articles and brochures that are exciting, relevant and newsworthy.


The changing face of travel media and rise of the blogger

iStock_000034138194_1000x666As the digital media revolution has gained full steam in the last 10 years we’ve witnessed the ‘rise of the blogger’ across many areas of interest but none more so than in the world of travel.

Where once some key TV, newspaper and magazine travel editors dominated the travel media pack, along with some experienced freelance writers, today some of the most influential voices in travel are those armed with nothing more than a laptop and smartphone.

By setting up their own travel blogs, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts, some keen travellers are now earning their keep as influential voices in travel with large numbers of loyal followers.

Often referred to by marketing types as ‘influencers’, these bloggers are now as much as anyone the place for keen travellers to get travel information, recommendations and hopefully, independent opinion.

So what does this mean for your travel business?

If you’re simply not engaging with them then you’re missing out on a golden opportunity to put your product in front of many prospective visitors. If you’re not engaging with them properly then you almost certainly won’t be maximizing the benefit.

Be aware, some of the better bloggers have followings in their tens of thousands – more than many magazines – and their content is going to have greater longevity online and through their personal endorsement.

Do your research on who the blogger is and in particular look for their numbers of followers on their various digital platforms and by all means request that of the blogger when dealing with them. They should be upfront about their follower numbers if they are serious. Also look for a good level of interaction from their followers by way of comments and shares. You may not be willing or able to support all requests but you need to treat them seriously and do your homework.

If you’re going to host them, treat them as you would any media VIP and give them the best and most authentic experience possible. It will be reflected in their posts about their visit and also lead to you being referred to again by them in the future.

Use your social media assets to thank them for visiting and share their stories about you to your own followers. Make sure you let them know what your social media accounts are in advance so they can be included in their posts.

Many tourism businesses and regions are actively pursuing bloggers and dedicated Instagrammers as part of their PR programs and creating special opportunities for them. Some major familiarisation programs have been created in Queensland and around Australia providing perfect story and photo opportunities.

Often renowned as Australia’s top travel bloggers are Caz and Craig Makepeace from yTravel Blog who are in the midst of a year long around Australia trip with their young family. Check them out and see how they’re setting the standard.