As digital mediums of communications began to evolve, so do opportunities and demand for writers. Chelsey Dequaine, in her March 21 presentation for Social Media Breakfast, proved there is ample room for journalism in social media. She showcased prime examples of how reporting and storytelling can drive excellent results.
Chelsey is a trained journalist. While she is currently the director of social media strategy with designCraft Advertising, her background is in the written word. After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and media studies from UW-Milwaukee, she worked as a corporate journalist and photographer, and freelance writer (she still continues writing for several Madison publications.)
Chelsey’s success was an application of the fundamentals of journalism to a new method of communication. And she shared with SMB attendees how those tactics apply to both worlds.
It all starts with the story
Like any good journalist, a social media expert has to deliver a story. It lacks the editorial depth of a blog post or a magazine article, as it’s built in the space of a post or a tweet. But it is a story, nevertheless.
“Less is more” when it comes to today’s rapid-fire world of communication. You literally have seconds to make your point. Chelsey shared a graphic to illustrate that fact.
Ultimately, how you approach the story is going to be the key, according to Chelsey. “Treatment beats topic: How a story is told is more important to the audience than its topic or what it is about.”
Journalism 101 meet Social Media 101
How do create a compelling post? In her presentation, Chelsey detailed how some of basics of writing a compelling story also apply to social media. This means being able to share a story your audience will enjoy, the story is newsworthy and captures your audience’s attention.
Know. Your. Audience. An absolute must. Who are you writing for and why? What do they want to read? How can you educate them? What do they respond well to?
Write a good lead. What makes for a good lead in a newspaper article can apply to a social media post. Capture your audience’s attention and peak their curiosity in the first sentence of your post.
Your posts should have “news value” for social media. The seven news values of journalism can be used to help identify a piece of content that should be shared on social media. Those values are:
A great example of impact is this post from Monroe Street Framing (a designCraft social media client), which features framed work completed for the City of Madison Fire Department as a memorial to Lt. K-Tal Johnson.
Next step: Gather content
Producing these types of stories requires some reporting chops. Chelsey prefers communicating directly with the client and interviewing them to find stories like the Monroe Street Framing post above. She shared some of reporting techniques for uncovering stories, including:
• Always be listening
• Face-to-face interviews
• Email interviews
• Authentic photos
• In-the moment videos
Chelsey stressed the need for truly authentic photos, as opposed to stock photos. She shared numerous examples of real pictures of real people, paired with a compelling story or quote. One example she shared was designCraft’s bookeeper who donated 11 inches of her hair to Pantene North America…
…and another was this profile of Madison Community Foundation’s Tom Linfield (check out the accompanying organic metrics)…
…and this story of Harley the Heeler’s road to recovery thanks to Edinger Surgical Options.
Stories win, no matter what the media
There’s more competition than ever for online eyeballs today. But whether you’re publishing an article or a social media post, a good story always wins. Work with Chelsey’s guidelines, and you’ll create a story that your fans will find hard to pass up.
Have questions? Feel free to reach out to Chelsey at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This post was written by Greg Mischio, the Owner and Strategic Director of Winbound. Winbound provides an all-in-one content marketing and conversion optimization package specifically designed for small marketing departments. Twitter: @gregmischio