Are you still using newsletters? Don't ignore the immediacy and power of social networks for news distribution.
I used to go to NYTimes.com or CNN.com every morning to get my news. After all, these are the sources of trustworthy reporting. Similarly, I used to sign up for companies' newsletters so I could stay up to date on their service offerings.
Nowadays, however, I typically find out important news first on Facebook or Twitter. Minutes after the untimely death of Patrick Swayze, Twitter was alive with tweets about him. "Dirty Dancing" started trending high, and all of a sudden the RIP Patrick Swayze Group was showing up on my Facebook home page. The same thing happened when Ted Kennedy passed away.
I wasn't near a TV this week to watch the Video Music Awards, but I immediately knew what happened with Kanye West, thanks to everyone on Twitter voicing their opinions. The story goes that Kanye never even apologized to Taylor Swift until a press reporter mentioned that President Obama called him a jackass off the record at a press briefing.
Additionally, Demi Moore, Seth Meyers, and others posted their homages to Swayze via Twitter. Not too long ago, they would have done through a formal press release from the PR companies that handle these stars.
Moreover, when I went to CNN.com to research this column, the site had a video segment specifically about Twitter and how it was used when Swayze passed away. How ironic that I was writing about how sites like CNN.com are playing second fiddle to Twitter, only to find it actually reporting on the use of Twitter as a news generator!
Is your company stuck in the rut of only having a newsletter? Have you begun to at least advertise your newsletter's existence (and top stories) via Twitter? ClickZ tweets about all the new articles that it publishes every day.
Some of our clients are launching new products via Twitter and executing teaser campaigns using it and TwitPic for teaser photos. They're running contests for giveaways based on how many followers they get.
Interactive ideas like this make Twitter and other social networking platforms more interesting and exciting than plain old newsletters. While "send to friend" has been a long-time feature of newsletters, retweeting is easier and (I'd bet) more common.
If you're still old school when it comes to getting your messages out there, start thinking of newer ways to interact with your user base. And don't forget the top guidelines for using social networks, either.
Until next time...
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