By James Chittenden
The Dark Side!
Anger sells. Major media is skilled at magnifying conflict and stoking anger. It is in the best interest of magazines, newspapers, cable news, and tabloids to keep you outraged. It is also in the best interest of political parties, interest groups, and related businesses to spin reporters and editors in directions that result in stories that make you angry. If you are an entrepreneur, we are about to show you how media-generated anger can boost your business.
Physical Effects of the Dark Side
Anger keeps you engaged and interested. It hooks you in to a story and makes you want to learn more. Anger also momentarily feels good. It does result in an adrenaline release, which provides a boost of energy. Some doctors argue that anger is addictive. Unfortunately, anger also increases depression and anxiety. And this excellent graphic shows exactly what happens to your body when you are experiencing anxiety.
The Clickbait Industrial Complex
Media is a competitive business. Platforms compete for viewers. This is a ranking of news sites by social media following. Similarweb’s rankings here do not include social media, but does maintains rankings based on site traffic here. You can see why a mention in major media can result in heavy traffic and attention. Within news organizations, reporters compete with each other for viewership and readership, awards, and promotions.
Social media is a major driver of traffic to news sites. CNN, as one of the major sites, is at or near the top of rankings of social media followers AND traffic.
Media coverage and social media engagement can multiply each other. And media-generated anger can boost your business too.
These news companies know their audiences well. For example, the Pew Research Center published a study of political party registration of viewers of top news outlets. The results will confirm what you always suspected, but read it anyway because the knowledge will come in handy later.
Media turns your anger into their gold!
Political season is a great opportunity for media to drive traffic and ratings by dialing up the emotion. Themes such as crime, race, or politics all talk to the dark side. It doesn’t matter whether the stories are based on facts or conjecture. Media platforms post political red meat on social media and people respond emotionally. They click the article, comment on it, and share it.
Reporter Ethics: “Comfort the Afflicted and Afflict the Comfortable”
Reporters are not doing it for the money. According to ZipRecruiter, the average annual salary of a local journalist ranges between $25k and $53k. National reporters are not paid much better. The average salary for a reporter at FOX News is just over $67k.
A journalist is expected to be critical of power and institutions, and of beliefs. They are normally idealistic and ready to question everything in the hopes of affecting change and improving the world. They may take pride in their empathy but also in challenging people in positions of wealth, power, and influence.
This force can boost your business, but only if you learn to work with media instead of just consuming it.
Bias is obvious if you think about it.
Reporters are selective about the facts they use in a story. They may report facts, but they will not report ALL facts. Biased reporters publish facts that are favorable to their storyline and omit facts that are unfavorable to their storyline.
The bias may or may not be on the part of the individual reporter, but media is a business. Therefore the overarching bias will be to do what is necessary to boost ratings, which boosts domain authority and sells advertising. Social media traffic helps too, so everyone who likes, comments and shares a post featuring an article HELP the media outlet by bringing traffic.
Look for unflattering photos. Look for inflammatory language. Look for manufactured or exaggerated conflict.
All of that traffic enables these platforms and media outlets to charge high rates to their advertisers. You can see why they work to play the emotions of readers.
And THAT is how things go viral. Most of us do not have the power of a major media organization behind us. But an entrepreneur CAN employ big-league public relations techniques and get dramatic results.
The key is letting the emotions of others work for your profit, rather than your emotions working for someone else’s profit.
In 1752, Benjamin Franklin harnessed the power of lightning with his famous “kite” experiment. Channeled and directed properly, lightning provides power and electricity. However, lightning can also destroy whatever it strikes. Media attention is like lightning! Public attention can alter fortunes within hours. How can you harness power from this source?
Public relations (PR) is the craft of getting attention on your terms. It is definitely a learned skill. For the uninitiated, here are the basics. You need writing skills, balls, and an eye for opportunity.
It takes writing skills because your literacy will be on display, so don’t embarrass yourself with spelling and grammar errors.
You will need balls because your efforts will rub some people the wrong way, and that has to be ok. If you want to be a leader, strap on your armor and proceed like a boss despite the hate and name calling. If you are offending people, you have done something right, so have an opinion and own it.
You will need an eye for opportunity because while opportunity to showcase your business or cause is everywhere, it is fleeting.
Beyond the basics of writing skills, balls, and an eye for opportunity, you need to know how to work with media.
Learn from those who have worked with YOUR dark side!
You have been motivated by things you have read in media or social media platforms. You got emotional and were motivated to buy, to vote, or to act. You can’t help it. Something tripped an emotional hot button and you responded. Now put those same forces to work for you instead of against you.
Learn the nature of news
Business owners love recognition for things they do right. If they made a large charitable contribution, sponsored a Little League team, or promoted employees, they want media attention. Unless it is a small town where the business owner knows the newspaper editor well, such actions do not make the news. Public relations for owners of startups and small businesses is a widely misunderstood subject. Reporters are drawn to scandal of all kinds. They are drawn to people who are famous or notorious. They are drawn to conflict, and if the conflict is marginal, they will exaggerate it. While it all adds great toxicity to our culture, you can’t fight it, so find ways to work with it.
The Nature of News is an easy course that teaches exactly what is newsworthy, and provides a working knowledge of the elements of newsworthiness. Master the elements of newsworthiness and you will be able to attract and shape coverage of yourself.
Learn what motivates reporters
Reporters have their own pressures. They want to advance in their profession like anyone else. If you can get inside a reporter’s head, you can be very successful at gaining publicity. This simple course will help.
Learn how to attract media coverage, shape opinion, be a better writer, and sell more of everything.
You do not need a gold-plated PR firm. Public relations for owners of startups and small businesses is available. If you have fundamental writing skills, balls, and an eye for opportunity, but they need improvement, you can do that now. If you have fundamental writing skills, balls, and an eye for opportunity, but can’t see the next step, it can be made easy for you.
You can do it all yourself. This complete course will give you the skills and is designed to get your published in media before you are finished with the course.
Media coverage and social media tend to multiply each other.
Public Triumph offers press releases drafted and with guaranteed coverage at a relatively inexpensive cost. To learn more, click here.
How do I use social media?
There are right ways to do it for maximum impact. For example, Facebook and LinkedIn have groups. You may be a member of a few of these groups. There are ways to engage these groups without coming across as “salesy”. Also, there are optimal times to post for business customers. It generally isn’t Saturday night. But there is a certain magic in posting between 10 am and 2 pm. Efficient PR Efforts explains how to add accuracy and precision to your PR and social media campaigns. For more information, click here.
Social media is not as easy as it looks. A common expectation among small business owners is that they can hire a college kid to do it, and go viral free or cheap. No! It is true that an attractive young woman can easily get a lot of engagements for a selfie, but that does not mean she can make viral miracles happen for your business. Make the investment in doing it correctly. Your social media can be run by experts and automated, reaching the audience you need at the right times. Crowdfire offers that service. For more information, click here.
And finally, welcome to One Click Advisor! We would be remiss if we didn’t give you a brief tour of the site and what it can do for you. If you are looking to plan a business a little better or start one, we have a number of free things for you here. Your challenges and opportunities can be sorted into one of three areas.
Marketing, because it brings in the customers. Start or continue that plan here.
Operations, because it keeps your customers. Start or continue that plan here.
Finance, because it is the scoreboard. Change the “score” and explore financing here.
Public relations for owners of startups and small businesses
Public relations can give your business a serious boost. Learn how to work with media and the social media platforms. Don’t be obscure any longer.
Put the emotions of others to work for you, instead of the other way around.