Facebook has actively been courting journalists and bloggers for years, first launching the Facebook for Journalists page in 2011 in order to position its vast social network as a source of trending and popular content. The company took their efforts a step further today, launching FB Newswire. Powered by Storyful, which describes itself as a “social media newsroom” that aggregates and vets social content for use by news media, FB Newswire is being positioned by Facebook as a resource for journalists, enabling them to incorporate newsworthy content from Facebook into the media they produce.
“Look forward to first-person photos, videos, and status updates posted publicly on Facebook from the front lines of newsworthy events around the world which have been selected and verified by Storyful’s editorial team,” — FB Newswire post.
What FB Newswire means for brands
FB Newswire is going to attempt to separate signals from noise on Facebook, and the service will undoubtedly lead to earned media placements for brands. To get there, however, content first and foremost will need generate interaction (likes and shares) and comments on Facebook – to get onto the Storyful radar screen, stories need to reach critical mass in social sharing. Content that doesn’t inspire action on Facebook won’t be surfaced by Storyful.
If you want pickup on FB Newswire, social interactions are an outcome your PR content MUST generate.
Keys to developing social interaction with brand content:
Understand your fans and their preferences.
Posting messages by rote on Facebook and other social network won’t serve your brand well. Chances are good there are distinct differences between your most engaged fans on Facebook and followers on LinkedIn or Twitter, and they probably have corresponding differences in preference in terms of content format and topic. Analyze the last several months of your brand’s Facebook posts, and notice what sort of content was more popular in terms of unique users and total interactions.
Build content that appeals to them
Instead of simply posting your press releases to Facebook, go to school on your Facebook Insights data, and develop unique posts highlighting the messages most likely to resonate with your FB audience. Doing this will ensure the content you post to Facebook is more aligned with your fans’ interests, and increases the likelihood that they will start a cycle of sharing and interaction that will increase the message visibility and traction on social networks.
Utilize multiple visual images.
The majority of posts on Facebook contain a visual, and the effectiveness of visual content on social channels is well documented. Recently, Facebook enabled users to post multiple images to posts, and while the jury is out in terms of impact on reach (I have not seen any large studies about this), anecdotal evidence suggests that multiple images in a post do have a significant positive impact on reach.
Share on Facebook – and encourage broad social sharing. Sharing is one of the most powerful signals of content quality, and broad sharing of your message across Facebook and other social networks will be one of the key factors in garnering FB Newswire pickup. We’ve written extensively about social media strategies for PR and content marketing but here are some keys worth repeating:
- Write a descriptive and compelling headline, and keep it to about 100 characters.
- Use bullet points and bold font to make it easy for readers to scan content and quickly land on key messages and interesting facts.
- Employ visuals. Redundant, I know, but worth emphasizing.
- Embed social sharing buttons in your content.
FB Newswire represents another earned media opportunity for PR pros, but at this point, it’s impossible to gauge the impact it will have on reporting (and thusly, PR.) Many media outlets already feature popular social content – it’s not unusual at all, for example, to see popular YouTube videos on morning news shows. In reality, because of the effectiveness of social media on driving traffic to web sites and the value search engines are placing on social signals, PR pros should be making social sharing and the generation of social proof a priority in their campaigns, regardless of whether or not FB Newswire becomes widely used by professional media.
Additional tactical advice for digital PR campaigns: