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New application of an old idea

Ed Shiller

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Back in the pre-digital world when I was a journalist based in Copenhagen, I’d often get requests from a US radio network for a package of 15-30 second spots, with each one telling another side of a major breaking story, such as a general strike or national election. The idea was to keep listeners glued to the station by presenting something different on every hourly news broadcast.

And the idea is as valid today as it was then, although it would now be applied to such new media as tweets, webcasts, blogs, websites, and posts on Facebook, LinkedIn and the like.

If your organization ever became the subject of a crisis or other high-profile story, you, like the radio network, would want your key audiences to stay tuned to you as an informed and credible source. And you would more likely attain this outcome by ensuring that each time a follower checked your social media sites there would be something new.

This process entails two approaches. One is to stay on top of the story by immediately reporting newsworthy occurrences.

The other is to prepare a modern version of the package of radio spots, so that you would be prepared to distribute at regular intervals different aspects of the story during quiet periods when nothing new was actually happening.

Tweets would be the most obvious application, where the limitation of 140 characters dictates that only a tiny facet of a story can be told at any one time. Another would be to produce a half dozen or so 15-20 second audio/visual sound bites that would accompany your tweets, be uploaded to such social media as your website and YouTube, and be distributed directly to traditional and online media, as circumstances warrant.


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