Be Your Customers’ News Source

The way consumers get their news has changed dramatically in recent years. Newspapers have given way to online outlets and social media has encouraged a news cycle that’s virtually non-stop. As a small business owner, this opens a window of opportunity you can cash in on, as the following insights from a recently published Mintel study, "Staying Informed – How You Get the News," illustrate:

Balance of Power Has Shifted

Consumers now realize that non-news organizations can add valuable insights and coverage of news events. Brands specifically have a vested interest in delivering newsworthy content that relates to their products and markets.

For a small business, this means considering ways to inject your brand into the news cycle. This might mean sharing updates on the benefits of healthy eating on your Facebook page if you operate a farm-to-table restaurant. Or appearing on newscasts covering crime prevention if your business markets home security systems.

News is a Social Experience

While television is still the most popular news platform, social media is a much more prominent source among young consumers, especially 18-34-year-olds. As such, it comes with positives and negatives your business should consider.

On the plus side, it encourages social conversations that can keep your business or product in the news far beyond the typical news cycle. However, these conversations can turn negative and can reflect poorly on your brand.

For example, if local news covers the opening of your new location and you post the report on YouTube, you might come under fire in the commentary for not building to LEED specifications or for failing to locate closer to underserved neighborhoods. As such, businesses that use social platforms to leverage news should take an active role in monitoring the conversation.

Social Media as News Source Declines With Age

While 58 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds get their news from social media (vs. Television), the percentages drop as consumers get older:


Age Group                                                     % Getting News from Social Media

25- to 34-year-olds                                                                                       44

35- to 44-year-olds                                                                                       38

45- to 54-year olds                                                                                       24

55- to 64-year olds                                                                                       12

65 and up                                                                                                      10

Clearly this segmentation means businesses should take an integrated approach when it comes to developing a news strategy. New product launches, performance updates and other newsworthy events should be delivered via social media and traditional mediums, like TV, to capture a wider audience.

Morning the Best Time for News

Just as breakfast provides the energy for a productive day, the morning news still provides consumers with the bulk of their important journalistic content. In fact, 40 percent get their news between 6:00 a.m. and noon, compared to 22 percent in the evening.

Consumers use this news as ‘fuel’ for conversations and social interaction throughout the day. It’s the talk that dominates car pools and surfaces during lunch breaks and water cooler conversations at work. To leverage this development, post your newsworthy content in the morning to capture more consumers.

More Than Just a Courtesy

Being a source of news for your consumers is more than just a nice thing to do. It’s a way to leverage changing consumer habits to make your efforts more successful. And that’s good news for any business.

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