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Your Business and the 24 Hour News Cycle

The 24 hour news cycle is a lot like the ocean. If you catch a wave you can ride it smoothly for all it’s worth. Alternatively, a rogue wave can catch you, thrash you about and, ultimately swamp you. In large measure your success will depend on how well you read the waves and navigate through them.

 

The news business has become a sea monster (to take the analogy a bit beyond where I should) with an unfathomable hunger and a need for new and enticing content. That means that when you have something to say, you will find an outlet for it. It might not be the New York Times, but you can get your content out there. The more enticing it is and the better packaged, the better it will fare. Of course, it’s got to be real news and/or information, especially if you want anyone to actually see, hear or read it.

 

That’s the good news: your story will find a home. With some luck and some skill people will see it. Of course, it doesn’t happen by magic and you’ll actually have to put work into packaging it in a way that’s comprehensible and appealing. 

 

Using some skill and finesse you can also extend the “ride” that your story enjoys. If it’s well received video, repurpose it. Take still shots and write about it as a social media or blog post. Blast it out to your email list. Break it up into smaller, bite-sized morsels and repurpose and redistribute it. You get the idea.

 

Then, there’s the bad news: information that you might now want to have out there, information that you can’t control, will also find a way out into the news cycle. What’s worse, these days a story doesn’t have to be fair or even accurate to gain wide circulation and even to go viral. And it gets even worse, once it’s out there, it’s out there. You can’t appeal to the good judgment of an editor or gatekeeper. There are no gatekeepers left and everyone is an editor, that includes your competitors and enemies. The genie doesn’t go back into the bottle, the toothpaste doesn’t go back into the tube. Insert your own metaphor here.

 

There are several measures that you can take to ensure that the impact of bad (or event false) news is limited.

 

  • Monitor Social Media: Keep a close eye on what people are saying about you, your products and services. That way you’ll know early on before a wave of bad news grows into a tsunami, and you’ll be able to take countermeasures.
  • Practice Social Media: This is an obvious one. Here’s your best opportunity to get your own story out there, and to address critics early on.
  • Customer Service: Often it’s the unhappy client or customer that breaks the calm. If you’re in a position to know what they’re saying and why they’re unhappy, you have an opportunity to address it early on. To take it a bit further, you even have a chance to turn good news into bad news. If handled well, you can turn a dissatisfied customer into one of your most satisfied clients. That will give them something to talk about.
  • Turn the Other Cheek: Sometimes it’s just best to ignore something. A small story may be just that, a small story. Of course, it’s you and your business and for that reason it’s huge. Sometimes by taking it head on you actually transfer a small ripple into an unfortunate wave.

At the end of this there is one overriding piece of good news. The 24 hour news cycle itself. Remember that beast has an insatiable appetite as well as a short attention span. In many, even most cases, there will be something tastier and fresher to come along that will knock you out of the public eye. Just hang on for the ride.

The 24 hour news cycle is a lot like the ocean. If you catch a wave you can ride it smoothly for all it’s worth. Alternatively, a rogue wave can catch you, thrash you about and, ultimately swamp you. In large measure your success will depend on how well you read the waves and navigate through them.

The news business has become a sea monster (to take the analogy a bit beyond where I should) with an unfathomable hunger and a need for new and enticing content. That means that when you have something to say, you will find an outlet for it. It might not be the New York Times, but you can get your content out there. The more enticing it is and the better packaged, the better it will fare. Of course, it’s got to be real news and/or information, especially if you want anyone to actually see, hear or read it.

That’s the good news: your story will find a home. With some luck and some skill people will see it. Of course, it doesn’t happen by magic and you’ll actually have to put work into packaging it in a way that’s comprehensible and appealing. 

Using some skill and finesse you can also extend the “ride” that your story enjoys. If it’s well received video, repurpose it. Take still shots and write about it as a social media or blog post. Blast it out to your email list. Break it up into smaller, bite-sized morsels and repurpose and redistribute it. You get the idea.

Then, there’s the bad news: information that you might now want to have out there, information that you can’t control, will also find a way out into the news cycle. What’s worse, these days a story doesn’t have to be fair or even accurate to gain wide circulation and even to go viral. And it gets even worse, once it’s out there, it’s out there. You can’t appeal to the good judgment of an editor or gatekeeper. There are no gatekeepers left and everyone is an editor, that includes your competitors and enemies. The genie doesn’t go back into the bottle, the toothpaste doesn’t go back into the tube. Insert your own metaphor here.

There are several measures that you can take to ensure that the impact of bad (or event false) news is limited.

  • Monitor Social Media: Keep a close eye on what people are saying about you, your products and services. That way you’ll know early on before a wave of bad news grows into a tsunami, and you’ll be able to take countermeasures.
  • Practice Social Media: This is an obvious one. Here’s your best opportunity to get your own story out there, and to address critics early on.
  • Customer Service: Often it’s the unhappy client or customer that breaks the calm. If you’re in a position to know what they’re saying and why they’re unhappy, you have an opportunity to address it early on. To take it a bit further, you even have a chance to turn good news into bad news. If handled well, you can turn a dissatisfied customer into one of your most satisfied clients. That will give them something to talk about.
  • Turn the Other Cheek: Sometimes it’s just best to ignore something. A small story may be just that, a small story. Of course, it’s you and your business and for that reason it’s huge. Sometimes by taking it head on you actually transfer a small ripple into an unfortunate wave.

At the end of this there is one overriding piece of good news. The 24 hour news cycle itself. Remember that beast has an insatiable appetite as well as a short attention span. In many, even most cases, there will be something tastier and fresher to come along that will knock you out of the public eye. Just hang on for the ride.

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