Digital Impact Recap: Social media lessons from the press

April 5, 2012

The press gets digital better than any other industry, Steve Rubel (@steverubel), executive vice president, global strategy and insights for Edelman, told the audience during his breakout session, “The Clip Report: A Briefing on the Future of News” at The PRSA 2012 Digital Impact Conference at New York’s Sentry Center on Monday.

Innovation is happening across outlets and platforms, and PR practitioners need to understand the dynamic between digital and traditional content to succeed in their own work.

Rubel identified five things that PR professionals can learn from the media to make their content relevant in the digital age:

  1. Curate to dominate: Curation amplifies stories by giving selected content more value. It will become an increasingly popular business model as more people interact with media through search, social and brand.
  2. Data mine and time: Successful media outlets understand Facebook’s dynamics and algorithms. Rubel noted that outlets that capitalize on Facebook’s Open Graph see a significant spike in page views. Recognize emerging patterns and delve into data to make the most of digital platforms.
  3. Keep stories alive: Understand the pathways to news, and remember that social sharing extends the life and the reach of your content. Media sites saw 13 percent more traffic to a page if they add a Facebook “share” button.
  4. “Spreadable” versus “drillable” media: Spreadable content finds you; it tends to be hard news or shared socially. Drillable media is news that you seek out that allows you to go deeper into your interests. Niche, long-form publications are especially popular (and accessible) on tablets.
  5. Covet thy superstars: Many media outlets have reporters or contributors with their own following, such as The New York Times’ media scribe Brian Stelter. Often these people have greater wingspan within their organizations because of their influence and their ability to connect with the audience directly. Leverage these people across platforms to create a symbiotic relationship that benefits both brands. 
Kyra Auffermann is the digital content editor for Tactics. She oversees PRSA’s daily Issues & Trends e-newsletter. She is a Boston College graduate.
Email: kyra.auffermann at


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