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Saturday, October 26, 2013

Are You A Media Outlet?


Are you a media outlet if you:

-Buy radio airtime and create a show?
-Write a blog?
-Tweet news reports?
-Publish a newsletter?
-Regularly air podcasts on YouTube?

Maybe

Times have changed.  We tend to think of a media outlet as something traditional:

-A radio news program or talk show
-A TV news program or talk show
-A daily newspaper
-A magazine published weekly or monthly

We also have expanded to online media, including:
-The dot com side of a traditional media outlet
-A high-traffic news site like the Huffington Post
-Influential blogs

But often it’s not the format that is important, but rather the size of the media outlet.  Further, is the outlet unbiased or fair?  Is it reporting news or merely issuing opinions about it? Does it interview experts, report on the news, and practice journalistic standards?

Maybe in today’s ideal world we each act as a news outlet, sharing with tribes of people, who share with their network of connections, who share with others, and so on and so on.

As the old-time media outlets die out, downsize, and dilute their influence, new media outlets rise up.  The world has increased its ability to communicate, even if it seems like it transmits less news.

Are you a media outlet?  What responsibility goes with that?  What are you obligated to do or say—or not do or say?  Can you be seen as a journalist—or are you really not one at all?

It’s hard to find useful, accurate, truthful, and comprehensive information from any one single source.  Due to a lack of training, standards, ethics, resources, and fairness, few can step up to the plate and even do a tenth of what The New York Times or Associated Press does.  Instead, we have a collection of individuals who editorialize the news, commenting only on what others report.  At best, they are giving analysis, but in reality, they are just sharing biased opinions on matters that require an educated journalist to delve into.

But when it comes to promoting your book, see everyone as a media outlet.  Your benchmark can be low.  You just need to reach a certain number of people who in turn can reach and influence a certain number of people.  We want to sell books, brand ourselves, and influence minds with our messages.  No media outlet is too small or too unprofessional to approach.

Because there is so much media out there (it seems like everyone is a blogger), we must work harder and smarter to gather up as many outlets as possible.  The one who gets his message heard by more people wins.

In the end, it doesn’t matter what we define a media outlet to be.  It doesn’t matter if your book is reviewed or you’re interviewed or you write a guest post or an op-ed.  It doesn’t matter if your message is heard, read, or viewed.  It doesn’t matter if it is consumed at home or on the road, day or night, through a device, a piece of paper, or in person.  All that counts is a simple formula:

How many people can you reach and how well did you influence them?

The media marketplace is no longer centralized, no longer restricted to a lively few.  But we didn’t get rid of the gatekeepers.  Every day we need to convince someone to share our message with others.  Maybe one day they’ll come to you, asking for coverage on your Facebook page or blog, for you are the media, too.

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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2013

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