Countering Fake News with Credible Experts: 5 trends you need to focus on to build trust with your content.
March 14, 2018 - by Peter Evans
With 2018 in full swing there’s no sign that the issue of fake news is going away. In fact, it continues to plague major social platforms such as Facebook as well as the traditional media players. This erosion of trust begs the question – how can we ensure the right experts on important topics are at the center of the conversation? If your organization has experts, there is a silver lining. There has never been a more important time for experts – the real ones – not the “fake it till you make it” collection of posers and promoters that have read a blog on personal branding. We’re talking about the people who have put in their 10,000 hours of researching, building and publishing. Presenting your top people in a more visible, engaging and approachable way presents huge opportunities for you to build trust and deepen relationships with a variety of audiences, including customers and partners – not just the media. However, to really capitalize, you have to look closely at how audiences interact with your expert content. Based on our work with thousands of experts and their organizations, we’ve prepared a list of key trends and predictions you need to watch if you’re a communications and digital media professional.
Trend 1: Organizations are measuring their “Internal Bench Strength”.
The power behind any organization is its people, but many organizations fall short in taking stock of their roster of experts who are capable of building voice and reputation with key audiences. Communicators are increasingly turning to internal pulse surveys and annual assessments that better identify competencies, professional interests and attitudes across the organization. Smart organizations are using surveys to create an efficient roster of internal experts and match them to the news cycle. Identifying a “core group” of go-to experts who will best benefit from programs such as media training and carefully mapping key topics to experts will ensure the organization is aligned to support communications objectives – both for proactive story development and responding quickly to breaking news opportunities.
Trend 2: Organizations are starting to function more like newsrooms.
As newsrooms in the print and broadcast world continue to be streamlined and downsized, organizations can play a key role in helping journalists by making relevant content and credible sources more accessible. Incorporating better search features that allow journalists to quickly find experts using simple keyword searches is an important starting point. Showcasing experts in the context of key news events in a content hub with interesting story angles are increasing in popularity
Trend 3: Next generation newsroom platforms will change how media find expert sources.
Journalists have a challenging role today amidst a backdrop of fake news and increasing cynicism about the credibility and sources of information. They still have the same day deadlines, but with an increased responsibility to get the story right, so reliable sources are critical to their success. So it’s not surprising that journalists, television bookers and producers are gravitating to solutions that make it easier for them to discover, evaluate and connect with expert sources. We recently integrated our ExpertFile global directory into the Associated Press newsroom software which is used by thousands of print, broadcast and digital newsrooms around the world. The AP, as the world’s leading news organization, recognizes the pressures that publishers and broadcasters are under. They are committed to technology advances that help news organizations. Few journalists have the time to rummage around in poorly designed corporate websites and university faculty directories looking for the best expert. And if you think it’s just junior reporters using these online tools think again. We’re seeing seasoned journalists from top media outlets including The New York Times, CNN, Time Magazine, NBC, The Washington Post, the BBC, NPR Radio and the CBC making regular use of the ExpertFile platform. The bottom line: If you aren’t thinking about broader distribution of your expert content beyond your website you are missing out.
Trend 4: New search technologies are helping organizations cut through the content clutter.
Searching for the right person based on attributes such as key topics, publications, or geography inside an organization remains a challenge – even for those organizations that have invested heavily in content management solutions and intranet platforms. The organic and onsite search user experience has become a top issue for marketing and IT teams. Audiences who have been spoiled by “Google-like simplicity” expect to find relevant information, or they’re gone within seconds. That’s why many organizations are investing in new search technologies powered by machine learning to provide faster discovery and connections with their subject-matter experts. Last year we built Elasticsearch features right into our platform to save our clients the time and money of doing this for themselves. Search remains one of the biggest opportunities to quickly drive more market attention and audience engagement, as well as to improve internal collaboration between experts.
Trend 5: Video will continue to outperform all other forms of content.
There’s nothing quite like video to drive the value of owned content. But remember that video is becoming essential to boosting earned media. We’re continually impressed by the new research that continues to emerge on the power of video content. Last fall, LinkedIn reported audience engagement numbers for its new video feed feature that showed 20 times more engagement for video vs. all other forms of content on its platform. As more audiences demand video content, so does the demand in television newsrooms for broadcast-ready experts. That’s why we also partnered with Dejero to help broadcasters who use their platform to search for experts suitable for interviews. If you are looking to get more television coverage, then you have to invest some of your budget on video to showcase your experts. We predict that the most successful organizations will adopt a video-centric approach to storytelling, creating snackable multimedia content that connects with a range of audiences. Many marketers are overthinking video as something requiring a massive production with a big annual shoot”. That doesn’t work for audiences such as journalists who are feeding a real-time news cycle. Our simple advice – look carefully at your video strategy and identify opportunities to use video across your digital properties in areas such as your homepage, media room and even landing pages.
We’re interested to hear how your organization is capitalizing on these trends to better promote your experts to key audiences. For more information on how ExpertFile can help your organization incorporate the latest software and services innovations into your thought leadership and expert marketing strategies please drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.