Usually when people say “the more the merrier”, it’s in a figurative way. Imagine trying to clean your room with 50 people trying to help. Trying to explain what to do and what goes where to everyone can become more of a headache than a help, if you ask me. Many hands make light work, but too many hands can just be too many. So is it true? Can you really have too much of a good thing? When it comes to the number of people in a journalist’s audience, I doubt it. The more people a journalist can reach, the more popular they (and their news organization) becomes. When you have a job that thrives off of public attention, trust, you want the crowd!
So how exactly do you get “the crowd?” It’s quite simple, honestly, just be HUMAN. Literally. That excessively fancy writing with SAT words that the average person doesn’t understand is a recipe for disaster when you want to get your writing poppin’ in the public. You have to humanize your writing. Talk to the people. Have a conversation with them. Tell them what you want them to know. Sweet and SIMPLE. Technology has allowed us to reach so many more people than ever before, so it’s time to switch up the pace.
Mark Briggs talks about the power of crowdsourcing in Chapter 3 of Journalism Next. What’s crowdsourcing? In a nutshell, it means you need to USE your crowd as the source of your future successes. At least that’s what it means to me. You need to know what the people like and dislike to improve your reporting and publishing. Utilizing social media effectively is a major key in having leverage with your crowd.
Misty Montano, content manager at KUSA-TV in Denver, has the formula down pact. KUSA-TV’s 9news.com site is an industry leader, and it’s clear why. Misty says she listens to comments on their social platforms, eavesdrops on the competition, and responds to her audience! Your people need to feel your presence. Talk to them!
“Hey @blahblah! Thanks for the feedback. We agree that would be an awesome idea!”
“Hey @blahblahblah! Do you think the reason that is happening is because of this?”
Talk to your audience as you would if they were standing right in front of you. Misty also mentioned the use of hashtags so users can be a part of their ongoing conversation. Brilliant.
Using your crowd effectively, draws a bigger one. Mandy Jenkins, who has held community management and social media positions at several news organizations, says follow these “rules of engagement” and you’ll be on a higher road to journalistic success. She says to:
- Answer all questions.
- Address criticism (without spats).
- Publicly or privately respond.
- Share good responses.
- Publicly correct yourself.
- Always acknowledge news tips.
Following these tips for engagement and crowd management will help so much in the long run. I see such a difference in how my writing has effected people ever since I’ve humanized my work. So the next time you write for your audience, take a sec to ask yourself, are you human?