New Research Experiment: Have Big News Media Brands Lost Their Influence?

With people consuming information like never before, this should be a golden age for the large national news media brands.

Yet, given the easy spread of fake news, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the results of a new research experiment confirm that news consumers are not so discerning about who created the information they trust.

The experiment — which was conducted by the Media Insight Project — an initiative of the American Press Institute and the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research — shows that trust in content is driven more by who shares an article than by what outlet created it. The brand of the original news media organization that created the content was a secondary consideration for participants in determining how much they valued the information.

Clearly, there is a lot of work to do to address the problem of media literacy and to sensitize people to why it is important.

Credibility + Amplification = Impact

This dynamic has significant implications for professionals who want to engage in content marketing. Having ideas, publishing regularly, and offering thoughtful, value added content is not enough. To make an impact, content producers must be amplified by other people.

Traditionally, professionals might have seen a boost from getting a mention in an article in a publication like Wall Street Journal. That can still help, but now, even more important is to have your content passed along by someone with a large social media following.

So what can professionals do to help their content publishing gain momentum? If you’ve already got a solid pipeline of ideas and a good flow of content to fuel your marketing effort, be sure to add some basics of influencer outreach into your plan.

Influencer campaign techniques have grown in sophistication over recent years and now often involve paid relationships. However, here are some starter steps to consider:

— Know who people in your target audience consider to be influencers on the topics similar to your expertise

— Follow and interact with the top influencers yourself by liking, sharing and thoughtfully commenting on their posts

— Network your way to an introduction with a few of the influencers. (This approach obviously works better with other professionals of your stature than with celebrity influencers.)

— Send your content directly to some of the influencers you connect with to ask for their feedback and for them to share with their networks

— Actually ask people in your network to share your content. If they find it valuable and they like you, they won’t mind

Without amplification, you’ll be talking to yourself. So, it is worth it to make an effort to engage influencers in your sphere once you’ve got you a solid, sustainable foundation of content creation set.