Put celebrity power to work by getting them to talk

By Steve Outing

Does your news organization have some celebrities on staff? Perhaps a star columnist, a sports reporter who’s well known, celebrity stringers (athletes, politicians), etc. Maybe the editor or publisher is a “star” in the community.

Today’s tip will put those people in what may be an uncomfortable position: Have them dive in to discussion areas and article comment threads on your website. Get them to engage directly with the online audience — regularly. They should answer questions; express opinions alongside users … just “mix it up” and start talking.

For news organizations to succeed in the Internet era, I believe that they need to become less “corporate.” They need to let more personality show. And that means getting their people to engage with the audience.

Because many news companies either have “celebrities” on staff or have relationships with external celebrities, they are in a position to break the old molds and get those people to reach out.

There’s long been the sense with celebrities and corporate executives that they are “untouchable.” So when those people start engaging directly with website users, good feelings abound. This is a great way to build a stronger bond between website users and your organization.

News companies that continue to keep distance between journalists and the public are stuck in the previous century. The Internet is the great enabler when it comes to interaction. You have to understand that and act on it in order to stay relevant.

Author: Steve Outing Steve Outing is a Boulder, Colorado-based media futurist, digital-news innovator, consultant, journalist, and educator. ... Need assistance with media-company future strategy? Get in touch with Steve!