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TODD SMITH — Local news vows to fight fake news


A large group of local media outlets is taking an aggressive stance against so-called fake news.

The Local Media Consortium (LMC), a partnership that includes dozens of newspapers and more than 1,600 media outlets, has released a “manifesto” deeming fake news as “digital propaganda” and pledged to educate readers in an effort to combat its spread.

Fake news stories crescendoed during the recent presidential election cycle, with one analysis indicating fake news stories spread more quickly on social media than real news.

“It is deeply concerning to see the sheer scope of digital misinformation propagating around the globe, but assuring to see our members and partners band together to address these concerns head-on,” said Christian Hendricks, a vice president with the McClatchy Co., and an LMC executive board member, as part of the group’s statement. .“We look forward to collaborating with the industry to implement measures that quash the spread of digital propaganda and protect the sustainability of local journalism – one of the principles on which the LMC was founded.”

Can the fake news trend be de-escalated?

Other LMC members include Boston Globe Media, Newsday, Tronc (owner of the Los Angeles Times) and Seattle Times. More than 75 local media companies in top markets across the U.S. and Puerto Rico belong to the consortium. Its audience has 155 million unique monthly visitors, the LMC says.

The spread of fake news lead the LMC to take action, not only to help prevent its spread, but also to tout local news’ veracity, said Rusty Coats, the group’s executive director. “We wanted to reinforce that news is local … and get the message out there’s a lot of ways to protect against fake news or digital propaganda or misinformation and one of the ways is to get to know the people covering your community.”

In addition to educational information about how to spot fake news online, the LMC’s members will work with its digital advertising partners such as Google, Yahoo and Monster.com to vet “dubious news sites,” and refuse “to do business with digital propaganda pushers,” the group says. The consortium will also develop its own content-sharing network of approved content and create a national monitoring system to alert member outlets about possible fake news content and sites.

“Everyone has some amount of culpability in this,” Coats said. “Advertisers sometimes don’t know where their ads are running. Readers sometimes are drawn into stuff they haven’t fully vetted … and publishers sometimes are caught off guard or will take syndicated information (through) a content network that is not verified or is even trustworthy.”

5 Steps to a Successful Social Influencer Marketing Campaign

Identify the Goal for Your Influencer Marketing Campaign

To build a successful influencer marketing program for your business, you’ll need to determine how the program fits into your overall goals. Every marketing channel plays a role in moving the needle for the business and your influencer marketing program should be no different.

Typically, businesses look to influencers to help create and promote brand content around an event or product launch. But these aren’t the only reasons why marketers leverage influencers.

Define Your Ideal Influencer Profile

Social media influencers are social media users who have an established credibility and audience. These are users who can persuade others by virtue of their trustworthiness and authenticity.

The number-one challenge that marketers cite when rolling out an influencer marketing program is identifying the right influencers to work with. There are many different types of users who have built large followings online.

Find Potential Influencers

Now that you know which types of influencers are a good fit for your brand, you’ll need to identify the influencers you want to partner with. If you aren’t using influencer marketing software, there are several ways to find influencers manually.

Do a Hashtag Search

The easiest way to find your brand influencers is to explore who’s already posting about your brand online. Conduct a simple hashtag search to see if you already have brand advocates in your midst. You can also look up relevant keywords in social media searches to find influencers who post about your industry or competitors.

There are many tools that can help you identify influencers across social media. When looking for influencer software, use your program’s objectives to guide your technology platform selection. The five key capabilities to look for in influencer marketing technology are the ability to discover, connect, engage, recruit/pay (influencers), and measure (success) via the platform.

Ask for Recommendations

Social influencers tend to know other influencers. Once you’ve identified influencers whom you enjoy working with, ask them to recommend others who are similar. Some social media networks, such as Instagram, will even give you recommendations of their own when you follow an influencer on the platform.

Reach Out to Influencers

Once you’ve identified a list of brand influencers you’d like to work with, build out these partnerships. To start these relationships off on the right foot, make sure you reach out directly, get to know them, and keep track of your goals.

Reach Out Directly

Businesses often rely on the agencies they work with to drive communication with influencers. However, 79% of social influencers prefer businesses to reach out to them directly. While it’s tempting to outsource your outreach to your agency, influencers are most responsive when they’re contacted by the business itself.

Get to Know Them

Brand influencer relationships should be mutually beneficial. Before reaching out, find out everything you can about your influencer. Going through this exercise will help you better align your brand with your influencer’s and will result in a win-win for both of you. A key part of the outreach process is proving to the influencer that your opportunity is relevant to their audience.

Measure Your Results

Once your influencer marketing campaign is up and running, you’ll want to assess whether your campaign has helped you meet your business goals. Think back to the KPIs that you defined in Step 1. Have you made progress on these metrics? What business insights have you learned?

If you’re using your influencer marketing program to promote content, for example, report on how much cheaper each influencer’s cost per engagement was compared to other marketing channels. If you’re using your influencer marketing program to expand brand reach, look into how many impressions you were able to generate with your influencers, and so forth.


Populist Mic | President Trump Vows To Return D.C. to the People

Through the pomp and circumstance of the inauguration and our country’s peaceful transition of power, President Trump promised to return the power to the people in a big way.

His speech was bombastic, blistering and totally Trump. It was a right hook to the face of the establishment. He boldly proclaimed that there was a new Sheriff in town and he wasn’t riding and elephant or donkey!  He struck a decidedly independent chord. In many surreal ways – perhaps not since the Reagan Revolution – took in the crowd, and the millions across the nation, and said it is your time.

It was an unmistakable indictment of everyone behind him on the stage – and the swamp around him teeming with Inside the Beltway gators that had gone untamed for far too long.

His prevailing message was one of hope and to make America great again. He didn’t back away from his campaign promises.

“From this day forward it’s going to be only America first – America first.” To American workers and families: “You will never be ignored again.”

And now the Trump administration begins, and the wild winds of change are swirling down Pennsylvania Avenue like never before. The Spin Cycle has never seen a political storm like this. Then again, we have never had such a president. We are definitely in the choppy, unchartered seas of populism. For remaining true to his pledge on the campaign trail at the sunrise of his presidency, President Trump takes the Golden Mic.

Each week, The Spin Cycle will bestow a Golden Mic Award to the person, group or company in the court of public opinion that best exemplifies the tenets of solid PR, marketing and advertising – and those who don’t. Stay tuned – and step-up to the mic! And remember … Amplify Your Brand!

Todd Smith is president and chief communications officer of Deane, Smith & Partners, a full-service branding, PR, marketing and advertising firm with offices in Jackson. The firm — based in Nashville, Tenn. — is also affiliated with Mad Genius. Contact him at todd@deanesmithpartners.com, and follow him @spinsurgeon.


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