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TODD SMITH — Threat of fake news strengthens trust in traditional media


The rise in “fake news” has strengthened trust in traditional media, according to a recent survey of journalists worldwide.

More than half of those surveyed (52 percent) find traditional media to be the most trusted news sources, followed by company websites and news releases (22 percent), according to the Ogilvy Media Influence’s annual global survey of 250-plus reporters and producers across North American, Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific.

Broken down by geography, in North America: traditional media, 59 percent; company websites and news releases, 15 percent; in EMEA: traditional media, 47 percent; company websites and news releases, 22 percent; and in Asia Pacific: Traditional media, 50 percent; company websites and news releases, 29 percent.

The study also found the political climate has transformed the way journalists report stories in the past 12 months. In North America, 54 percent of journalists have altered their reporting methods; in EMEA, 41 percent of journalists have changed their reporting based on the political climate; and in Asia Pacific, 34 percent have adjusted their practices.

Globally, journalists believe social media (25 percent), polarized media coverage (14 percent), and confirmation bias (14 percent) has contributed the most to the rise of fake news. Journalists in EMEA (14 percent) and Asia Pacific (17 percent) also believe money is a contributing factor to its rise.

In North America, blame for advancing the phenomenon of fake news was pinned on social media by 24 percent, polarized media coverage by 17 percent, and confirmation bias by 14 percent of those surveyed. In EMEA, reporters believe fake news is amplified by social media (24 percent), polarized media coverage (16 percent), and money (14 percent); and in Asia Pacific, reporters attribute the rise of fake news to social media (26 percent), confirmation bias (17 percent), and money (17 percent).

To combat fake news globally, reporters said better reporting (41 percent) is necessary, along with collaborations with social media platforms (24 percent) to verify the news.

In North America, 35 percent said better reporting and 27 percent said social media platform collaborations are the best response to fake news. In addition, 16 percent of reporters believe that other practices, such as proper fact checking, credible sources, and transparency, can fight it.

Meanwhile, 43 percent of EMEA journalists said that better reporting is required, followed by 19 percent who said collaborations with social media platforms is needed. In addition, 17 percent believe that marketing campaigns should be launched to promote good reporting practices. And in Asia Pacific, 43 percent think that better reporting practices are needed in the era of fake news, and 27 percent of reporters support collaborations with social media platforms.

New analysis shows how to maximize LinkedIn Marketing

It’s well documented  that visual content performs best on social media platforms. But there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to the types of content your audience prefers, and not a single answer, according to Social Media Examiner.

BuzzSumo analyzed 228,000 LinkedIn articles and 136,000 shared articles from other websites that were posted between 2012 and 2017. Data showed that in 2014, users posted approximately 1,000 natively published articles (blog-length content) per month. In 2015, that number skyrocketed to 80,000, and 2016 saw 130,000 articles posted each month.

In addition to the immersive year-over-year growth of the number of articles published, BuzzSumo learned that the most shared pieces of content were long-form articles of 1,000 to 3,000 words, even though most posts were fewer than 1,000 words. Out of the 80,884 posts they studied, only 13,886 (17 percent) were 1,000 words or more.

BuzzSumo also discovered the subject matter of the best-performing articles centered around a set of specialized “5Ps”: personal, professional, practical, portraying (a path for change), and point (towards past experiences). In fact, LinkedIn was the primary platform for these topics.

LinkedIn announced last quarter that they reached 500 million members worldwide. (Facebook has 2 billion.)

While LinkedIn doesn’t release the number of users with specific account types (e.g., recruiter, job seeker), a search for the terms “recruiter,” “recruiting,” “recruitment,” “sourcer,” “sourcing,” “talent,” “executive search,” and “staffing” produced more than 9.9 million results, which is 2 percent of the total number of accounts.

There were 3.98 million users using those search terms in their profiles in the U.S. alone. So out of the 138 million total U.S. account holders, 7 percent utilized those recruitment-related terms. Furthermore, LinkedIn boasts over 10 million job listings.

LinkedIn makes their money through talent solutions, marketing solutions, and premium subscriptions. Their Q3 2016 earnings report states that talent solutions are responsible for nearly $623 million of the total $960 million in revenue (or about 65 percent). Marketing solutions account for a little over $175 million (18 percent) and premium subscriptions brought in nearly $162 million (17 percent).

Because talent solutions make up more than two-thirds of their revenue, LinkedIn will probably put most of their focus on cultivating that portion of the business. What this could mean for marketers is that LinkedIn likely won’t put much money toward research and development of marketing and advertising platforms as robust as those found on other social networks.

While advertisers won’t be completely ignored, there could be limitations in what products and services they can choose from. And if they’re finding the available options aren’t working, they’ll essentially have no choice but to put their time and money elsewhere (eventually).

Our 2017 Social Media Marketing Industry Report found that of the more than 5,700 marketers surveyed, 56 percent utilize LinkedIn as part of their social media marketing strategy, down from 67 percent in 2016. As expected, LinkedIn use is still heavily skewed toward B2B, with 81 percent of B2B marketers and 44 percent of B2C marketers reporting they use it.

It’s interesting to note that social media marketers don’t seem to be loyal to any one social network when Facebook (62 percent) is taken out of the equation. In fact, only 16 percent of marketers who use LinkedIn say it’s their most important platform, while Twitter comes in at 9 percent and Instagram at 7 percent.

However, because Facebook can never be taken out of the equation, it’s still huge competition for LinkedIn, even in the B2B market. In fact, for the first time in the history of our study, Facebook (37 percent to 43 percent) has surpassed LinkedIn (40 percent to 37 percent) as the platform of choice for B2B marketers.

Silenced Mic: Tragedy strikes country music w/deaths of Troy Gentry, Don Williams on same day

Last Friday, country music stopped in a tragic twist of fate that took two of its icons – Troy Gentry and Don Williams.

Gentry, 50, of country band Montgomery Gentry was killed in a helicopter crash before a show in New Jersey. To make the story even more painful, band mate Eddie Montgomery was at the airport, waiting for Gentry to arrive when the crash happened.

Not long before, we learned that Country Music Hall of Famer Don Williams, 78, died after a short illness.

With his honey smooth vocals, mutton chops, soiled gray cowboy hat and soft-spoken nature, Williams was the “Gentle Giant” of country music. He ruled the airwaves in the 1970s and ‘80s, releasing 16 No. 1 songs between 1974 and 1985.

Both singers were from different generations.

Over the course of his solo career, Williams recorded numerous classics, including “Good Ole Boys Like Me,” “Tulsa Time,” “I Believe in You,” “Lord, I Hope This Day is Good” and “It Must Be Love.”

The Montgomery Gentry duo hails from Kentucky, and plays a style of rowdy country and Southern rock.

Somewhere, just beyond the Pearly Gates, there’s a Heavenly hoedown happening, with country rock tunes mixing with classic ballads – and lifting the wings of angels!

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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