How Facebook’s News Ban Is An Opportunity To Diversify Communications

How Facebook’s News Ban Is An Opportunity To Diversify Communications
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In this guest post, Clarissa Harris (main photo), managing director at True Tribe argues that if anything good is to come out of this whole Facebook debacle it might be that publishers and agencies look at their comms as a whole…

Following Facebook’s bold move to ban news from Australian publishers on its platform, there’s been a lot of focus on the negative effects of the News Media Bargaining Code. For many publishers, particularly niche independent outlets, and some small businesses including charities and emergency services, Facebook traffic accounts for a good chunk of their audience, extending beyond regular readership. It’s rotten timing, irresponsible and quite frankly unfair.

I get it, it sucks. But I’m also a big believer that in every crisis there’s an opportunity. So, while we wait for the Australian government and Facebook to reach an agreement, let’s also look at this as an opportunity to diversify your communications. Don’t focus all your energy on one stream. Integrate your approach and build audiences in many places. If 2020 taught us anything – let’s keep proactive.

If you’re a publisher or small business that previously used Facebook as a vital channel to disseminate your news, then I encourage you, if you haven’t already, to relook your communications and open yourself up to new opportunities. Here are four quick ways to help diversify your communications.

Grow your email list

As all digital marketers know, email is gold. It’s free, direct access to your audience. No need for funnels, sponsorship, ads, nada. If you haven’t already, set yourself up on an eDM platform (Mailchimp or Campaign Monitor are great for beginners) install a lead magnet to encourage users to sign-up to your newsletter, and disseminate important information in one neat and tidy daily email.

Educate your readers

Roughly 39% of Australians use Facebook to get news, according to a 2020 report by the News and Media Research Centre at the University of Canberra in Australia. While Facebook claims that news makes up less than 4% of the content people see in their News Feed, there will be quite a few missing it from their feeds. So get vocal, install a clear pop-up on your website outlining exactly how you are affected and how readers can reach you.

Go where your audience is

If Facebook has been your ride or die, it’s time to show some TLC to some of the other up-and-comers making it to the scene. Professional-networking apps like LinkedIn and Clubhouse are booming among newshunters for a reason. People want authentic, important journalism straight from the source. While still in their infancy when compared to social media giant Facebook, audiences are highly engaged and organic engagement is plentiful.

Expand your reach with the help of your team

Encourage your journalists or freelancers to relay their take by setting up their own independent platforms like podcasts, social media profiles and websites. This does two things. Gives a more personalised view on

topics but on the flip also reminds us that behind every piece there is a human. It provides a second channel for audiences outside of your subscription base to reach your article online.

As consumers, we can also use this opportunity to revisit how we get our information. Here are some ways you can support diversity in Australian media landscape and journalism that matters.

• If you haven’t already subscribe to an ongoing membership • Sign up to the outlet’s e-newsletter
• Add the outlet’s link to your bookmarks
• Get syndicated news on your smartphone
• Follow outlets and journalists on other social media channels
• Share important articles in your network via Messenger and WhatsApp
• Keep the conversation going. Use your voice to call on the government to take action.

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