Success factors in Web 2.0 – News & Social Media PR
More eyes than ever on us and yet less attention – The paradox of Web 2.0
Every person can generate publicity. And so can any company. Nevertheless, or precisely because of this, it is a great challenge to actually hold the attention.
The news value theory
Different rules apply to PR in social networks than in traditional public relations: On the web, it is no longer (only) journalists as the traditional “gatekeepers” who decide whether a message is successfully disseminated – but the readers themselves.
As part of my bachelor’s thesis in the “Media and Communication” program at the University of Passau, I looked into the question of what criteria they use to make their judgments. The thesis: The news value theory according to Johan Galtung and Mari Holmboe Ruge can also be applied to the reception of PR messages in social media. This theory has been confirmed many times for journalism, both in communication science and in practice, and states that a message must have certain characteristics – so-called news values or factors – in order to be included by editors in reporting.
The newsworthiness on social media
The aim was to check whether the same criteria also influence how a Facebook post is perceived in the social networks, for example. To this end, a quantitative online survey was conducted among Facebook users.
The result: Yes, such an influence does indeed seem to exist. If a Facebook post contained a certain news value, it was rated more positively by the majority of respondents in most cases than if this was not the case. Consequently, it is very likely that news factors can also be considered selection criteria by social media users. However, some factors seem to play a greater role here than others: Judging from the respondents’ answers, the criteria of unambiguity, consonance, surprise, consternation and personalization play a particularly important role in the positive perception of a Facebook post.
Being heard on social media
This means that a message that is disseminated via social networks is very likely to be well received by the target group if it is
- is clearly formulated and immediately understandable (unambiguity)
- its content matches the Facebook user’s own opinion (consonance)
- surprises the user (surprise)
- revolves around a person who is known to the user or who offers the user a means of identification (personalization)
- is personally relevant to the user (concern)
Certainly, message values are only one criterion among many that should be considered when designing successful social media campaigns. Nevertheless, the results show that although Web 2.0 has given rise to a host of new frameworks and communication channels that place specific demands on PR, it is still the case that social media is the most important medium for PR. Ultimately, however, there is still only one thing that matters: Good content.