Behind the Headlines: Tapping into the Non-Traditional

Within minutes of the first reports that a Malaysia Airlines plane had crashed over eastern Ukraine, one media outlet had live coverage up and running. You’re thinking it was CNN, ABC or even FOX, right? Surprisingly, it was not a major news outlet. And, in fact, the outlet rarely covers general news. Who am I talking about? Mashable

Yes, the site that has become synonymous with social media and tech coverage was covering this breaking news story in real time – complete with videos from the scene and carefully sourced information culled from social media and other outlets. Its own social accounts, including its meant-for-breaking-news @MashableLive, were busy pushing out information.

While Mashable still maintains its traditional coverage areas, it’s expanding into general news and experimenting with how stories are presented. Traditional 1,200-word articles are welcome, but if a story can be better told in a series of Vines with captions, then they will go with that. Or if it’s just a video they want to highlight, they’ll do that. Mashable cannot compete with major global news outlets on every story, nor do they want to. Instead, Mashable is focusing on a wide array of topics its audience cares about and is discussing online.

As communications professionals, we need to do the same. Many brands may want to be on the Today Show, or some other hot program of the moment, yet their audience may not be watching those shows. Rather, they may be getting their news from outlets such as Vox, Quartz, Buzzfeed or good-old Facebook. Technology, along with social and digital media, has changed when how and where consumers get the information that is important to them. While traditional media still holds tremendous value, it’s important to think about the non-traditional ways and places to reach your audience and engage with them.