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Top Takeaways from Milwaukee’s Digital News Experts

As we head into 2020 and reflect on the last decade, we know much has changed in the communications world. Perhaps the greatest change is how people get their news. As consumers increasingly rely on digital platforms, it’s important to understand how the trend is impacting newsrooms in Wisconsin. That’s why we closed out 2019 by sitting down with digital news experts from leading local outlets to learn more about how they determine what makes the news, how that news is shared digitally and how to maximize the impact of a news pitch in an increasingly digital world.


The top takeaway from our conversations with digital professionals from the Milwaukee Business Journal, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, OnMilwaukee and Urban Milwaukee is that metrics matter. Outlets are tracking clicks, views, likes and shares and responding accordingly in terms of both what news they cover and how they cover it. We’ve always known the strongest media pitch appeals to each publication’s readership in a targeted, localized way that answers the question “why should I care?,” but now, it’s more important than ever as reporters, editors and everyone else in the newsroom can see in real time just how engaging a given story is.


A few other key takeaways included:

  1. Cultivate Relationships: The human element still exists at local outlets – not everything is an algorithm. For the most part, real people are still deciding what goes where on the homepage of your local news outlets, constantly making judgements about what news matters most to readers.

  2. Picture Perfect: Great photos lead to great engagement. Carefully consider what photos you can provide or can arrange for the media to help tell your story.

  3. Timing Matters: eNewsletters are often a major driver of traffic for local news outlets. To maximize attention for your story, make sure to time your news right to make it in.

  4. Sponsored Content – More Common, Less Impact: Increasingly, outlets are turning to paid or sponsored content to drive additional revenue. Most outlets take care to carefully distinguish this from editorial content and most say the traffic is much less than for editorial stories.


What will the next decade bring to the communications profession? We don’t have a crystal ball, but if we had to guess, we’d say that organizations will find the most success telling their stories through the right balance of paid, earned, social and owned content to get the right message in front of the right people at the right time. That’s what we have the pleasure of doing for our clients every day. If you want to learn more about how, give us a call.