Well, How Do Influencers Form an Opinion?

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Those with the most influence are by default busy people.  Take a journalist who is constantly on deadline, forced to cover a breaking event.  While there is much broken with breaking news, what has caused the most issues is those covering it have little knowledge of why it is happening.

Forced to become daily experts, they have little institutional knowledge and pride themselves on their ability to harness resources to develop and report an informed opinion in a short amount of time.

Research is paramount to a reporter. Journalists have abandoned corporate sources in favor of consumers, academics and industry (more so than financial) analysts and hold their opinions in high regard.

In fact, the media currently view academics as the most credible and influential sources for their stories — 40 percent indicate that academics are very likely to shape their views of an issue and 80 percent cite information from academics in their routine reporting. Readers, too, wield significant amounts of influence with reporters: 85 percent of media indicate that consumers and readers are very likely to somewhat likely to influence their perceptions.[2]

The media distrust any research that you provide them with and look for competing sources to ‘verify’ or dispute the information they are given.  Each media outlet has its own standard, trusted resources for information. Typically, these consist of industry analysts, Wall Street analysts (buy and sell side), academics and self-service research (Google, Nexis, etc.)

Social media and Web 2.0 added another layer of complexity for marketers. Most journalists are influenced by who they follow on Twitter and the interactions they have with those following them.  Because most journalists and influencers do not follow nearly as many as those that follow them, they have purposely limited who and where they get their daily information.  To compound the problem the majority of what and who they follow are within their own news organizations.

This narrowcasting of information leads to less original content ideas and more regurgitation. As an example a recent media study stated that ten companies dominated nearly 50% of all the media’s coverage of the technology sector.

The journalist example applies to other time starved, insulated influencers as well.  To gain their attention you must VVIE for it (explanation in next post.)

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