Journalists, prospects and customers are turning to your brand’s online newsrooms and following social media channels in order to stay current on the latest company news. Nearly all journalists consider a company’s online newsroom to be important, according to a 2014 TekGroup survey. More importantly, journalists are visiting online brand newsrooms with increasing frequency.
More than half of the journalists surveyed visit an online brand newsroom at least once a week, with 25.2% of them visiting newsrooms daily. And lest you think online brand newsrooms appeal only to traditional journalists, they are also being accessed by bloggers, tweeters, customers, potential investors, anyone who is interested in your company.
The market is dictating companies integrate an online newsroom into their digital strategy. The essential newsroom is not only full of timely and relevant content, it is the key to social PR. It is a one-stop-shop for company news, executive bios and social media environments. They allow a company’s public relations, marketing and communications staff to become de facto publishers, much like the journalists they are pitching.
MyNewsDesk, an online brand newsroom and multimedia PR platform used by brands such as Volkswagen and Canon, offers these tips to building a successful newsroom in their latest white paper.
Know Your Brand’s Audience
In order for a brand newsroom to succeed, it is best not to just throw content on the web without a thorough understanding of your company’s audience. As we mentioned, some online newsrooms appeal to multiple audiences, including but not limited to the media. Sometimes potential customers or even employees might be reading your latest press release. It is imperative you label that audience and understand their attributes and preferences. You must ask yourself if the content you are producing appeals to them.
Provide News They Can Use
The problem with content marketing is that it lends to brands promoting themselves, which is usually the last thing journalists and consumers want to hear. When a brand becomes their own journalist, they sometimes fail to realize their company business doesn’t always connect with reporters, who are always under deadline, all the while being inundated with PR pitches and news that don’t serve their audience.
A better approach is to connect your brand with issues or timely news stories that relate to your brand, and produce content that connects your brand to those issues. Journalists are more likely to respond to the ‘soft sell’, says Moneysupermaket.com editor-in-chief Clare Francis. Sites such as American Express’s Open Forum also curate other relevant content which helps them cover additional ground beyond what they produce in-house.
Virality Isn’t All It’s Cracked Up to Be
Every company loves to see one of their Tweets or YouTube videos go viral but Tony Hallett, managing director of Collective Content, explains that virality isn’t always the end game. Brands should be more concerned with reaching the right people rather than a mass audience.
Find an Authentic Tone
Glossy brochures and high-definition photos of your products won’t cut it in today’s online newsroom, according to Stephen Waddington, digital and social media director for Ketchum. This particularly holds true when your newsroom content is shared across social media and other digital channels. For content to resonate, it needs ‘emotional insight’ and should include stories that work on a more personal level.
Building an Online Newsroom Needs a Team Approach
Now the size of your team will depend on two factors; how much content you intend to produce and your newsroom’s goals. Regardless, it’s best to draw on a team of writers, web producers, designers, video producers, anyone who can help you produce quality content. Even if you’re a small or medium company with a smaller budget, try to hire people with versatile skill sets.
Editorial Calendar? Yes, But Prepare to Go with the News Flow
MyNewsDesk suggests employing diaried stories, a familiar concept to most marketing and public relations professionals, ahead of major deadlines or trends. But, at the same time, it is imperative that your company is prepared when news breaks, otherwise it is forced to go into crisis mode, throwing your campaign approach out the window and reacting quickly.
A great example cited in their white paper is Oreo’s social media team garnering immense publicity during the 2013 Super Bowl blackout, simply by tweeting: “Power Out? No problem,” and adding a dimly lit picture of one cookie with the simple caption, “You can still dunk in the dark.” That one post, featured below, garnered more than 15,000 retweets and numerous media stories.
Have a Workable Sign-Off Process In Place
In order to monopolize on key moments as Oreo did, it is important to have a defined sign-off process in place to make sure key personnel are on the same page when it’s time to move quickly. In today’s 24-hour news and social media landscape, traditional deadlines no longer exist, so it is important to have your newsroom and social media policies clearly defined so your content can move quickly and with a consistent voice. As Waddington notes, “You can’t have every piece pulled apart by committee, it slows things down, gets messy and expensive.” He also believes you should have a clear idea of what brands should be off-limits.
Brand Journalism Has to Be Interesting
Will Sturgeon of GolinHarris stresses that irrespective of your audience, your brand content has to be as interesting as all of the other content that might be out there. The solution is to give them what they want. Think beyond the traditional press release and seek out high-quality content that can be shared by brand loyalists or someone who has never heard of your brand.
After reading this can you say that you are loving your brand’s online newsroom? It might be time to reevaluate the relationship.
Read the rest of MyNewsDesk’s whitepaper for case studies and their 8 steps to newsroom success.
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