Here is the news - YOU need to make it!
For decades, organisations relied on third-parties such as newspapers, radio stations, magazines and television to promote the content they were creating. This was either done through advertising campaigns or public relations.
Now, with the advent of digital technology, it is possible for ordinary people to become their own editors, publishers and even live broadcasters. In fact, many bloggers, vloggers and Instagrammers now derive an income from doing this.
The same goes for companies. Instead of relying solely on traditional marketing and PR - which by the way still have an important role to play - they can become their own media outlets using Facebook Pages, Facebook Live, Twitter, Periscope, LinkedIn Company Pages, YouTube, Instagram Live and Pinterest.
On paper, this sounds very exciting and offers up a wealth of opportunities for all sorts of organisations. But - and this is quite a big but - in order to become successful, they need to start thinking and acting like a real-life newspaper or TV station.
With this in mind, it may be worth understanding how traditional outlets get their news:
Harking back to my days on the Reading Chronicle, when we were still using manual typewriters and hot metal presses, I have created an idealised version of a newspaper and how this set-up compares to an idealised set-up within a modern, digital business.
At the top of the pyramid at the paper (or indeed broadcaster) is the Editor. His or her job is not generally to write stories or put together the paper. They are there to ensure that the finished product meets the required standards laid down by the proprietor, its content is of a sufficiently high standard to keep readers interested and that the editorial ‘line’ dictated by the Board is adhered to.
The same should be true within a company. Here, the Marketing Director takes on the ‘editor’ role. Their job is actually very similar – (1) ensure marketing channels are in line with business objectives (2) that content is of a sufficiently high standard to keep your target audiences interested and (3) ensure you maintain company guidelines and tone of voice.
In our fictionalised paper, the editor is assisted by three people – the news editor, sub editor and features editor. Their jobs are (in the order as above) to collate the news, package the news into digestible articles and also to build a library of non-time sensitive features stories.
We have a similar scenario within our organisation. Depending on the size of the company, you may have a community manager, PR manager and marketing manager fulfilling similar roles. Or in SMEs, you may have someone who combines all three.
In both the newspaper though and the company, it is the news editor or ‘information curator/collator’ who has the most important job, as they gather in the necessary content. There are three separate sources of this content – internal, external and reader/user generated. This is as true for newspapers as it is for companies.
In a traditional publication, a news editor will source many of the stories internally, from its own reporters. Here’s the clever bit. Within your organisation, treat your own members of staff as de facto ‘reporters’. Even if only a small proportion of your colleagues actually wish to engage and come up with ideas, you will still greatly increase your content reservoir. The more ‘social’ your business, the more likely it is that people will want to take on this extra role.
The second source in newspapers is content created by readers. We’re frequently asked to comment, send through images or write in. Again, the same is true within companies. The more you can get your customers to engage with you and create their own content, the easier it will be to fill your channels with interesting, relevant information.
The final source is external. These days, most newspaper would not be able to function without relying on freelance journalists, PR agencies, other papers and of course social media. With fewer and fewer reporters 'on staff', news editors have to cast their net wide to keep the pages filled with stories.
Inside most companies, you have a parallel scenario. Hard-worked, under-pressure marketing managers can’t be expected to fill the online channels single-handedly. So, along with enlisting help from their colleagues, they too turn to a variety of outside sources – social media, traditional media, the web, other companies and suppliers – to keep their pipeline of content flowing steadily.
So how is your organisation structured? Do you operate more like a newspaper or are you more akin to a one-man self-publisher struggling to keep your website, blog and social networks filled with the necessary quality of content to make them work for you?
If you are interested in finding out how you could create a de facto newsroom within your company then contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 07715 485728.