Two veterans of the broadcast media industry discuss the goals of corporate newsrooms and how brands can succeed in providing informative content.
As brands increase their content marketing efforts, many are trying to figure out how best to create informative content about their respective industries.
Why are brands becoming publishers?
Eric: Everybody’s trying to grow their audiences, whether they are a traditional media outlet such as a newspaper or TV station, or a corporation looking to expand its message. This is no small task given the increasing amount of content and advertisements we see, making it harder to stand out from the crowd.
The key to remember when creating content is producing high-quality information that actually informs readers or viewers of something they didn’t know previously. By helping prospective and current customers with questions they ask regularly, you’re more likely to develop lasting relationships with them.
Quality over quantity. Got it. How can they generate content ideas?
Eric: Every employee in every company has a story to tell. Work with your coworkers to determine whether the tricks they’ve learned in their careers can be helpful for your customers. Ask them to be your eyes and ears for what’s happening in the industry – if they hear something interesting, they may want to write about it.
If you’re lucky enough to reach the point of having more ideas than your team can cover, consider hiring freelancers to fill the gaps. Just make sure they are on the same page regarding messaging – the same goes for your coworkers.
What are some promotion strategies for companies to broaden their reach?
David: To grow and build, newsrooms should consider experimenting with multiple formats and additional platforms. Think about the multiple ways to tell a story – video, photos, text, infographics, even audio.
Visuals not only allow you to play to the strengths of certain social media networks – video on YouTube and photos on Instagram, for example – they also increase the size of posts on Facebook and Twitter, increasing the likelihood of followers seeing and sharing them.
Hundreds of millions of people use social media, looking for content to engage with each day. If you don’t have the resources to advertise through television, radio or out-of-home, make sure to go to the platforms your customers already use.
You’ve mentioned getting content ideas from coworkers, managing freelancers and leveraging social media. Is there a way to stay organized?
David: Going back to my days in the newsroom, we had a single content management system that allowed writers, editors and producers to message each other – bypassing email – and see live updates to stories.
Try and stick to as few tools as possible. The more you have, the more likely stakeholder feedback on stories is likely to slip through the cracks.
A lot of communications professionals are already using many applications, such as Google Chrome and Docs for research, Microsoft Outlook and Word for drafts and edits, and Wordpress or another CMS for publishing. How can they consolidate these programs?
David: The all-in-one software we used in the newsroom was AP ENPS. We were hardly alone – more than 64,000 staffers from 900 newsrooms around the world now use it to monitor social media, create and organize their content and publish to digital platforms.
But as we mentioned earlier, we’re seeing the goals of traditional and corporate newsrooms converging. Everyone is looking to build audiences with informative, thoughtful content.
Now that we work for AP ENPS, we’ve talked with marketers and public relations professionals and added features that allow anyone – no matter where they are in the world – to edit, publish and tweet stories (as long as they have the right permissions).
Everything from content ideation to publication can be done within a single screen.
Where do you see content marketing heading in the future?
Eric: I think we’ll continue to see journalists leaving the media industry to tell stories for companies. My advice for brands would be to listen to these reporters – not only to their content ideas but also how they managed deadlines every day.
Becoming a publisher is no small feat. Traditional media organizations built their audiences over time, and while larger companies may already have a following through social media, they can greatly increase their engagement with customers through thoughtful content full of practical advice.
Remember, your customers are people, too (consider interviewing them to share their story!). Keep them top of mind and they will reward you for it.
Jake is the text and multimedia product manager at The Associated Press and the former editor of Insights. He previously covered college sports as a reporter for AP and helped design its multi-year strategic plan.