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From Start To Coverage | The Online Newsroom Approach

Blog post   •   Jul 07, 2015 13:41 BST

Whether you're a small start-up with an announcement to make or a global brand with big news to break, one way or another you're going to need to get your story out there. You're going to need coverage. 

Ensuring your story gets picked-up goes beyond just a well-written press release; how you distribute, who you send to, and how you measure your success - every aspect of your approach requires careful consideration. With this in mind, it's perhaps no wonder that more and more organisations are adopting to the brand newsroom approach. Working in this way means organisations are becoming better equipped to take advantage of breaking news stories, deal with the many different social media channels their audiences use to communicate and more effectively engage with the right journalists.

Here are the questions you need to ask in order to get the most out of your newsroom, from start to coverage:

1. Who is your audience?

No matter what the size of your organisation, you'll need to reach and engage with a range of stakeholders, clients and consumers, so it's essential that your newsroom caters for a range of mediums and audiences.

Our advice: list your communications objectives and then work out who you need to engage with to make these happen. Secondly, create a persona for each of the different type of person you want to engage with and every time you have an idea for a piece of content, test it against these traits – you'll soon realise if you're content corresponds with your reader's interests.

2. What is your editorial position?

Keep your content concise. No one wants to wade through endless words in hope of eventually finding a snippet that's of relevance to them. Nor do they have time. To truly connect with your audience, communicate simply and succinctly, explaining how what you're writing is of value to them.

3. What are your objectives?

Seeing your YouTube video rake in billions of YouTube views is great for your corporate ego, but without a clear goal and call to action, what's the point – really?

What does success look like to you? What are you trying to achieve? Set our clear and logical goals before you set out on any piece of content or correspondence so that you can effectively measure and report on the success of its performance and evaluate whether or not to repeat it again.

4. What is your tone of voice?

With the evolution of social media and online communications, it's almost impossible for an organisation to create content for each individual channel.

The best stories are those that work on a human level, with an informal and direct tone of voice. Make your message clear, compelling and consistent wherever your audience sees it.

5. Are you prepared for the year ahead?

The annual year is packed full of events and recurrences, from Easter to Christmas, the FA Cup to the X-Factor. Make a note of these in advance and, where possible, plan content and campaigns which align with these. Not only will this give you an opportunity to create timely content (ahead of the date) but it'll also help dictate your newsroom content for the year.

6. Are you ready for the unexpected?

Organisations must be ready to respond to breaking news stories or deal with crises quickly and efficiently as soon as they arise.

7. Is your content relevant?

Every piece of content you create, regardless of what its purpose is, must be interesting. If you hadn't created it yourself, would you be interested in it? Is it something you'd imagine your friends talking about and sharing on social media?

And finally, don't forget to measure how effective your campaigns and content have been. This will tell you if you are really giving your audience what they want.

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