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Why the brand newsroom will change PR for good

Blog post   •   Jul 08, 2013 17:27 BST

We’ve come a long way since the days of Ivy Lee, the “father of PR” and the writer of the first ever press release in 1906, which The New York Times printed without changing a word.

Fast forward 100 years - to 2006 - and an infamous blog post from Tom Foremski commanded: “Die! Press release! Die! Die! Die!” Foremski wrote: “Press releases are nearly useless. They typically start with a tremendous amount of top-spin, they contain pat-on-the-back phrases and meaningless quotes.… This madness has to end. It is wasted time and effort by hundreds of thousands of professionals.”

Instead, Foremski proposed that companies “deconstruct the press release” into factual, valuable parts - with plenty of links, quotes, and visual content that journalists and bloggers can assemble into stories that their readers will actually want to read.

Enter the online newsroom  

Online newsrooms - or “social media newsrooms” as some have called them - help to address the criticisms raised by Foremski.

By bringing together all of an organisation’s news, content, social channels and multimedia assets in one space - with everything tagged, related and optimised for search engines - the newsroom can be the central hub of an organisation’s communications strategy.

It enables journalists, bloggers and other stakeholders to get everything they need to tell their own stories from the raw materials the brand provides. 

- HMRC's new Mynewsdesk newsroom

The brand newsroom approach

Today the buzz in PR and marketing circles is about the “brand newsroom approach” - in which content is king and every organisation can benefit from thinking and acting more like a media company.

The smart folk at Edelman Digital have called it “brand storytelling at the speed of social”. They describe how “brands are racing to create timely, visual content that matches their audience’s interests with breaking news and conversation trends, at the peak of the discussion.”

At Mynewsdesk we are constantly improving our platform to better help PR and marcoms professionals deliver results in this evolving news and content landscape.

With the launch of our next generation newsroom - a newsroom that is more content-centric, simpler, cleaner and responsive (meaning it works beautifully on mobile, tablet and desktop) - we are giving communications professionals a platform that supports this new way of working.

Right now we’re seeing five big shifts in how successful brands are communicating:

1) Brands are becoming publishers

This has been happening for some time, but it’s now impossible to ignore. 

There are plenty of big consumer brand examples (Coca-Cola, Red Bull, Money Supermarket, O2... to name just a handful), but also smaller brands, B2B companies, non-profits, and public sector organisations are all aligning their marketing and communications plans around content creation and social media.

2) The "real time" imperative

In these times of media saturation and information overload, brands must be ready to react in minutes or seconds, not hours or days.

Recent examples include Paddy Power’s response to Alex Ferguson’s retirement. Or an even swifter reaction from Golden Wonder. And of course the now obligatory textbook example of Oreo’s “Dunk in the dark” Super Bowl ad.

Brands need to monitor breaking news and the social web. And they need to be equipped to publish, distribute and promote new content - instantly.

3) Multimedia rules

Audiences are hungry for content in all its forms. We read it, hear it, watch it, interact with it, comment on it, and share it. We participate in the stories we discover online, and retell them. Multimedia content is often more powerful and effective than words alone.

If you look at the recent launch of BT Sport - the Mail Online’s coverage contains 13 images, a video, an infographic, two financial graphs and numerous quotes. Today it’s vital for brands to provide all of these components to the journalist or blogger if they want their story to have impact.

But multimedia isn’t only essential when responding to a breaking news event, or when pitching your story to journalists, it’s also a highly effective way to gain exposure on social media. For many brands, a true viral video hit is seen as the holy marketing grail. One particularly well-executed example was Bodyform’s must-watch response to a post on its Facebook wall, which has been viewed nearly 4 million times, gave the brand a warm personality, and breathed new life into an old ad campaign.

4) Managing multichannel

One of the biggest challenges for communicators is keeping on top of what’s hot and what’s not in digital channels. Is it time to focus on Pinterest? Or is Instagram where the reach and engagement is? What’s the potential of Vine? Is it time to take the plunge with Google+?

This is one of the areas where having the right publishing platform can make a huge difference. If you can publish and distribute to multiple channels - from email, to your website, to social channels - without having to open multiple applications - you will be able to serve the widest possible audience, in the most time-efficient way.

5) Mobile first

With mobile internet usage expected to soon surpass “fixed” internet usage, the phone or tablet is now often your first point of contact with your audiences.

Being able to deliver your content in a “responsive” web format - ie so it adapts to look good (and work well) on every device - is now a critical success factor for every online campaign.

A newsroom for our times

So what do you think? Does the “brand newsroom approach” ring true for you? Are you already starting to work in this way?

How about the technology to support real-time, multichannel and multimedia communications - do you have the right platform and the right tools?

We at Mynewsdesk (the official newsroom partner of Ad:tech's newsroom) would love to hear your thoughts, and discuss the challenges and opportunities with you.

Call us on 020 7029 5785 or email uk@mynewsdesk.com.

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