Got a content team? Doesn’t make you a newsroom

Got a content team? Doesn’t make you a newsroom





Got a content team? Doesn’t make you a newsroom


Tony Hallett
Managing director

Tony set up Collective Content in 2011 so brands can more easily become publishers and tell stories. This built on 15 years in media, from reporter to publishing director at Silicon Media Group, CNET Networks and CBS Interactive.

This post was first published on 1st November 2013

The trend of the corporate newsroom isn’t going away. In fact, it is becoming more of a thing.

This week we tweeted this piece from Digiday about how Mastercard approaches its own content in this way. It isn’t alone.

newsroom 3

Many companies – instead of placing ads next to breaking news on media sites – are working on their own news output. Some have framed this as newsjacking (see: The Holy Grail of content marketing?) though we’d advise against an approach that wreaks of gaming breaking news – witness what has happened to content farms and SEO more generally.
But what counts as news and is this really what corporate newsrooms are delivering?

The other day we tweeted:

Note we add that both are positive. But we have worked with several large companies with very able in-house teams and some have wrongly thought of these as a newsdesk or newsroom.
Here’s the rub.

A newsroom implies the bulk (if not all) of the content isn’t about you. You, a company, are acting like a media organisation, reporting – often at speed – on what others are doing. There will be ample opportunities for this to benefit your brand, even help deliver sales, only resist the temptation to talk about yourself.

A great example is OPENforum from Amex (perhaps a rival MasterCard has its eye on). It is an online community all about helping small businesses. While it is clearly branded as being from American Express, a look at the most popular posts or contributors shows an independence and thought-leadership much more in tune with leading business media publications.

What do you think happens when a writer for OPENforum (staff or freelance) calls up a company and says they are reporting for a story that will appear on those pages?

This is the simple test, something we will address more next time. The answer: The organisation being called will most likely treat it as they would a media enquiry, possibly looking for PRs to coordinate what happens next.

What happens when companies with a corporate newsroom that isn’t as refined try the same thing? The writers are often ignored or flat out told that company B won’t help company A with its marketing. That’s a very different equation but by far the more common.

How do you evolve your content team into a corporate newsroom? Is it even desirable for most organisations? We’ll be getting to those answers.
* photo credit: Adam Tinworth via photopin cc

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