How to successfully manage a global newsroom
The concept of an online newsroom is nothing new to communicators. While content may differ from one organization to another, the premise is the same: a communications hub that connects the organization with its audiences. However, in today’s world, the newsroom has expanded into a global hub of information and through channels such as social media, sharing news and stories is faster and reaches more people than ever before. With this increased consumption rate and larger potential audience reach abounds new questions, challenges, and opportunities. So, here are several tips on how to develop and maintain a global newsroom in today’s fast-paced digital world.
Set goals and know your audience
Any worthwhile content marketing strategy starts with a goal and online newsrooms are one channel of content distribution that should be leveraged in an overall strategy. Consider the impact the newsroom should have on targeted audiences. Is it to educate people who have just discovered the brand? Engage with subscribers? Build loyalty with customers? Once the newsroom’s main purpose within the content strategy is defined, the targeted audience becomes much clearer—which assists brand journalists and corporate communicators in writing engaging content.
This is true for a global newsroom, too. However, there is more than one target audience to be considered. What may be relevant content to someone in Canada may not be of interest to someone in Japan. While the overall goal may be the same, the audience is segmented, and content must be developed for each segment based upon their unique attributes, interests, and behaviors as discovered in website analytics or other research.
Organize content production
With a global audience, content can come from anywhere so it’s important to centralize editorial from one location (usually a headquarters) and structure content production with an editorial calendar. With one person or team in charge of the global newsroom’s content production, a process for distribution assignments, editing, and publishing can be created and enforced so all content flows through one central hub.
Not only does this allow for greater publishing and brand voice control, but it keeps the wheels from falling off a content strategy left up to contributors to write “as they can.” The editorial calendar keeps brand journalists on schedule and on point, aligning closely with the content marketing strategy of the organization.
Leverage local expertise
Odds are that a brand journalist in France will communicate better with a French audience than a writer in the United States or even Canada. Each country and region have unique languages and dialects that must be considered if a newsroom has been charged with reaching an international audience. For example, American audience members are able to read articles written by Australian or Scottish writers, but they may not understand particular slang or analogies and there could be confusion over differences in spelling. By leveraging local expertise and hiring writers who live and work in a targeted market, organizations can more effectively communicate their story.
Once newsroom content is outlined, scheduled, assigned, and completed, it’s ready to be published and shared with target audiences. But, simply adding the content to the global newsroom will not achieve this critical point in the process. For audience members who are already familiar with the organization, the content they are interested in must be easy to find. This can be achieved by incorporating content categories that indicate the type of information visitors can expect to uncover within a category (i.e., Investor News, Customer Stories, Community Involvement, etc.).
In addition, because a global newsroom’s audience is so diverse and geographically spread out, it’s helpful to offer content in multiple languages so visitors can quickly identify articles they can read without asking for a translation.
Newsroom content that is organized and easy to digest is perfectly suited for promotion through email marketing to subscribers and social media updates to fans and followers.
By monitoring which pieces of content receive the most click-throughs from the newsroom, email marketing, and social media, organizations can begin to develop assumptions on the types of content that work best for their audiences. With a review of newsroom analytics as well as social media and email marketing insights, brands can create editorial calendars that are targeted and optimized for consumption. Some key metrics to review on a regular basis include pages/articles with the highest amount of traffic (pay attention to those with high bounce rates and those with lower bounce rates), newsroom visitor behavior (i.e., After they read one article, do they leave the site or read another?), and the time spent on each page/article.
It’s difficult to track “trends” over a short period of time, but organizations who have been producing content in a global newsroom for longer than six months should be able to make some high-level assumptions that could lead to better results down the road.
And remember, always measure how the content is impacting the greater goal identified first in this article. Whether an organization is looking to grow its number of subscribers or reach an audience that’s never heard of them before, success depends on how the content impacts data connected to the strategic goal. Have the number of subscribers gone up since the global newsroom organized content production and leveraged local expertise? Is website traffic as a whole up versus the prior year? These are important questions to consider when attempting to discover whether or not the global newsroom is making an impact on the overall business goals of the organization.