In this guest post, Gerry McCusker (pictured below), author of PR Disasters and founder/principal advisor at Engage ORM, offers some advice to PRs (and publishers) on what good news in this digital age should look like…
Was it Twain, or Jefferson, who mused: “If you don’t read the news(papers) you are uninformed. If you do, you are misinformed”?
This is a big problem for ‘tough-to-love’ government, political and big business brands whose PR is often at the mercy of scathing scribes and social media scuttlebutt. How do they communicate their news effectively and accurately?
Today, many brand managers, marketers and even social media-savvy PR’s fail to harness the publishing tenets and technologies that can effectively counter misinformation, and adeptly address (even win) the challenge of accurately and productively informing online audiences. Let’s get right to it…why continue to waste resource on text-heavy, hyperlink graveyards?
I’m talking about that ‘news’ section of your website (offer pixelated sample graphic?), piled page-high with dead body copy and a corpse of self-congratulatory, headline-led URL links.
Like a heap of weeks-old, unsold sausages; link after link, after link of unappetizing, unappealing and untouched churn. All so unnecessarily, Web one-point-oh-deary me!
Studies by brand journalism advocates indicate that stakeholders now expect more from company news. Clearly, the citizenry consumes and enjoys social media formats and its vibrant mix of audio, visual and text overlay formats. Can we still expect them to scroll inanimate, colourless text on a news page? Or let them ‘Download a PDF version’? When was the last time someone shared a beefy, portable document format across your most popular social feeds? And it’s not enough to “up” your content game, either. Because you need to improve your presentation and delivery functionalities, too.
And that why the hyperlink graveyard doesn’t cut it at all.
Professionally, journalists have high expectations of how you should present brand news. Way back in 2012, TekGroup research showed (no surprise) that 99 per cent of journos wanted to see media rich, media releases in online newsrooms, and in addition:
- 94% wanted to see breaking news in that same location (today that means social media news, I venture)
- 94% wanted web and print ready photos there too
- 93% wanted news well-organized by category and type (by keyword too, I’d suggest)
- 75% wanted video assets
- 63% wanted audio files
- (0% expressly asked for months old, text only hyperlinks)
These stats give some baseline pointers as to the kind of functionality you should feature in your online newsroom. I’ll discuss more specifics in the Part Two article coming later.
Today, the switched-on brand, community, corporate and – certainly – the crisis communicator surely wants their messages to get seen, get shared, go further and exert real influence? You can’t achieve that with a hyperlink graveyard!
And before you rail that it’s “all too hard” or that you “don’t have the time”, the news portal platform that many switched-on clients in Oz (and more worldwide) use, actually makes your content work harder, more productively, with a lot less effort. Don’t get relegated to the graveyard shift! You can manage content, plus media and online reputation more cohesively and effectively with an online newsroom.