Over the weekend in Cannes, BBC Worldwide announced it’s creating a ##content marketing division that will focus on telling #corporate stories and bringing ‘#newsroom values’ to its content. EVP of BBC Advertising Carolyn Gibson said:
“BBC StoryWorks has been set up to bring BBC editorial quality and values to the fast-moving world of content. It brings together the boldness and innovative qualities of a creative studio with the agility, responsiveness and timeliness of the #news room.”
The new division – called StoryWorks – will be run by a former BBC journalist. So – in addition to agility and responsiveness – what does having ‘newsroom values’ really mean for a brand or small #business?
Know how to tell a story: if there is one standout attribute of any great newsroom, and the teams within it, it is story-telling. Good journalists are trained in the skills of spotting a good story, pulling out the key aspects of a narrative, and ensuring the main protagonists are adequately reflected within it. This approach is just as important for corporate content as it is for ‘pure’ news content.
Have a #process: every newsroom is built on efficiency and process. Without structure, planning and a ruthless attachment to process it would be impossible to create ongoing daily content that is of consistent quality – that’s the same for any type of output whether tabloid, in-depth or otherwise. Even if you cannot afford to create a dedicated newsroom for your content marketing, it is possible to pull together a certain amount of resource to create content on a consistent, daily or weekly basis. Have a plan and stick to it.
Have a consistent #voice: just as every news program is different, with a different slant, focus or set of production values, so your own corporate content must reflect your own brand or company. That means the #tone and image of what you produce – on every channel – must reflect your values and should appeal to your target audience. Come up with a short paragraph to explain what you are trying to do with your content and for whom.
Work to a #deadline: There’s nothing like a hard deadline to encourage efficiency and effective resource utilization. If you can set and hit deadlines when you’re planning your organisation’s content – even if they are for your own internal purposes – you will build a more efficient system and process within your organisation.
Be efficient with your resources: the days of large teams of news journalists being sent to cover every news event are long gone. Now the focus is on covering as much as possible with as few resources as you can whilst maintaining your agreed production values or quality levels. Again it’s about ensuring you are matching your output quality to your brand values and your audience expectations. These days your audience is more forgiving of lower resolution video or blurred images if it is able to receive the information it wants, when it wants – ideally on mobile. But having ‘newsroom values’ does not necessarily mean throwing huge amounts of money at the problem.
Respond to what’s happening: there are always news stories or insights that you can use to build a corporate story of your own. Ensure you and your team are aware of the broader environment and network and of issues that are vexing them or challenging them. These challenges can be the basis of strong, engaging stories that will get your network talking and ensure your brand is front of mind when work is being considered.
Recruit the right people: if you want to create a newsroom, it makes sense to bring in, yes, you guessed it, journalists. Those who have worked at the coalface producing minute-by-minute news – whether text, online, video or radio news – have a true understanding of what it takes to tell a story effectively and efficiently, often with limited resources. If your output does not warrant having a dedicated team of journalists, think about recruiting people who have journalistic attributes – look for inquisitive, smart and bright writers that you can support and grow as internal ‘journalists’ of your own.
Gay Flashman is Founder and CEO of Formative Content. Formative Content develops high quality content and content hubs for clients around the world including the World Economic Forum, the Global Education & Skills Forum and FundForum International. Formative Content is run by Gay Flashman, a former Managing Editor of Channel 4 News in the UK, and has a staff of experienced journalists.