After listening…


Virtually all communications strategists agree that this is the first step an organization (or individual) interested in social media should take.

And that makes a lot of sense. You don’t just barge into a room and loudly take over every conversation (well, some Grand Boors do).

If you’re interested in any sort of relationship, you need to get a lay of the land, pay attention to what’s being talked about, watch what’s going on, understand who’s who… In other words, do some basic research.

So what’s the second step an organization can take? Should the CEO blog? Should they start a podcast? What about a Facebook fan page, Twitter feed, videos?

Those are all good considerations that depend on a company’s objectives.  But while you’re honing your strategy, there is one easy thing to do as a second step: set up a social media or online newsroom.

It’s hard to believe it’s been two years since Todd Defren first presented the concept of a social media newsroom; in the process transforming the staid news section of an organization’s website into a dynamic searchable platform.

Many companies jumped on board.  Some are still reticent. Perhaps that’s because they don’t understand how easy it is to share your stories and visuals with media and bloggers.  An online newsroom is a fast and effective way to go from read-only to two-way interactive.

And you can get started by following these steps:

  • Use a blogging platform like WordPress that’s hosted on your site
  • Customize the design and functions so it looks integrated and has the features you want
  • Add sections  for news (releases, bylined articles), bios, company backgrounders, videos, easily downloadable visuals of principals and products (hi and low-res), quotes,  links to relevant sites and contact info
  • Make the content sharable. Add your Twitter feed (if you have one) and other social networks (LinkedIn, Facebook).
  • Develop a strategy to tag your entries in order to help boost your search engine relevance
  • Contact media and bloggers you want to develop a relationship with and politely let them know that they can subscribe to your news and find and easily access resources whenever they need them, right on your site

Sure you may have to ‘surrender control’, but as many have already said, that’s something organizations no longer have. And if a journalist or blogger wants to write about your business, wouldn’t you rather be the primary source for accurate information and good quality visuals?  Wouldn’t you rather they came to you than someone else?


Old tyme search

It wasn’t that long ago when we called location-based search ‘looking it up in the Yellow Pages’. And a new business that happened to miss a printing deadline would be shut out of a year’s worth of potential finds.

Now, when our fingers do the walking they’re probably on a keyboard.

Mine were recently when I was trying to find a 10 month old article with some data I needed.  I wasn’t sure of the pub date, but I knew the outlet and reporter. Yet after several different permutations of search terms on Google and the media site, I came up empty-handed. And then, of course, I started to doubt my recollection because it wasn’t validated online.

Now, this may seem quaint, but I still clip stories I like from newspapers and magazines and keep them in file folders. They’re sorted in rough chronological order; rough, that is, because if I take out a clip, I’ll usually return it to the front of the file.  Not exactly scientific, but it works.

I was pretty sure I had the article, so I started leafing through the papers and sure enough found it in a couple of minutes.  Then, armed with details from the hard copy, I was also able to get it online.

And it made me realize that we’re so reliant on certain web 2.0 tools – which do a spectacular job in most cases. But old-fashioned searching (and library research, for that matter) – can be just as effective for finding results.