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Building a Brand Newsroom in 2016: Creating Content and Measuring ROI

As brands pivot to becoming publishers, they need to master creating valuable content and measuring their impact.

The brand newsroom is becoming more common as companies realize the value of content. 76% of brands will rely on content marketing in 2016, in order to grow and engage their audience, and build trust and credibility.

But how to keep from just spewing out drivel that no one wants to engage with? The answer is to act like a publisher.

Last time, we went over the first three vital steps in this process. Finding our core themes, testing those themes and building our Universe, and, creating an actual physical space for our content magic to happen.

For Reebok, that’s meant establishing a global newsroom and launching their core “Be More Human” mission. According to Dan Mazei, senior director of the Global Newsroom, Reebok wants to reframe how people look at fitness, and help them realize their “boundless human potential”.

One of Reebok’s Instagram posts that exudes their core theme. Their Instagram channel is rife with inspirational fitness photos

The brand newsroom is built. You know the core content themes that will provide a context to your brand’s message.

Now it’s time to start creating.

 

Step 4: Start Listening and Join the Conversation

 

When you enter a conversation, you must first listen to what’s being said for context. The same is true digitally. We need to scope out the conversation first.

 

A. Determine the value you’re delivering to your audience

What kind of content would your audience get most value from? Your brand’s personality and core themes may provide you an idea of what value you can create. The value can be inspirational, educational, entertaining, or a mixture of these.

For Reebok, inspiration is key. “Everything is intended to inspire what we call the ‘fit generation,’” says Dan Mazei. “Would this inspire the fit gen? Would this raise their eyebrows?

Whenever we’re encouraging people to push their limits, inspiration is a strong mechanism in that.”

Their ‘Wine Workout’ content centered on a millennial mom who showed how people could exercise with household items, like wine bottles. Reebok’s posts saw tremendous success on social. Refinery29 picked up the story, and the above Instagram post saw 7,500 likes and 1,400 comments.

This campaign fits neatly into Reebok’s core theme to inspire fitness, by showcasing an accessible exercise routine that people could try easily. Reebok further boosted their engagement by utilizing the ‘Wine Wednesday’ trend that’s big on social media.

A tight focus on core themes and knowledge of both content value and the social landscape make for winning stories.

 

B. Find the stories for the foundations of your content

Now that we know the sort of stories we want to tell, we’ll want to keep our ears tuned for everything relevant that pops up during the day. Spike’s alerts and daily digests can track the developing news items for us.

Spike Alerts are a customizable and mobile-friendly way of staying ahead in your areas of interest. Alerts can be as regularly as every half hour, which is great for high-activity industries. For brands that may need more time on content, you can get updates more spaced out, up to twice or just once a day.

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This custom Fitness panel that also focuses on the keywords yoga, meditation, and mindfulness, shows us what stories are taking off on social

Spike Alerts let you keep an eye on competitors and favorite sites, along with tracking keywords to stay on top of trends.  

We can broaden our scope and get weekly reports and insights from NewsWhip Analytics. What are the stories that are getting the most attention on social? Are there any emerging trends to pivot toward and get ahead of?

A look at the most-shared yoga headlines on Facebook within the fitness category reveals to us that people are looking to get more out of yoga than ever. We can look at when these stories were driving the most engagement, and filter by specific engagement metrics.

From there, we can piece together how our content is going to fit into the landscape to drive the most engagement.

 

C. Rev up your newsroom

Now that we know the trending stories and content tactics, it’s time to create. Each morning, you and your team can track the biggest social stories and determine whether to respond or add your brand’s voice to the conversation.

Are there any breaking stories or new trends relevant to our core themes that we can jump on right now?

At DigitasLBi, Spike has become an essential part of their newsroom. According to Chung Chao, a strategist at DigitasLBi, “This way, everybody can spot trending news items much quicker… We start the day off with going through the news and Spike is the first tool to help us filter relevant topics.”

Chao estimates that “…we save three hours a day using Spike.”

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Looks like celebrities are dominating the fitness conversation today in Spike’s 12 hour view (3/7/16)

In Reebok’s Global Newsroom, they convene in the mornings for what Dan Mazei calls a “binge thinking” session to find the strongest ideas. They run all their ideas through a rigorous filter to see if it’s something worth moving on.

Their content filter forces them to fully analyze each idea and its merits. According to Dan, they ask, “Is this interesting? Is this truly unique? is this inherently sharable?”

From there, teams work to activate on content. “Be More Human” stays at the heart of it all.

Reebok’s #FitToLead campaign challenged the 2016 U.S. presidential candidates to run a mile in under 10 minutes. Reebok prompted their fans to tweet at their favorite candidates with the #FitToLead hashtag, and promised to donate $50,000 on behalf of each successful candidate to a health-related charity.

By using the presidential race as the backdrop, Reebok’s campaign honed in on a current event that’s pushing the needle on social media. It further engaged people by asking them to tweet the hashtag and participate. Interactive campaigns like this work well because they allow people to express their creativity and thoughts, even if just in 140 characters or less.

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A sampling of tweets using the #FitToLead hashtag

D. Outreach

Follow your content themes and start building an audience around your owned and earned media. As you hone your brand’s content, you can build a thriving community and bring value to your industry’s conversation.

Brands can have a leg up on others for outreach. For Reebok, they already have a network of fitness instructors and influencers to reach out to and activate. Partnerships with other brands—Crossfit, Spartan Race, UFC—can also be called upon to get content out.

Scope out your brand’s toolbox. What’s in there already that can be used?  

Not sure whom to talk to? You can take a look at the top authors around your content topics in NewsWhip Analytics and Spike.

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A NewsWhip Analytics look at the authors in the fitness category who are getting the most Facebook shares – we can click a name to see one author’s content

You may have already done part of this when you built the universe around your core themes, but you can benefit from cultivating a more specific media list for each area of content.

 

Step 5: Measure Your Impact

 

Don’t forget the data. Once you’ve identified your themes, built out your space for your newsroom, and started participating in the conversations, it’s time to analyze if your investment is paying off.

With NewsWhip Analytics, you can monitor your content’s performance across social, and benchmark how you’re doing against others.

If we look at MLB’s Facebook pages in the past two weeks, we can see which of the teams are getting big engagement on Facebook during Spring Training. If we’re one of the club’s content teams, we may want to look at how other teams are doing.

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A look at all MLB teams Facebook shares for content published at the start of Spring Training to March 9th

We can dive deeper and explore how many Facebook likes, shares, and comments each piece of content is getting, and compare the teams to one another.

It’s important to track the conversations sparking up around your content—what comments and mentions are there? Are there any super fans or excited influencers you can identify and respond to for more engagement?

You can see how your own social media pages are performing, and compare trends from your native content on social to the content on your own blog or website. Different platforms can often reveal different trends.

NFL’s Facebook content vs. NFL.com content shows very different themes drove Facebook shares during the week of Super Bowl 50

NFL’s Facebook content vs. NFL.com content shows very different themes drove Facebook shares during the week of Super Bowl 50

What storylines is your brand crafting around your core themes? As you analyze your data, you may start to uncover new or different themes that work better than others.

Additionally, you can discover which of your content consistently does well in engagement. Identify these pieces and you can discover ways to repurpose and revitalize this content for more engagement again later.

A good deal of our own content on the NewsWhip blog has this evergreen quality. Our social media guides provide information and tips that are easy to incorporate into your social distribution and content strategy.

Watch the new influencers and creators developing around your content themes and continue to hone your list of media contacts. Develop those relationships, and continue to establish your voice as a thought leader.

These relationships could turn into partnerships and collaboration pieces. As you keep producing content and honing your methods, your brand will find its own space in the digital sphere.

Welcome to Your Brand Newsroom.

 

By now, you’re an expert on your brand and its message. You know the value your brand is going to have to the digital community.

Request a demo of NewsWhip Spike now to find the content trends important to your brand

As a brand, there are many moving parts to be aware of in your newsroom. How is your content helping the brand as a whole and staying connected to the business? How do you balance this with providing something that your audience will find worthy of sharing and engaging with?

“This is still something we’re learning from every day, there’s a risk of piling onto a heap of discarded content,” says Dan Mazei. He emphasized the need to reduce ‘content waste’, much like the wasteland of human garbage in “Wall-E”.

“We have to think like consumers. We have to ask ourselves, are we really doing this for the consumer? Our task is to get out there and have a conversation with the consumer.”

Stick to your core themes, be consumers of content as well as producers. Use social signaling tools to find out what trends people care about right now, and see where your brand fits into the conversation. Measure that content, regroup, evolve.

The brand newsroom is still a relatively new frontier. But one that is increasingly essential to brands, and one that makes sense to master now. How will you build yours?