Posted by Ken Payne
A recent article in Intelligent Utility Magazine’s online edition featured a story about Oncor – the largest electricity distribution and transmission system in Texas. It was interesting to us from the perspective of a big company with a massive payroll using the online newsroom to solve a big corporate communications problem. Go figure!
“We have a responsibility to communicate with 3 million homes and businesses we serve,” Chris Schein, Oncor’s Senior Director of Communications wrote as a contributor to the magazine. “Not long ago, that communication was very simple - phone calls and letters. But just as the market has evolved over the years, so too have the methods with which our customers choose to communicate.”
To meet the needs of an expanding and diverse public, the Oncor PR team decided it was time to evolve their online communications platform by launching a new online newsroom “that housed stories and information about the industry, our company, and the people we serve,” according to Schein.
Called 'The Wire' (how perfect!), the site is “proving to be an important tool for customer engagement,” Schein continues. “The Wire streamlines our messages and offers them in one powerful and convenient newsroom.”
And the new site seems to be connecting with Oncor’s news customers. “In the first week of The Wire’s launch there were 1,766 page views – that’s about as many views in one week as the old newsroom had in six months!”
Schein offers three tips for any company looking to update or upgrade their online newsroom:
1. Offer a variety of content in an easily accessible place: “The Wire allows us to tell our stories in our own voice, and we use a variety of content to accomplish that, including articles, infographics, photos and videos.”
2. Be assessable and responsive: “With a customer base as broad as ours, it’s important that we be able to easily reach them – and that they are able to contact us – when problems arise.”
3. Get everyone involved: “We encourage our employees to use social media to tell Oncor’s stories and give them the tools and support they need to do this effectively.”
We couldn’t agree more, Chris! Congratulations and best of luck with your new online newsroom.
For more great tips on creating and maintaining a world-class online newsroom, be sure to check out our 20 Elements Every Online Newsroom Must Have; Top 10 Reasons To Have An Online Newsroom; and the Top 5 Functions of an Online Newsroom. Plus don’t miss more great research into the online news consumer and how journalists are using the online newsroom to do their jobs.