We’ve all heard it said that size matters in just about everything: CEO’s are, on average, taller than most other folks in the company; the larger the sample size, the more confidence you can have in your research findings; and conversely, according to the Harvard Business Review, companies with short, simple names attract more shareholders, generate more stock trading, and perform better on certain financial measures than companies with longer, hard-to-process names.
But when it comes to news and information management via an online newsroom, it seems one can throw company size out the window.
A recent TEKGROUP survey of more than 400 journalists found that roughly 86% of them say they visit the online newsrooms of both large companies and brands, and small and medium enterprises (SME’s) alike. A separate study of social media users found that 71% of survey respondents often visit a corporate web site after learning of a news story through social media tools such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc.
The good news for SME’s is that the core functionality of the modern online newsroom truly levels the playing field for smaller companies and organizations looking to distribute their content to a mass audience. In fact, the same content distribution and management toolset available to companies like Toyota, Walgreens, and MGM Resorts is now being used daily by SME’s like Hillsborough Community College; the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons; and Generac, makers of portable generators and backup power supply solutions.
And although the larger brands may have a legacy advantage with the media – they have, after all, been covered by the press for decades in some cases – smaller companies can compete locally and nationally if they methodically leverage their content in new and creative ways.
Here are some tips that have worked for the biggest brands in the world, and I’ll bet they’ll work for your SME as well:
Become a media outlet - Consider including in your online newsroom content that you curate from other sources such as partners, suppliers, customers using your products and services, and related news in your industry. This will help you build trust with the media as a reliable resource, while at the same time setting your site up to become a destination for all things in your industry.
Become a brand storyteller – People enjoy reading about people. People want to see pictures with other people in them. Videos that go viral have people (or maybe pets, who are really people anyway, right?) in them. Great stories are about people. Great brand stories are about people using your product or service – solving a problem, or just making life a little better. Write or record those brand stories and put them prominently in your online newsroom.
Become your own wire service - Call Joe at the St. Pete Herald and take him to lunch. Get his email address and put it into the email alerts system built into your online newsroom toolset. Now you have a newswire of one. Repeat as many times as you reasonably can to build your newswire service - and don’t forget to prominently display an e-mail alert sign-up opportunity on the home page of your corporate site.
Become conversational – Social media, at its core, is mediated conversations. Some conversations are short (Twitter), some longer (Tumblr), and some may have no words at all (Instagram). Some conversations are about business (LinkedIn), and some more personal in nature (Facebook). The really great thing about conversations is that they can be one-to-one, or one-to-many, or one-to-the-world. But they all start with one…YOU! The online newsroom allows you to start and manage your brand conversations easily and effectively – again using the same toolset as the big brands and multinationals.
Become a content risk taker - In October 2012, Felix Baumgartner set a world record for the highest free fall in recorded history. But as he fell from the edge of space, he and Red Bull were also delivering a risk-taking lesson to content marketers everywhere: high risk = high reward. Now, I’m certainly not advocating anyone go out and base-jump from their home office and post the video to their online newsroom, but do try to think outside your content comfort zone when considering your online newsroom strategy. For example, Starbucks allows customers to propose new products in its My Starbucks Idea public forum; OKCupid took a public stance on the controversial subject of gay rights; and Netflix took on broadband suppliers who were allegedly impeding the delivery of Netflix content to its customers.
The online newsroom is truly the great equalizer in content creation, distribution, management and analysis – one case where maybe size does not matter.