Curriculum vitae, work experience, references, skills inventory, resume: all describe a source of information where people can condense the vital information about themselves into a single document for interested parties to examine. The idea is giving people an overview they can sort through in order to weigh your merits and strengths against their needs, as well as to get an idea of how you present yourself.
This concept has been adopted for the web in a number of ways, but none more unique than the social media newsroom. A combination bulletin board and press collection, the SMNR is a one-stop location for people to find out critical information about you. Whether you have a new book you’re promoting, a lecture tour you want to draw attention to, or a business plan you wish to propose, the SMNR is the place you gather all the information about your venture together into a clear, concise summary.
As implied in the name, a newsroom is a page where you compile relevant press (your own and others’) about the relevant topic. It lists the basic information, quotations, summaries and news stories in question, but then it also goes a step beyond the basics.
In previous articles we’ve discussed the advantages of integrating your audience into the brand, and taking advantage of the web’s powerful communication abilities to bring their influences into the picture. The SMNR doesn’t just present good press, it includes communication venues for people using Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Digg and more. It includes a comments section for added communication, and options for instant messaging or blog connectivity. In short it is more than just a static page, and is an active communications hub.
Do You Need One?
Any organization interested in creating and maintaining a vital web brand will find the SMNR an incredible, vital tool toward this purpose. If you have any good press, such as a positive review or mention from a SM group, consider putting up an SMNR page to centralize further promotion efforts.
The value of the SMNR lies in its convenience for your audience. As we have discussed, the web has allowed people to develop an incredibly short and discerning attention span. If you centralize your relevant information so that people can browse easily, they will be more likely to stay and peruse your content than if they had to hunt down the information themselves. Instead of looking for reviews of your company’s quality, they can find it all right at hand in your SMNR.
Which Social Media?
Given the sheer variety of social media networking sites, there is no one design of SMNR that will work in every situation. There are of course the broad guidelines already discussed, but these are not specific to any situation and for good reason. Applications such as Twitter or Digg are fairly universal, serving as conduits rather than direct sources of information. However services like Myspace and Facebook have differing user bases, and one may be more appropriate to your organization than the other. You must do the research to see what suits your business needs.
The most important piece of advice is to make your SMNR its own distinct element. We have discussed the importance of giving your online marketing efforts their own focus, rather than simply getting to them as you have time. The SMNR is no different. It will not replace the draw of a good blog or video series, just as an author’s webpage does not replace the act of actually reading his books.
Instead, find the social media networks that tie most organically into your usual web branding efforts, and build from there. If you’re focusing on a smaller audience, include instant messaging service so people can drop into the page chat room for quick input. If you’re going for a wider audience, Twitter is still an excellent way to quickly link your newest article or bit of press.
The Press Release
An integral part of any newsroom is the press release. This is not strictly speaking a traditional news story so much as it is a formalized announcement using the news style. As an illustration of the difference, a news story is when a journalism organization covers an event and relays the information. A press release is when the organization itself gives out information they feel is important, usually through a news channel. A good press release keeps to the basic facts, and is short and punchy.
The press release is therefore an outstanding tool for any SMNR. Brief and concise, it explains why your newest venture or change in policy deserves attention. It can be linked through your preferred social media tools and disseminated quickly, bringing people to your page for the full story. From there they can be directed to other materials, and you have your audience at hand.
Once again, the focus of the SMNR is as much about drawing in user commentary as it is about distributing information. Take the time to analyze the comments and usage figures from your newsroom against your chosen metrics. Listen to what people are saying, and engage them about these comments. Many good ideas have been lost simply for lack of communication, so take advantage of the fact that your audience is literally right there, in the newsroom with you, and ready to have a dialog.