After an amazing career as an editorial director for Fairfax Regional Media, and an ongoing consultancy with other brands in Australia and abroad, Stuart is sharing his knowledge around brand communications and messaging in his new book, The DIY Newsroom
Modern comms teams have high-powered skills in social media and are good at disseminating information, but can struggle with generating great content ideas and producing them well.
A Sensis study found producing original content was a high pain-in-the-butt factor for businesses wanting to improve their communications.
Read more: The Top 5 Myths Around Blogging For Business
Sharing or repurposing other’s content is one way of growing a content community, yet nothing beats producing it yourself.
The secret to great content ideas?
It’s not that secret – it’s as simple as making the time for brainstorming and finding a forum to give it the focus it needs.
I bet that over a couple of hours (and some coffee) we could generate scores of story ideas for your business. This would be aside from what you would normally come across or respond to day to day.
A great starting point can simply be to make a time and sit down with a cup of Joe for a chat with your team – AKA “strategic planning”.
Newsrooms are never short of ideas and never short of a story. That is their business. But processes, forums and a culture of curiosity are what surfaces these stories.
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Make your meetings worth it
You might consider a daily or weekly catch-up to go through your content calendar.
In newspapers, we had lots of meetings. Too many. These meetings would include:
- a morning conference that would include a post-mortem on the previous edition and a plan for the next
- briefings of individual reporters on their assignments
- a meeting to decide website ranking and social media activity
- an afternoon conference to assign stories to pages
- a page 1 conference in the early evening
- regular section meetings and staff meetings
- off-site strategic workshops.
In the modern multi-platform newsroom, less is more.
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Today, many newsrooms only have a short daily stand-up meeting and then sporadic informal meetings throughout the day. But they still meet, and an open, regular forum is vital to converting ideas to great content.
The best editors and leaders also have a gut instinct for what constitutes a great story.
That is not as valued as it once was because analytics are now the primary driver. Tools like Chartbeat tell us exactly what interests people and at what point they tire of a story.
But the downside of analytics, like social media in general, is that they reinforce the popular, creating the echo-chamber effect.
While knowing your audience is vital and delivering tailored content is what we are all about, the best content ideas delight by surprise.
To read more, order your copy of the limited-release hardback ‘The DIY Newsroom‘.
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