Organisational storytelling has long been a function of a traditional internal communications function, but as organisations continue to adapt to a digital and social age, the model of storytelling is changing. The lines between internal and external communication are very quickly blurring – and that means a different model for generating content.

The Newsroom Model

The idea of having a newsroom model in organisations can offer real opportunities in generating content that can be used across different populations. In a newsroom model communications teams take on more of a journalistic role to source and generate stories to drive engagement and influence stakeholders.

A newsroom model is an idea that needs to align to your brand and strategy and should be the leading mechanism to share your organisational narrative. One of the biggest changes in a social age is that a newsroom model can start to generate ‘employee generated’ content by using stories generated by enterprise social tools.

This is a shift away from the ‘top down’ method of communicating that is the default method for storytelling in many organisations.

Employee Content

If your newsroom model is built on a foundation of employee generated content it can have huge benefit in giving your stories and messaging real authenticity both internally and externally.

Although there will always be a place for the traditional ‘top down’ stories from an organisations Leaders there is now so much opportunity to bring stories to life using employees.

One of the most effective ways to build a network for your newsroom is to create a role of a ‘digital champion’ in business. This role has a great deal of scope for employees to take an active role in organisational conversation and to act as content generators.

The key with getting the most from your newsroom model is to align it to a digital ambition; having the right tools in place where employees can interact and share stories is critical to sourcing great content for your newsroom.

If you can build the right structure in your business – by introducing tools like Enterprise Social and a network of engaged digital champions, you can begin to develop a newsroom model that will be built on a strong foundation of employees as storytellers.

It will make the role of Internal Communications teams critical in the newsroom model as the facilitators of content that will give businesses an authentic voice.

Multi-Channel

In the newsroom model there should be no distinction between your internal and external channels. Stories can be translated into different kinds of output suited to different kinds of populations; that could be an internal video or an external tweet. There will be some occasions where the same content can be pushed out through multiple channels – a good example might be where you have created a piece of video content that can be topped and tailed suited to a particular audience.

Social Media is an absolutely critical piece of the newsroom puzzle. Bite sized chunks of content are a much more engaging way to share stories, and using social tools such as Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn externally or Yammer, Jive and SharePoint internally should be at the very heart of your channel strategy.

Another key channel in a newsroom model is video. With the use of smartphones and tablets organisations can now reach out to employees to create content they generate themselves – which again adds a huge amount of authenticity to a story. There is still a role for glossy, high production videos for important corporate messages – but, a more homemade feel to video content can give it a much higher level of authenticity.

The idea of a Digital Newsroom is that content can be created and pushed out quickly across multiple channels; editorial oversight can be easily managed digitally without the need for face 2 face interaction.

Digital Structure

Many organisations are geographically spread and the structure of a newsroom can align to a digital and agile way of working. Having a network of digital champions and ‘journalists’ across different locations is a great way to make sure you can generate stories and content quickly.

An example would be getting some anecdotal feedback from across your locations on a major announcement which could either be done by people submitting smartphone clips, or an on-site journalist who can quickly go and obtain that footage. In a digital age, that can be submitted to an editor who can top and tail it ready for it to be pushed out via different channels.

Having that ability to generate content and stories so quickly can become a priceless asset to organisations both in engaging employees and influencing stakeholders.

Summary

The role of the Digital Newsroom is evolving – for it to work effectively it needs the right structure and foundation in place for content generation. The ‘top down’ content is the easiest part to get right, but to add authenticity and credibility to your storytelling, it is important that organisations also focus on content from the ‘bottom up’ as well.

A successful Digital Newsroom also needs strong collaboration between different teams in a business – many teams that are part of the newsroom model will also have different responsibilities – but for the newsroom to work they need to make sure territories don’t become barriers to sharing great content.

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