During the past 15 years, the online newsroom has changed dramatically. Not just in functionality and features, but also in the fact that the audience is no longer just journalists and media outlets. With the rise of social media and the proliferation of mobile devices such as iPhones, Androids, iPad's and other smartphones and tablets, the online newsroom audience has shifted and opened up to a growing audience of news consumers. News releases, images, video and other essential content are now being created and targeted to a wide array of people including investors, analysts, employees, partners, customers and prospects. Social media provides a platform for this news to be shared by the hundreds of millions people actively using sites such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube. And, mobile devices allow for this news content to be consumed anywhere and at pretty much any time.
What does this mean for you as a communicator or marketer?
Clearly, focusing your online newsroom content solely on journalists is limiting your reach, your potential brand awareness and restricting the visibility and possible engagement with clients and prospects through social media. Furthermore, not ensuring that you have a mobile-friendly online newsroom is possibly preventing mobile users from seeing your content at all.
In our recent 2012 Social Media News Survey, we asked social media users how they monitor, share, and consume news and the results were very interesting. This is the third year we have run the survey and it seems that social media users are increasingly savvy and continue to use sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to consume and share news about your organization, your brand, your executives, your products, your earnings, and your mistakes.
Some statistics to consider:
- 33% said they are using social media tools more than two hours per day; 10% more than five hours per day
- 75% said that they "sometimes" or "frequently" or "always" visit a corporate news website or online newsroom when using social media
- 90% cite the use of Facebook and 70% the use of Twitter as a primary source of news and information
- 68% stated that they use social media channels to follow breaking news stories
Numbers are numbers. Certainly more details are needed that explain how these statistics impact us as communicators and marketers and how we can "socialize" the online newsroom to make more content shareable across these growing channels.
Statistic #1: 33%
Assuming your target audience is represented somewhere in the 800,000,000 Facebook and/or 120,000,000 Twitter users, then having your content in those social channels seems to make sense. People are increasingly integrating social media into their lives and spending more time each day searching, following, reading, and sharing news. The two-hour window that 33% of survey takers claim to be spending on social media each day gives us the chance to create a compelling piece of content for people to read and share.
Statistic #2: 75%
This one is a no-brainer. 3 out of 4 social media users say they visit a corporate news website or online newsroom after learning of a news story from a social media outlet. This means that people are coming to your site after clicking on a tweet or reading a Facebook post or monitoring a LinkedIn group. This is good news and can be expanded by ensuring that you are providing your news content in those same channels. Setup a dedicated news Twitter account (separate from your main corporate account) that includes news stories, photos, events and links to publicly available financial information. Also, ensure that you prominently display your social "badges" or integrated feeds on your online newsroom, so people can find you that way as well.
Statistic #3: 90%/70%
You obviously don't need to be reminded about the size and prominence of both Twitter and Facebook. If you are able to setup a news page in Facebook which acts as a feed from your online newsroom, highlighting photos, links to presentations and research, you will be putting your news in front of a large audience, and hopefully driving some of that traffic back to your online newsroom, while at the same time having a platform to engage with potential customers. People use Twitter to find news. Journalists, bloggers, and also general consumers all use Twitter in different ways to follow and share news. Having a dedicated news Twitter account can help you start the social conversation by providing links back to your online newsroom for videos, photos, speeches, thought leadership stories, and press release archives. Utilize at least these two social channels as a start to extending your communications efforts.
Statistic #4: 68%
Social media and breaking news seem like the perfect match. The timeliness and viral-ability that social media brings coupled with the consumer appetite for what is new provide a backdrop for your organization to consistently publish new content about your products, services, executives, clients, industry, partners and vendors, and employees. Use your online newsroom as a true newsroom, with daily updates highlighting what is going on within your company and around your industry.
That's enough about social media.
In our recent 2012 Mobile News Survey, we asked mobile technology users how they use their smartphones and tablets to consume and share news. The results here were also extremely interesting and useful in that there is a huge population of people visiting corporate websites and online newsrooms on their mobile devices. We've seen an increase in mobile traffic from 5% only three years ago to more than 15% today, accessing our clients' online newsrooms with a mobile device.
Some statistics to consider:
- 70% of mobile users surveyed said they monitor, read and share news on their mobile devices
- 77% said they visit corporate news websites or online newsrooms using their mobile devices
- 42% said they spend more than two hours per day viewing and sharing news on their mobile devices
These numbers are pretty amazing when you consider where mobile was just four years ago. How often do you see people on their iPhone or Android at a restaurant, in their car, pretty much everywhere! A lot of those people are reading news about companies like yours. They are going to your corporate news website or online newsroom and reading the latest news or looking at photos of your new product. Is your online newsroom mobile friendly?
Is your news at the very least readable on an iPhone or iPad? If not, then that is one quick way to get more traffic to your site and ensure that you are providing not only journalists, but also news consumers, with information that they are seeking.
Today's online newsrooms have evolved way beyond a press release archive for journalists. With the millions of people using social media to share and read news and an ever growing mobile base, it certainly makes good business sense to have your corporate news website or online newsroom up-to-date and compatible with these technologies.
FULL DISCLOSURE: My company, TEKGROUP International, created these research reports. Enjoy!