Brand Newsrooms – Doomed To Fail

Brand Newsroom
Newsroom Reality

Brand newsrooms are getting a lot of attention as more organizations begin to understand why content marketing is so important.  But after reading this piece yesterday about why brand newsrooms will fail, my immediate reaction was… Of COURSE brand newsrooms will fail.

I spent the early years of my career in newsrooms as a local news producer, so I am very familiar with actual newsrooms and I love the energy and passion that newsrooms generate.

So why am I convinced brand newsrooms are set up for failure?  Well, lets start with a few characteristics of a real newsroom:

  1. It delivers unbiased news (I cringe even writing the word unbiased because unfortunately so many “journalism” outlets have become blatantly biased – but in its purest form, newsrooms should be unbiased).
  2. It takes dozens of people to operate effectively.
  3. It starts from scratch every day.  You can’t pre-write news.

When you try and apply even these basic characteristics of a newsroom to a brand’s marketing department, it is simply impossible to properly execute.  First of all, people don’t expect unbiased content from brands, in fact, 85-90% of consumers don’t trust posts by brands on social media.  I mean even the title says you’re going to get biased content – BRAND newsroom.

Secondly, brands simply can’t afford to put dozens of people on creating content.  Newsrooms work like a (mostly) well oiled machine – editors, producers, reporters, photographers, anchors, directors etc. all working together quickly and smoothly to produce an incredible amount of content in a short amount of time.

What would it take for brands to do the same?  Here is a great breakdown of a study by Kapost and Eloqua – essentially we’re talking $11,000+ per month for a mid sized group.  That is just to get started and there aren’t many organizations willing to spend that kind of money on one piece of their marketing strategy every month.

Finally, the biggest piece of being a newsroom is that all of the information you share is new.  When you’re a brand, you’ve got a  specialized area of focus and unfortunately you can’t just run out to the scene and talk to a police officer to get new information.  Brands can continue to generate new, high quality content but it takes time and research to develop.

In all honesty, I understand that brands don’t think they should have a literal newsroom, but even using the word newsroom implies the wrong focus.  We are talking branding here right?  Well someone needs to re-brand “brand newsrooms”.

Why not brand think tanks?  Content hubs? At the end of the day brand newsrooms are a great idea, but the concept needs to be appropriately adopted to fit brand capabilities.

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