Newsroom

Your personal newsroom calls for authentic, purposeful engagement

Chris AbrahamIf you read your local newspaper or a typical magazine, you’ll realize that most journalism is specialized. You have your columns, reporting, reviews, editorials, letters to the editor, and ombudsman. However, most companies don’t have the volume or diversity of news required to need such staffing.

That said, enough does go on each and every day in your office, among your staff, in your business, in your industry, with you and your very own personal brand that you need to cover the entire newsroom on your own, including the advertising and publicity (because like the news, everything comes down to driving revenue, and if you can’t prove that all the time, energy, and resources you’re spending online aren’t feeding sales, your one-man-social-media-band is not long for this world.)

Let me break it down.

I would start by saying tone down the shameless self-promotion that you’re incessantly dropping into your streams and onto your walls, but I have a feeling you’re not being aggressive enough. Why? Because I don’t think that most social media experts, consultants, and gurus recommend being aggressive enough.

Become your own personal newsroom

Ultimately, you need to become a reporter of your own facts. You need to lead your followers deep into who you are, what you do, what products and services you can, have, and do offer. You need to make sure you use your platform — your own personal newsroom, your own personal media empire.

It’s OK because that’s part of what makes you interesting: what you do, what you can do, and who you are.

The content on your website — about your company or brand, who you are, what you do, products, services, case studies, client lists — can be woven into what you discuss on a daily basis, interspersed with other news and content that come from other departments of your newsroom.

How would I write that stuff up so I don’t sound like a self-promotional, self-loving jerk? Be objective. What I would say is that you should report the facts, ma’am, only the facts, even if the facts reflect the work, experience, products, services, staff, and culture of you and your company.

It’s amazing how much time and energy is spent developing witty commentary and narrative outside of what you, your brand, and your company actually do. Too much time is spent being cute, coy, playful, and timely; riding the meme-wave, if you will, instead of getting down to business and giving the people what they want.

Consumers are hungry for engagement

People are tired of just playing peekaboo. People are a lot more earnest and hungry for real news, worthwhile content, and a spirited conversation — not just the razzle dazzle or the dance of the seven veils that you may think. Bombast and titilation have their place, but people grow tired of the same old tricks and eventually want something more, especially if you’re not actually TMZ or Rush.

In addition to wanting to know more about what you do, who you are, what you know, and how you can help, people follow you on social media in order to engage with you. They have questions, concerns, problems. People also come to you to find out what you think. They come by to see if you have an opinion or analysis of what’s going on in your space.

And it is your opportunity, every day, to offer your unique insight into what’s going on in the news. Sadly, most people spend more time sharing other peoples’ news, analysis, critiques, and insights hoping that the quality of news that they curate from others into their own social media stream says a lot about them. Sometimes that’s indeed true; however, the real value-add in this scenario is when the reshare, reblog, and retweet isn’t just a carbon copy but offers additional commentary, analysis, or personal color-commentary.

Analyze, teach and share

TEaching

People come to you not for your curation and aggregation skills but for your take on things. Many people criticize newspapers circa 2013 because they’ve become news aggregators for nationally syndicated content, AP wire news, and barely doctored press releases. Spending a little time taking the news that’s coming across your news desk and putting your own personal spin on it is essential to your success and the value of your voice in a very noisy social mediasphere.

Listen to your followers, who will give you opportunities to expand upon your ideas, to refine your insights, and to learn more about your clients and brand fans

This is indeed less possible on Twitter where we’re only offered a paltry 140 characters but blogs, Facebook, Tumblr, Google+, and even Pinterest allow hundreds of characters, plenty of room to go into quite a sophisticated analysis.

And finally, there’s the role of editor, teacher and ombudsman. After you’ve spent some serious time out there producing opinionated, brave, smart, and insightful content, you’re likely to get questions, queries, concerns, misunderstandings, and request for more, specific, content.

It’s time to listen, now — and listen carefully. Your followers will not only tell you what they need, want, and dislike, but they’ll also give you many opportunities to expand upon your ideas, to refine your thoughts and insights, and to learn more about your current clients and brand fans but you’ll have an opportunity to listen to what your natural business prospects are interested in and be able to sell towards that.

No matter how much social media experts and gurus talk about the traditional media as being broadcast-only, newsrooms have always depended upon their community to provide them news, traffic reports, leads, human interest stories, letters to the editors, and local community news.

In many case, at a macro scale, you’re now a publisher. You are your own personal newsroom and while you might want to keep the reins in and keep your own media empire relatively modest for now, you still need to think more in terms of engaging with your community in a real way instead if just entertaining and amusing them.

And that’s the way it is.

Chris Abraham is a partner in Socialmedia.biz. Contact Chris via email, follow him on Twitter and Google Plus

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