At two of my early journalism gigs, I encountered assignment desk editors who would crumble press releases and three-point them into the nearest trash bin if they didn’t follow accepted submission protocol. Leave out the “–30–” or the triple-hash at the end of the page? Binned. Miss the “FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE” at the head? Chucked.
As a filter, the process worked. We didn’t have the Internet then, so if you wanted to get your community announcement or your guest expert on the air, knowing the protocol meant you were serious. It wasn’t worth a production assistant’s time to track down—by phone—the missing details about your event or the permission asset required to broadcast your quotes.
Corporate social media has changed the game, but only somewhat. Even Google prefers to communicate directly to its audience using a company blog. Journalists can use email or Twitter to quickly confirm a post’s legitimacy, and we can safely assume that you’re publishing for the purpose of getting the word out about something.
Just as writing press releases forced you to adhere to a format, corporate blogging now requires its own set of best practices:
- Coherent copy that matches the brand voice you’ve established.
- Brief paragraphs that read more like conversations instead of memos.
- Call-outs to statistics and facts that back up your claims.
- Coordinates for the person or team that issued the information.
- A clean layout that puts your message front and center.
When Lori and I started talking to our clients and prospects about our next generation of content strategy service at 2820 Press, we heard how many small business owners struggled with this aspect of their corporate social media program. A “free” WordPress theme loaded one client’s site with unwanted banner ads. A prospect faced feedback—something his team was afraid to say—that he wrote 1,200 words with no paragraph breaks. The things they did to make themselves look legitimate on social media actually detracted from their online presence.
Company owners and marketing specialists think different by design. It takes a rare skill set to juggle both roles. (Think Guy Kawasaki or Richard Branson.) That’s why we’re extending our content marketing service to just those clients who are brave enough to commit themselves to running their businesses full-time, while letting an experienced team handle their managed communication and owned media including company blogs and social media amplification campaigns. You’re not giving up control when you hire a corporate blogging specialist to communicate with your audience. In fact, you’re gaining the ability to focus on your strengths: directing your writers to tell stories about your passion in ways you might not expect.
P.S.: Because I still know some of those assignment desk editors, we now include earned media consulting in our content strategy package. You never know when you’ll need to communicate with an old-school journalist.