Why every business can benefit from corporate newsrooms

Instilling newsroom culture into a business will maximise the effectiveness of its corporate communications, the co-founders of corporate comms agency Stampa argued in yesterday’s Cision webinar.

James Curtis and Abigail Levene said that every business can follow the lead of brands like Coca-Cola and ING to start treating their comms departments like media organisations.

“We believe the time is right for this because it helps companies deal with big corporate changes,” Curtis said. “The companies that embrace the newsroom culture are really only just beginning to discover the possibilities it opens up.

“It can really drive a change in culture, which puts communications in a more central role. At the same time, it will drive higher engagement, understanding and trust.”

To help you reap the benefits a corporate newsroom could bring to your business, here’s a breakdown of the key takeaways from this exclusive Cision event.

Why corporate comms can emulate journalism

A corporate newsroom is essentially a central hub that uses journalistic processes and standards to manage sophisticated internal and external comms programmes.

Curtis argued that adopting this model increases the effectiveness of corporate comms programmes by bringing them in line with what consumers expect from the media they engage with.

“This can be a pretty big mindset shift for people in the corporate world,” added Levene. “Your readers are your clients. Your client is not the business department that comes to you and says ‘I want you to profile my work’.”

To achieve this shift in culture, Levene recommended implementing strict editorial guidelines to help staff identify a good story.

She also stressed the importance of relationship building at all levels of the business and suggested assigning different “beats” or departments to each member of the content team to help them uncover stories efficiently.

How Coca-Cola embraced the corporate newsroom

One business that has fully embraced the idea of a corporate newsroom Coca-Cola, which Stampa works with. The FMCG giant relaunched its traditional corporate website as Coca-Cola Journey in 2012, transforming its comms programmes in the process.

“Journey is one of the best examples of how a corporate newsroom can work,” Curtis explained. “It’s all about bringing the company, its brand and its values to life through stories. It’s a fully fledged media channel.”

After the success of its global launch, Cola-Cola has since launched over 30 localised versions of the Journey initiative – providing it with a global publishing network.

Levene also singled out Dutch bank ING as a business which has applied this model to make its content more engaging.

“Every business can and should be doing this”

When asked if some companies might just be too boring to run an effective corporate newsroom, Curtis said this simply isn’t the case.

He singled out ING’s A Step Ahead video series – which sees ING clients talk about an important step in their life or business – as a great example of how to take dry subject matter and make it human.

“Every organisation that has people, and every organisation has people, is by definition interesting,” he said. “I love these examples from ING about the baker’s daughter and the fisherman, because that’s a fantastic example of what we’re talking about.

“We’re talking about structured finance here. That’s very dense, complicated stuff. But they’ve managed to find really interesting stories with real people whose lives have been affected by the organisation.”

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