Truth: The pace of information in 2014 is mother-effing fast. People who choose to be informed have news at their fingertips every hour of every day. When someone informs you of news that you saw an hour before, you likely think that the person is hopelessly behind. Perhaps you even judge their intelligence. And this speedy reality leads to an important question for organizations as they execute their content strategy – how fast should you go?
What should your editorial metabolism be?
The pace of business demands that communications teams today move significantly faster than they have in the past. Some conservative professions have really struggled with this – professional services firms often create “alerts” for their clients, consisting of news and analysis of news developments that the clients need to be aware of. Quite frankly, these alerts are often laughably late – coming a week after the latest Supreme Court decision that was on every news outlet in the country. If you miss the moment, it’s gone. It ain’t coming back. So, yes, pace matters.
Meanwhile, Real Time Marketing – RTM – gets a lot of attention, as brands try to emulate Oreo’s Super Bowl. Clearly, delivering content online requires agility. But does that mean you need to be frantic? Not necessarily, although you probably need to move more quickly than in the past.
There are several different types of newsrooms. And while the rise of the Internet has caused them to become less differentiated than they once were, they’re still defined by distinct editorial metabolisms. The big news organizations focus on breaking news – speed is critical for them and they fight tooth and nail to be first with a story. Typically these are broadcast newsrooms, and they obviously garner a significant share of voice in the mediascape.
Newspaper newsrooms typically move at a more measured pace; they’re more analytical than those broadcasters who live on 20-second reports. Historically, they’ve delivered next day analysis – not a bad model for brands to emulate.
Magazine newsrooms move at a different pace; they don’t have hourly or daily deadline pressure. They focus on longer form content that is typically more impactful (and it had better be).
For most brands, raw traffic isn’t all that important – eyeballs alone are not going to help you grow your business. For most brands executing a content strategy, quality of visitors is more important than quantity of visitors. It’s better to drive the conversation forward rather than just report on what’s happening. News has become a commodity that we get fed on Twitter; smart analysis is worth much more today. Explanatory journalism has become the sexy thing – the ability to go deep on a topic is being rewarded.
Here’s what I believe to be the most important factor in determining your editorial metabolism: The right editorial metabolism for your organization is an extension of your brand personality. The pace of content must align with who you are as an organization.
Determining the right editorial metabolism is a critical part of your content strategy; it helps to shape your processes, the people you hire, and how you present the content to the audience.
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