There’s a lot of confusion over the concepts of the brand newsroom and sponsored content, which has created similar reputational paradoxes for each: they’re both self-promotional and at the same time extremely valuable. However, a company newsroom should not randomly redirect the attention of an event onto the brand itself, but rather it should be strategically creating relevant content when necessary. And this week we’ve seen a great example in the American Red Cross, who exhibited the right ways in which brand ‘journalists’ and paid content can be used.

The constant news coverage of the recent bombing of the Boston Marathon was tremendous. As the facts of the story developed, individual accounts of what actually happened began to surface; stories grew from the horror of what occurred to the astonishing accounts of people helping the fallen; of first responders bringing people to safety; of doctors saving the wounded; of marathoners changing course to hospitals in order to give blood—and in each of these scenarios, we find instances of hope.

And as I remained glued to my twitter feed for the latest updates in Boston, I was intrigued by my top tweet, which was a sponsored one presented by the American Red Cross:

I saw many other sponsored posts yesterday, all of which were the self-promotional type that typically find their way onto my Twitter feed.

But I was glad—and surprised—to see the American Red Cross communicate so efficiently on a platform typically used by brands showcasing their latest product. By taking advantage of technology that’s available to millions of users, the Red Cross shared an important message to thank all of those who immediately donated blood and let everyone know that the demand was met. And they made sure the message didn’t get lost.

Although we saw a less substantial example of the brand newsroom in Oreo’s ad during the Super Bowl back in January, the Red Cross unveiled a new level of importance and necessity of lightning-speed communication. It may be a heavier example than its baked predecessor, but there’s great value in seeing all of the ground breaking ways in which sponsored content and a brand newsroom can be used for the greater good, or at least to the true benefit of the audience.

While we hope there will never be a recurring instance of the marathon bombings, we can follow the path chartered by the American Red Cross to bring valuable content to the masses. Whether we’re educating the public on the latest in healthcare or marketing best practices, we must always remain audience-centric.