Most organizations consider it essential to have dynamic newsrooms these days, downplaying press releases in favor of journalism-style content.
But how easy is it for others to share what your organization is up to on social media? In an online world that runs at warp speed, are you getting the most out of the people who read your posts or watch your videos?
“Social media sharing is the lifeblood of our newsroom content,” says Jake Jacobson, director of public relations at Children’s Mercy Kansas City. “Whether we’re working with media coverage—the ‘In The News’ section—or content we’ve created—’Our Stories’— we rely on our highly active social media channels to spread the word.”
Social media, boosted by a social-friendly newsroom, helps readers share stories with their friends and followers, thereby driving traffic to Shepherd Center, an Atlanta-based brain and spinal cord injury rehabilitation center.
“Using social media to boost Shepherd Center’s content allows us to cost-effectively reach a much broader audience than if we just hosted content on our website,” says Kerry Ludlam, associate director of public relations at the center.
Here are some ways your newsroom can encourage such sharing:
1. Make it easy to quote and share.
Most organizations’ websites include buttons that make it easy to “like” and share their content on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and other platforms. Take it a step further, making it easy for readers to share quotes from your stories, and you’ll gain an advantage over most websites—and even mainstream news sites.
Shepherd Center frequently writes about successes, such as a former patient who speaks at high schools about making safe and smart decisions around cars.
A reader impressed or moved by a quote—say, “The doctor who treated Andrew while he was in a coma … said his prognosis ranged from ‘Andrew 100 percent’ to ‘he never wakes up'”—can simply highlight it and tweet it or share it on LinkedIn (a function PressPage enables).
2. Offer expertise your audience is looking for.
Recently Children’s Mercy featured its Parent Support Program coordinators in its intensive care nursery in a story that suggested 10 things you can do to help “when a friend’s baby is in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.”
The article was targeted toward the consumer audience, but the writer’s daughter spent time in Children’s Mercy NICU, “so she’s able to appreciate and empathize with the parents’ perspectives as well as the caregivers,” Jacobson says.
News media coverage turned this into one of Children’s Mercy’s more popular posts on Facebook that month, with nearly 300 likes and more than 140 shares. By reaching 23,000 people and sparking 4,300 engagements—all organic, no paid support—more than half of the nearly 3,000 visits to the hospital’s newsroom were driven from Facebook.
The success of this post “reinforced that when we’re talking to the right audience—in this case, our moms—with helpful content and knowledgeable experts they can relate to, the best way to get them engaged with the story is through social media,” Jacobson says.
3. Unleash your employees.
SAS , a North Carolina-based software analytics company, recently encouraged its social media team to use the organization’s employee base to drive share of voice by recommending certain content on social media, says Kirsten Hamstra, senior global social media manager.
SAS rallied its 14,300-strong workforce, including 600 employee advocates who are trained on social media. The organization suggested hashtags to promote the company’s expertise in AI and machine learning, setting a challenge of increasing share of voice 20 percent.
— Alex Kwiatkowski (@alexkwiatkowski) November 23, 2018
“We performed extremely well, reaching the challenge,” Hamstra says.
Many hospitals use this approach. OhioHealth tells how its emergency clinical resource team runs practice drills in case of mass casualty events. Cook Children’s Health Care System in Fort Worth, Texas, recalls a teen who leaves a mark on nurses who cared for her through cancer journey.
“If you walk into a room and see a 6-month-old child, and it doesn’t make you beam, you shouldn’t go into pediatrics,” one physician says.
4. Maximize your supporters.
Few people—inside your organization or out—will spout talking points from your mission statement. They will share something that relates to their own lives.
“A key thing with this is that people generally want their messaging to be ‘all about them,’ not ‘all about you,'” says content marketer Lin Grensing-Pophal, adding, “If they see the benefit to them or their organization, they’re more likely to share.”
Shepherd Center’s pre-Thanksgiving tweet promoting a podcast expressing gratitude for caregivers drew shares and likes recently:
We are so grateful for the amazing #caregivers in our lives! In this podcast, Deborah Backus, director of #MS research at @ShepherdCenter discusses recognizing and addressing the impact of caregiving.https://t.co/VuiYhqMmAR
— Shepherd Center (@ShepherdCenter) November 23, 2018
5. Spin a yarn.
Few people are going to share that talking point you crafted, but they will remember a story of selflessness that subtly underscores your mission.
“You’re more likely to remember it and retell it as a consumer and an audience member if you hear it as a story than if you hear it as an announcement or a press release or a tag line,” says Jacobson.
Take, for example, the story of a Children’s Mercy nurse who donated a kidney to a friend:
Christa Jordan had several reasons not to donate a kidney a few months ago.
She had just gotten married, and her husband was about to start graduate school. And her brother might need a kidney some day.
But the Children’s Mercy Hospital nurse had one very good reason to donate: a patient who also happened to be her friend needed a kidney, and she had one to give.
6. Provide quality content.
You can tweak your site all you like, but if you can’t offer interesting content, don’t expect even your most loyal followers to wrap a LinkedIn post around it. On the other hand, quality content boosts your reputation.
Says Pophal, “You become known as an expert or go-to resource in a particular area, which will lead to new business, clients and customers.” Building a great newsroom for your brand stories shouldn’t be complicated. PressPage is an online newsroom software that makes building and running your newsroom a quick and painless process, so you can focus on telling the stories that matter to you. See how PressPage empowers public relations professionals to do their best work every day.