Checklist for launching your brand journalism newsroom

From audits to launch plan, here’s what you need to think about.

How to build your brand newsroom

Brand journalism is a new frontier of PR, one that pros only expect to grow in coming years.

But when you’re launching your newsroom, it can feel overwhelming.

Don’t worry. You got this.

Ragan Consulting Group has put together a checklist to help you break down the task into smaller steps. This isn’t a fast or short process — this certainly isn’t a checklist you’ll complete in a day or even a few months. But use it to stay on track and guide your work overtime and you’ll see that this is completely doable.

It starts with understanding what you currently are doing and what your audience needs in the future. You’ll assess your current people resources and figure out how each will contribute to this newsroom, whether as a full-time job or as an occasional collaborator.

You’ll move on to setting up your editorial processes and understanding how work will flow from reporters to editors to the public. Will editors assign stories? Will reporters pitch? What is the editing process like? Will freelancers be involved? This is the time to work out all those details.

Then it’s time to make sure everyone has adequate training on all the things they’ll need to be successful, from writing to videos to the all-important measurement.

Next, consider where all this content will live. Will you revamp your current press site? Build something entirely new on a standalone platform? And how will you change your media relations strategy in light of this new tool?

Finally, it’s time for the good part: testing, a rollout plan and introducing your plan to the world.

Adapt this checklist for your own needs. Don’t be afraid to scale up or down based on your own ambitions, budget and staffing. Then get out there and tell stories.

Discovery and organization

  1. Audit of current channels
  2. Analysis of audiences
  3. Assessment of news team
    1. Newsroom structure
    2. Skills and training needs
    3. Roles and responsibilities
  4. News desk set up
    1. Monthly, weekly and daily participants
    2. Collaboration with marketing and internal comms

Editorial process and policy

  1. Assignments, deadlines and editors
  2. Editorial standards and guidelines
  3. Freelancers
  4. Approvals and workflow

Training and execution

  1. Practice, practice, practice
    1. But with real stories
  2. Writing and editing training
  3. Video training
  4. Infographics
  5. Measurement

News platform

  1. Concept and design
  2. Features and navigation (including a name)
  3. News Feed
  4. Integration with other channels
  5. Revised pitching strategy

Testing, marketing and launch

  1. User testing
  2. Marketing plan
  3. Soft launch internally
  4. Full launch


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