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Starting a News Service for Your Industry

I sat on a panel yesterday with best-selling author and speaker David Meerman Scott, where David talked at length on the concept of Real-Time Marketing and PR (check out his book here and see him speak at Content Marketing World here).

Your Future Home Page

Two points resonated with me:

  1. That all websites in the future will look like news sites, similar to and the Wall Street Journal online.
  2. That the idea of creating content marketing in the form of a news service is public relations. It’s also marketing.  It’s also social media.

What does it mean to start a news service?

Simply put, it means that you become the media company for your industry niche and your customers. For example, if you were a manufacturer that targeted plant managers, you would be covering issues like:

  • The latest research on plant quality issues
  • What plant managers around the world are doing to enhance productivity
  • Companies that are expanding, contracting and why this is important to the plant manager

Every day, as part of your overall marketing, you cover the industry.  You become the go-to source on everything that happens in your market…and as you become better at it, you could rival the leading publishers in your industry.

Is a News Service Social Media, PR or Marketing?

Yes. The benefits of a news service solve social media, PR and marketing objectives. For example, your news content will be shared and syndicated through social media channels [social media].  Because you are the news source, other media outlets will begin to pick up your stories [public relations].  Your content will be linked to and rise up the search engine ranks [marketing] and ultimately people will find you and buy from you [sales].

Do You Have a Choice?

If we’ve learned anything, we know that having a content marketing mindset does not mean that you stop your advertising, exhibiting at trade shows or other developing other marketing campaigns. But when it comes to online, getting attention means providing ongoing, helpful solutions.  Every day that goes by, this becomes more the case.

Will creating industry news be a cost of doing business – for any business?  I think it might.

How Do I Start a News Service?

Here’s a cheat sheet to getting started:

  1. Get a content strategy. Don’t just create content for content’s sake. Be sure that you understand how this could help your business, how it integrates with the rest of your marketing, and how, at least in the beginning, you can measure performance.
  2. Get a chief content officer…a person like a chief editor in a publishing operation that understands the needs of the reader and can champion the story in your organization. Content is owned by all departments in an organization in some way (PR, Marketing, Social Media, Search, etc.), but you need someone to bring it all together.
  3. Make an executive commitment that, as part of being the leading provider of widget A, B or C, that you dedicate your organization to becoming the leading informational resource for your customers and prospects. Content programs with executive support are 300% more likely to succeed.
  4. Get your employees involved in the effort. Find the 10-15% that see the promise of this initiative and feel it could enhance their careers.
  5. Get systems in place.  Content management systems, marketing automation/CRM, insourced or outsourced editorial, etc.
  6. Think 10 to 1. One story can be repurposed and repackaged into many pieces of engaging content.  As part of your content strategy, understand, as a process, how one article can be a blog post, a tweet, a facebook post, a slideshare presentation, part of a white paper, a case study and so on.  Planning up front makes this work.  Not planning makes this impossible.

All that said, most senior marketers still look at something like this as a risk.  It’s new.  There are no standard measurement systems for it.  Fear is completely reasonable.

Today you have the time to think about it, but know that your competitors are trying to figure this out right now. Simply put, you can’t afford to wait too long.