Brand journalism, promoted through social media, can be a great way to engage audiences.
No company succeeds with both practices better than Cisco, which won a PR Daily Digital and Social Media award this year for its technology news site, The Network. The site features breaking tech industry news and company content, ranging from blog posts to videos.
Cisco digital content lead Kirsten Chiala takes us behind the scenes and reveals how the content team consistently delivers award-winning brand journalism—and how you can do the same:
1. Increase social media reach using internal ambassadors. Appoint a team of internal ambassadors who will promote your brand journalism content via online networks.
How to select your internal ambassadors? Anyone who wants to get involved should be part of the team, Chiala says. “Offer them social media training, and let them choose what content topic areas they’re most interested in sharing across social media.”
Cisco delivers pre-written social media posts to its ambassadors based on their preferred topics of interest. Every tweet or social media post is cut-and-paste ready and includes an image.
“It’s one-stop shopping,” Chiala says. “The posts are customized for each social media platform, whether it’s Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook.”
Register for PR Daily’s Dec. 17 PR University webinar “Classified and Digital PR and Social Media: Inspiring New Ideas from the Top Campaigns of 2015” to learn award-winning social media practices guaranteed to help you stay ahead of competitors.
2. Align your editorial calendar with industry events. Chiala’s team scours leading tech trade sitesfor upcoming industry events. Feature articles and blog posts are then assigned to correspond with those calendar items.
“There’s a security conference in January, so we know that’s going to be a big topic,” Chiala says. “Cyber Monday and the holiday shopping season have also been good times to insert ourselves into conversations around online security.”
She recommends filling editorial calendars months in advance. For example, “Cyber security will again be a hot topic when back-to-school shopping starts in August,” she says, “so we’re already planning accordingly.”
3. Act like a news staff—conduct editorial meetings. A strong brand journalism program warrants an editorial calendar supported by frequent editorial meetings.
The Cisco team meets twice a week to review its calendar. “Regular checkpoints with the team are a must—just like in a newsroom,” says Chiala. Cisco holds informal daily 10-minute briefings in addition to its weekly meetings.
Cisco uses online project management tool WorkFront to manage its editorial calendars and meetings.
“What’s neat is that it lets us see other Cisco teams’ calendars,” Chiala says. “It allows for alignment and a broader view of what’s going on within our company.”
Brian Pittman is a Ragan Communications consultant and webinar manager for PR Daily’s PR University. Ragan Award winners Kirsten Chiala, digital content lead at Cisco; Whitney Press, account manager at Ketchum PR; and Samantha Kerstetter, marketing director and social media manager at OrganikSEO will share more social media strategies in the Dec. 17 PR University webinar, “Classified and Digital PR and Social Media: Inspiring New Ideas from Top Campaigns of 2015.”