7 essential parts of an online newsroom

The job of your online newsroom is to become the go-to resource for journalists and other influencers who want the latest updates and information on your organisation.

That means your newsroom is the first thing journalists see when they interact with your organisation and making a great impression is crucial. To help you set the standard, here are seven things your newsroom must include.

1. Press Releases
Perhaps the most obvious, but it allows you to post all your company news in one place. Your news doesn’t just cover latest announcements but also background details, facts and quotes.

2. Media library
Journalists and bloggers need easy access to high quality images and videos to support their articles. Making this easy will save you both a lot of time.

3. Contacts
List as many members of the PR team as possible including phone numbers and email addresses. The easier it is for a journalist to reach the right person to get the information they need, the better your relationship with them will be.

4. Social media profiles
Including your social media feeds ensures any breaking news and current conversation is visible in your newsroom. Embed or link to your organisation’s twitter account.

5. Company information
Include a section or link to your company about page. Make sure it has an overview of the company, the work you do and your key people.

6. Search
Over time your content builds up into a valuable library of information. You can allow journalists to quickly pick out historical facts, figures and dates for their articles with an easy to use search tool.

7. Analytics
Knowing how successful your posts are can ensure you know what style of release or content is reaching the most people at what times and in which locations. Add your Google Analytics tracking to your newsroom to see where visitors have come from.

If your stats are lower than expected don’t be disheartened. The more important thing is that your story resonates with your intended audience through the coverage gained with journalists and influencers.

By making it as easy as possible for the media to source news, facts, quotes, background and high-res images you’re removing obstacles to getting your brand coverage.

Ready to make a great impression? Easily publish press releases, images and collateral of all kinds to an optimised, customised and integrated Vuelio Online Newsroom.

Press release

6 steps to write a press release

The press release remains the PR’s choice for distributing news and communicating with the media. Whether you’re tweeting your news or publishing online for search engines and digital audiences, there are six points to follow to ensure your release gets the attention it deserves.

1. Have something to say
The most important step: have some real news to share. What is your company/client doing differently to everyone else? Has this story happened before in your industry? While the appointment of a new HR director might be big news in your organisation, it’s unlikely to spark much excitement externally. However, if your new HR director is implementing an innovative people management scheme, then this could be news.

2. Know your audience
Before you attempt to build a target media list, get to know your audience. Who are you trying to reach? This will enable you to target the right journalists and influencers. The more relevant your news is to their style and audience, the better the chance is of them covering it.

3. Get to the point quickly
Journalists and influencers receive hundreds of releases a day so write a snappy headline and put the story highlights at the beginning. Use the headline as the subject line if you’re emailing your release, which will help the recipient quickly work out that it’s relevant to them. Use this momentum and get to the point in the first paragraph – who, what, when, where, why and how – keeping their attention.

4. Use quotes to add colour but put them in the right place
Quotes can help explain the ‘why’ of your story. Really think about using quotes from experts that add to or move the story on. Quotes appear towards the end of your press release after the facts have been established.

5. Follow the press release template

  1. Headline
  2. All the relevant points in the first paragraph
  3. More detail in the second and third
  4. Quotes
  5. Contact details for more information
  6. Notes to the Editor with extra information that provide some background
  7. Boiler plate explaining what the company (or companies) does and how it describes itself

6. Prepare for follow up
When following up your press release, be ready to provide answers to any questions the journalist has and give time frames for getting back to them. It’s also a good idea to have supporting materials and spokespeople ready for providing extra comment or interviews.

Ready to send a press release but don’t have the right tools? The Vuelio Media Database lists thousands of journalists, editors and influencers with detailed biographies and contact information, and Vuelio Distribution lets you reach them all at the click of a button.

Cats Protection

How Vuelio helped Cats Protection save time and money

Cats Protection is the UK’s leading feline welfare charity with a nationwide network of over 250 volunteer-run branches, 36 centres and over 100 charity shops that together helps around 200,000 cats and kittens each year.

We spoke to Kate Angel, Media Assistant at Cats Protection, who talked us through the charity’s need for a new solution and explained how Vuelio had saved them time and money. 

Cats Protection’s Media Team promotes the charity throughout the UK and provides PR support for volunteers and other departments. The team sends out a daily Media Update to the network that summarises news stories from print, online and broadcast outlets that have featured Cats Protection or are relevant to the charity in some other way.

The charity uses Vuelio Media Monitoring to source the stories using a list of keywords that is continually reviewed. It also uses Vuelio to send out press releases, for media contact management, evaluation on a monthly basis, and for specific communications campaigns.

The Challenge
Prior to working with Vuelio, Cats Protection used a different supplier that was ‘more expensive and less innovative’. The charity found that it was rarely using the supplier to send out press releases as the method was clunky.

The Solution
Cats Protection got quotes from three suppliers prior to its contract with its previous supplier ending. It was given a demo of Vuelio and shown what it could do – the team was looking for a one-stop-shop, which Vuelio was able to offer. The price was a big factor as well as Canvas, which allows Cats Protection to display its coverage in a modern, visually attractive and user-friendly way. The team is also now able to track the success of press releases and campaigns more effectively.

Benefits and Results
The team now use Vuelio to send out all its press releases and find it helpful to see the tracking of how many have been opened. The contacts and influencer functions are more detailed than the charity’s previous supplier.

The hourly coverage alerts mean the team is able to see coverage when it appears, and the reporting process is much improved with Canvas.

Looking for a one-stop comms software solution to save you time and money? Find out more about Vuelio

Vuelio are exhibiting at B2B Marketing Expo 2019

On 27 and 28 March, the ExCeL Centre will transform into Europe’s leading marketing event, B2B Marketing Expo. Exhibiting on stand 2212, the Vuelio team will be ready to answer any questions about our portfolio of products, from the market-leading journalist enquiry service to our fully integrated communications suite.

You’ll find the Vuelio stand close to three masterclasses, including digital marketing, customer acquisition and empowering your ecommerce, so why not get up to speed with the latest marketing theory and visit our stand all in one trip!

With hundreds of other exhibitors to visit at B2B Marketing Expo this year you’ll need to make sure you’ve got a solid plan, so you don’t miss anyone out.

And we’ll be running a special competition for a chance to win £100 for a charity of your choice. Just speak to any member of the Vuelio team – you can’t miss us.

Unable to make it this year? Follow @Vuelio and stay up to date with the latest news, events and blog posts.

Photo of Cardiff University building

Transforming public affairs at Cardiff University

Building, developing and keeping track of corporate relationships with different stakeholders is a challenge often faced by anyone working in public affairs. Whether you’re faced with losing vital information when an individual leaves or lacking a central place to log every interaction, the small issues can build into a bigger headache.

Ed Bridges, public affairs manager at Cardiff University, told us about the challenges faced in his team and how Vuelio has ‘transformed and professionalised’ the University’s approach to public affairs.

Find out more about our public affairs services

Cardiff University

The challenge

While the University has historically had good relationships with our political stakeholders, the management of those contacts had at times been haphazard. Valuable contacts were sometimes lost when individuals left the University, key interactions were often not recorded, and it was sometimes hard to evaluate the level of interest/take-up from stakeholders in our work. Previous attempts at using a database to manage these contacts hadn’t worked, primarily because we had tried to tag Public Affairs onto databases which were more appropriate for sales or marketing.

The solution

After looking around for an appropriate solution, it quickly became apparent to us that Vuelio was not only the best database for our needs, but would significantly enhance the work of the team. We were particularly impressed by the level of information available on the Vuelio Database about our stakeholders. This has allowed us to do things like identifying groups of politicians interested in particular areas of our research and target briefings to them.

The database also had as much data for political stakeholders at a devolved level as it did for those in Westminster – something which, for us, was a key requirement. We have also been consistently impressed by the level of technical support we have received from Vuelio, which is allowing us to get the most out of the system.

Benefits and results

In the four months we’ve been using Vuelio, we have been able to track how many and which stakeholders have been opening and reading our briefings, and tailor/improve them accordingly. We have also been able to put steps in place to ensure that interactions with key stakeholders are properly recorded so there is a lasting record of who has met with the University (and, just as importantly, so we can identify who hasn’t).

Are you ready to transform your public affairs strategy? Fill in this form and we’ll be in touch.

Fred

How Vuelio improved Fred Marketing’s media outreach

Fred Marketing is a full-service marketing agency based in Hull. We spoke to Mat Ombler, PR Account Manager at Fred, who told us how Vuelio is a ‘blessing’ for the agency’s media outreach, with accurate information in the influencer database and a responsive platform to help prove ROI to clients. 

Fred Marketing
One of our core services is PR and we distribute a lot of press releases as a result. We needed access to a database of media contacts that’s regularly updated with useful information to help us tailor any pitches accordingly. We also needed a responsive platform to help us pull coverage reports quickly and efficiently with as much detailed information as possible to show the value of our PR activity to clients. And we wanted to monitor keywords related to our clients and keep an eye on what other businesses in our clients’ sectors are up to.

The Challenge
We struggled with our previous media database supplier because the platform was very slow and unresponsive, making it very difficult to search for contacts as well as create and distribute press releases. We also found that contacts on the platform weren’t being regularly updated – in one case we discovered a reporter had left the publication we believed he was working at six months ago! Any problems we did report usually took a long time to get a response back to – at least two to three working days.

Since moving to Vuelio we’ve felt more in control of our PR and saved a significant amount of time. The team coded all of our press release templates into HTML, making all of our communications consistent and on-brand, as well as saving us time.

The Solution
The initial demo of the product was great and one of the main things that stood out to us was how detailed the information was on individual contacts on the platform. We were also surprised to see an editorial calendar containing feature lists for a variety of different publications, both offline and in print, saving us a lot of time for forward planning.

The account management and support overall has been fantastic, completely overshadowing our previous supplier. Any problems we do encounter on the platform are quickly resolved within a few hours. We receive a response within the hour for any enquiries we have– although it’s usually minutes! Knowing that there’s someone at the other end of the platform who is there to support you really makes a big difference and makes you feel valued. The onboarding process and training process for new staff members here has been fantastic too.

Benefits and Results
Finding the right contacts is now much easier than ever before and we no longer feel like we have to cross check every single contact with their social media platforms to ensure they’re still working at the place the platform says they are!

Because the platform doesn’t crash and works quickly, it’s saved us a lot of valuable time.

Vuelio is a blessing when it comes to media engagement, providing us with the information we need on who to contact, how to contact them and when to contact them.

 

Find out more about how Vuelio saves clients time and money here

The Press Release Bluleprint

4 Simple Steps for Writing a Killer Press Release

Despite the rise of digital and social media, the basic principles of a press release still hold true more than 100 years after the first PR communication was composed.

In our latest guide, The Press Release Blueprint, we outline the four essential steps that you should take every time your write a press release in order to gain coverage and get results.

Stephen Waddington, industry influencer, blogger and partner and chief engagement officer at Ketchum, believes there are good reasons why the press release has endured in a changing media communications landscape. He said: ‘The reason press releases continue to be used despite a multitude of alternative formats is that they are well understood by organisations. It’s a common format, created through a process of iteration and approval, for communication with external publics. Everyone knows how they work.’

As the first step in our guide is to get to the point, we’ll keep you no longer. Download the guide here, and start writing the best press releases of your career.

press release blueprint feature

The Press Release Blueprint

The Press Release Blueprint cover

One of the essential building blocks of PR and media relations, the press release, has endured as a way of communicating with journalists and, more recently, digital audiences online.

Download the white paper by filling out the form below.

Pembroke and Rye

Pembroke and Rye’s Charlie Hampton on how PRs can take advantage of silly season

Silly season is the period in August when Parliament is on Summer Recess, many people are on holiday and less serious stories fill up the news agenda. While some items may be frivolous, silly season provides a great opportunity for PRs to fill column inches and score some excellent coverage for their brands and clients.

Charlie Hampton, chief client officer at Pembroke and Rye, has over 20 years’ experience in communications and now oversees the agency’s account strategies – delivering programmes for companies ranging from Panasonic to Canadian Affair. We spoke to Charlie about his approach to silly season and what PRs should do to score a summer success.

What kind of stories do well during silly season?
The relative shortage of political and business news during silly season means that stories in these two areas tend to do well. Just look at huge number of column inches that Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn have received in the past couple of weeks.

That said, the reduction in these types of story creates more space in the media overall, so many outlets have more capacity than usual for stories of any kind.

The drop in political and business news is partially rebalanced by stories such as celeb holiday news – which seems to be everywhere at this time of year! – so competition to place celeb-related stories during silly season remains as high as ever.

How does your pitching/media outreach change during silly season?
We don’t step back from pitching stories during silly season but do sometimes look to place stories that are less time-specific – especially business stories – as the media may have more space to consider them than at other times of the year.

Our media outreach changes a bit as many journalists are on holiday, and therefore working to longer lead times and deadlines, so we look to develop stories further in advance wherever possible.

What are the benefits of getting coverage when the news agenda is quieter?
In a nutshell, you have the potential to achieve wider and deeper coverage for stories than might be possible at other times of the year. A story that might result in a nib in October, could well be an article of several paras in August.

This enables comms professionals to create a bigger impact for their clients, driving greater recognition and engagement with their key stakeholder groups.

We saw this all too clearly in recent weeks when a story we’d developed on behalf of an aerospace client about a new location with the creation of new jobs was very widely covered in the industry, business and local media, and to a greater extent than would have happened after silly season.

 

Need to reach the media during silly season? Get Vuelio

How to create an award winning campaign II

How do you create an award-winning campaign that challenges consumer perceptions?

Creative PR specialist Tin Man knows how – as its recent win at the CIPR Excellence Awards shows. Its #ISeeMore campaign tackled the challenge of getting young girls to consider careers in engineering for The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET).

Join Mandy Sharp, founder and CEO of Tin Man, and Hannah Kellett, External Communications Manager, The Institution of Engineering and Technology, as they explain why the campaign worked, what it takes to win awards and what lessons can be taken from their success.

Award Winning Campaign II

Diversity in Comms – How the PR and comms industry can improve

The PR and comms industry is not diverse enough, but the Taylor Bennett Foundation is trying to change that. Taylor Bennett Foundation alumnus Kuldeep Mehmi tells his own inside story of diversity in the industry and what we can all do to improve it.

Listen to the recording to hear how Kuldeep has worked his way to the top and learn:

  • How diverse our industry truly is and why diversity matters
  • What the Taylor Bennett Foundation is doing to promote diversity and how you can help
  • How we can change attitudes to improve the PR and comms industry

Diversity in comms webinar

Crisis Comms – Lessons from Greater Manchester Police

What if a crisis is a matter of when, not if? What if it’s both unpredictable and inevitable? What can you do to make sure you expect the unexpected?

Amanda Coleman is one person who knows how to stay cool in a crisis.

As head of corporate communications at Greater Manchester Police, Amanda has been through some challenging times, including last year’s Manchester Arena terrorist attack and the August 2011 riots.

Amanda has learned valuable lessons from every crisis she’s been through and will share all of them with you on an exclusive Vuelio webinar.

Crisis Comms webinar

Amanda Coleman

5 Crisis Comms lessons with Greater Manchester Police’s Amanda Coleman

Amanda Coleman recently presented the Vuelio webinar: Crisis Comms, Lessons from Greater Manchester Police. Amanda, who is head of corporate communications at GMP, talked us through the Manchester Arena bombing and the importance of keeping people at the heart of your response.

The webinar included a live Q&A, but due to the flood of questions coming in, we didn’t have time to answer them all. Amanda has very kindly found time to answer the rest, so we can present five (additional) Crisis Comms lessons.

Can you walk us through exactly what steps you took after the Manchester Arena attack?
The on-call press officer was contacted and called me, as head of branch, to run through a tweet we were putting out to say we knew something was happening and that we would provide further updates. That was sent out without any further authorisation around 20 minutes after the first call to police.

A more detailed statement confirming it was an explosion and that there were fatalities went out 40 minutes after the first call coming in. Regular updates were provided via Twitter and the first press conference was given by the Chief Constable at 3am and then another at 7am. During the night there were four staff in and we worked closely with the operational commander to ensure we could provide accurate and timely information.

I spoke to heads of communications in key agencies including Manchester City Council, Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service, and British Transport Police during the night. In the first few hours it was about preserving and protecting life and that had to be our focus. There was so much more we did after but that gives you the initial response.

What did you learn from the Manchester attack? What didn’t go well and what would you have done differently? Did you have any issues with other public services?
With every major incident there is a huge amount of learning. For me, it is very much along the lines of what I said within the webinar: people have to be at the centre of everything, welfare must be a priority for organisations and we need to be better at recognising the impact on us as comms teams.

I was really clear about what I would have done differently on the webinar, and that is to call for mutual aid much quicker. We also needed to recognise that the national plans would not fit and the liaison between the national counter terrorism communication structures in London and us in Manchester was going to add some delays into our plans. Working with the partners and other public services was good and, because we knew each other, we were able to have open conversations from very early on in the night. We have a strong network and meet regularly, so working between services was much easier to manage.

Do you ever have situations needing internal crisis communications at Greater Manchester Police?
Yes and the approach is very similar. We need to provide an open and honest response, provide timely information and do it over the whole lifetime of the event or incident. Being visible from the top of the organisation is also critical. Above all, keep the views of the people affected at the heart of how you decide to respond.

Do you have any experience of benefiting from ‘coming clean’ before a crisis is otherwise revealed/comes to light?
Being proactive is at the heart of communication for me. We should ask why we are not providing information rather than why we should provide information. If organisations or businesses look like they are withholding information, even if it is not the situation, then it will lead to concern and will impact on confidence. We have to make sure that we are as transparent as possible even when this may be challenging.

Can you provide any examples of poor crisis comms?
This is difficult as I know that often the response we see is something that may have been challenged by comms teams but senior executives take a different approach. For me, it is anything that fails to keep people at the heart of it, and which may appear overly legalistic. Thomas Cook is one I have mentioned before in relation to the death of two children in 2006.

If you want to focus on people during a crisis, take the pain out of process. Find out more about Vuelio and how it can help. 

GDPR for Comms

GDPR is the most important change in data protection in 20 years. It affects everyone who deals with personal data, and getting it wrong is not an option.

Vuelio is delighted to partner with Rowenna Fielding, GDPR specialist at Protecture, to discuss:

  • What GDPR means for the comms industry
  • Why you need to know the difference between ‘legitimate interest’ and ‘consent’
  • How to comply and still communicate successfully

rowenna fielding gdpr

AI robot

Artificial Intelligence making PR smarter

The CIPR artificial intelligence (AI) panel has published an initial list of 95 tools that are helping to make PRs work smarter. Is anything missing?

The AI panel was founded in February to explore the impact of AI on public relations and the wider business community. Stephen Waddington, chief engagement office at Ketchum, is on the panel and said: ‘The conversation around the impact of #AIinPR on culture and society is getting louder. The new CIPR panel will aim to characterise its impact on public relations practice, workforce and conversation in the public sphere.’

The full AI panel is made up of 12 leading PR experts from a variety of backgrounds and is tasked with three projects in 2018:

  1. A crowdsourcing exercise to characterise technology and tools that are helping public relations practitioners work smarter and more efficiently
  2. A skills framework that will seek to estimate the likely impact of artificial intelligence on the public relations workforce. It will aim to produce a paper for the World PR Forum in April
  3. A literature and content review to explore the impact of artificial intelligence on the public sphere. This project will aim to produce a discussion paper for practitioners

The first project has created the initial list of 95 tools, but the CIPR believes there are plenty missing and is calling for submissions to be made through the website.

If you can think of a digital tool that can help PRs work smarter, take a minute to complete the short form here

The list is broken down into 22 broad categories, including those that Vuelio clients will be familiar with – media monitoring, media distribution, campaign management, stakeholder identification and management, and media relations workflow platforms – as well as platforms that manage audio content, written content and utilities like WeTransfer and Open Library.

The full list is likely to reveal new resources for even the most tech-savvy PRs, and includes hidden gems like PNG Mart, a library of images with transparent backgrounds; Readable.io, which helps make writing more readable; and GoAnimate, which allows anyone to create professional animated videos.

The AI panel is aiming to complete a full list of 150 tools for all PR professionals to easily access by April.

The next step will be benchmarking these tools against the skills and competences for public relations set out in the Global Alliance competency framework. Waddington said: ‘The overall goal is to start a meaningful conversation about the impact of tech on practice’.

For more information about the project, visit the CIPR website.

Digital PR

7 reasons to use digital PR

As Google and other search engines get smarter, your marketing strategy needs to as well. Getting your content in front of the right audiences is now more difficult than ever with the saturation of web content and the growing number of businesses who have wised-up to SEO best practices.

Luckily, digital PR can help you cut through the clutter. This guest post from Ad-Rank explains how to get the most out of digital PR.

Why you need digital PR in your plan
With over 51% of people consuming their news online via social media, if you haven’t yet implemented digital PR, it’s time to start making it an essential ingredient of your marketing campaigns. Below are just some of the reasons why:

1. Digital PR is measurable

Unlike traditional PR, where readership and television viewers are based on average readers per month and potential audience, digital PR campaigns result in precise measurements.

Where it used to be difficult, today it’s a lot easier to gauge the number of viewers who actually saw a feature or engaged with it. Digital PR campaigns allow you to track everything – from who saw your content to which device they viewed it from. You can see exactly what demographic group your readers fit into and what time of day is more effective, even which links on the page got you the most interaction.

2. Build easily accessible network

Email, online communities and platforms such as Vuelio have replaced what used to be a file of business cards, making outreach and responses easy to measure. While similar to the relationships built via traditional PR campaigns, the beauty of digital relationships lies in the online interactions that can keep your content relevant.

For instance, when a news outlet publishes your online press release on their website, you can tweet a thanks to the writer on Twitter, or send an email thanking them for coverage. This strengthens your relationship and gives you a go-to for your next article.

3. Wider reach

Social media marketers have always understood the value of a share on Facebook or a retweet on Twitter, and a good digital PR campaign needs to exploit this powerful influence as well. When an interesting press release or campaign reaches users on social media, the reach of that campaign can spread like wildfire and get in front of an audience you would never reach simply using traditional mediums.

4. Fuel SEO with backlinks

A key component of digital PR is the value it brings to your business’ SEO goals. When you create an interesting campaign, bloggers and online journalists pick it up, post it on their sites and create powerful links back to the source – you.

Google has long touted the importance of a good link profile, and digital PR directly supports the building of high quality external sources linking to your website as your content is shared and cited on their sites.

5. Build brand awareness

Two aspects of digital PR – wider reach and SEO boosting – combine to also enhance brand awareness. As your campaign is shared and viewed, more and more people learn about your brand’s products or services. The value is two-fold, because as they learn about your brand, they may also research your offerings, giving you visibility in Google and helping you rank higher in search results.

6. Create bespoke content for your audience

Personalisation and customisation are essential to reaching today’s audiences, and with a digital PR campaign, you can do just that. The trick is to restructure your content based on the needs and demographics of the users who will view it from a specific source.

For instance, you can write a formal press release for use in online news publications, but create a fun infographic of the same information to share on Twitter and a sleek video to post on Facebook.

7. Maximise investment in content

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, digital PR helps you maximise your budget. Paid advertising on social media and Google are cheaper to implement and have higher potential reach than a print or television version of the same content.

Plus, the beauty of digital PR is that online content can be used in many mediums, and once created, the cost of sharing it is virtually nothing after it gains traction.

Adding digital PR to your repertoire
Effective digital PR begins with a strong strategy. With the right plan, and people ready to implement your new tactics, you can relish in your newfound digital successes and increase your online presence.

 

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Media Spotlight: Alfred Joyner, International Business Times & Newsweek

Alfred Joyner is the head of video at IBT Media, a fast growing global digital news organisation and parent company of the International Business Times & Newsweek. In this spotlight interview, Alfred explains how IBT Media has harnessed the power of online journalism, why Facebook is the perfect place to broadcast live videos, producing live content that is engaging, and why IBT Media are focused on growing their social presence this year.  

AlfredJoyner_VuelioSpotlight_IBTMEDIA

Could you introduce yourself and speak a little about your professional background? I’m the head of video at IBT Media, overseeing two of the organisation’s brands, International Business Times UK and Newsweek International. I’ve been at the company now for over four years, previously working freelance for Bloomberg, October Films and the History Channel.

What do you most like about being the head of video at IBT Media? And what are the challenges? Running the video team at IBT Media is a fantastic experience as the organisation is very switched-on digitally and multimedia-focused, meaning that they understand the importance of video to a modern newsroom operation and are enthusiastic to both support my efforts and allow the team to innovate in order to stand out from the crowd.

Whilst it is fantastic to be producing video across the company, I do have to wear two hats as it were in order to make great video for both IBTimes UK and Newsweek, meaning that I have to be aware of the differences in the brands when producing video.

What sets IBT Media apart from its competitors? 

Unlike other legacy brands, IBT Media is a digital-first institution that from the beginning has harnessed the power of the web for it’s journalism.

As a young and hungry newsroom, working for IBT can feel more akin to a blossoming tech startup than a traditional media organisation, and this inventiveness and drive can be seen in the quality work that we have produced.

Why did IBT decide to start using Facebook Live? IBT had been looking for a means to enter the live-streaming field, and the launch of Facebook Live seemed the perfect opportunity to dip our toes in the water.

Facebook has our biggest social audience, and so we knew it would be a great place to begin broadcasting live videos.

The fact that Facebook was actively ranking live videos higher on their system as well incentivised us to try the platform out.

Why do you think it is important for businesses to train their staff in relation to knowing how to use Facebook Live? It’s important to train staff on how to use Facebook Live as whilst it is incredibly easy to broadcast live on the platform, it is rather more complex if you want your broadcast to be successful.

You are effectively asking the reporters who are fronting your FB Live videos to act as news presenters, so they need to be trained up as such.

You also have to keep in mind that this is the image of your brand being put out to the public, so whoever is presenting to camera needs to be engaging, knowledgeable and adaptable.

What kind of qualities make a good Facebook Live news story? 

I think there are three qualities that make a great Facebook Live news story: immediacy, unpredictability and emotion.

The immediacy of being live on the ground, whether at a protest or event, helps makes the audience member feel as if they were actually there. The unpredictable nature of a live video keeps the viewer interested, as they’re not sure what exactly is going to happen next. Is a protest going to escalate? Is that person going to react positively or negatively to whatever they are doing on camera? Finally, emotive videos are great as they spark an emotional response in the viewer.

They are more likely to share a video if it made them laugh, made them cry; made them happy or made them sad.

For businesses who want to use Facebook Live, what is the best way to keep their audiences engaged with this type of live content? 

Engaging personalities make for the most engaging Facebook Live videos, so having a good presenter is key to keeping audiences interested.

Making sure the video looks professional is also key. A FB Live doesn’t need to be as slick and polished as TV news, but the visuals, sound and connection all need to be good enough to make sure the live video is worth continuing to watch.

One of your reporters did a lot of coverage on Brexit last year on Facebook Live. What is the biggest difference in how people engage with your live content versus reading one of your articles? Someone reading our articles is looking for an intelligent lowdown on a news event, with up to date facts coupled with incisive analysis.

A live video is much more about providing an emotion. The viewer is looking for an experience of what the live event is like, as well as wanting to know information about the event being covered.

In the case of our Brexit coverage, whilst our articles tended to focus on providing information on the referendum and subsequent plans for leaving the EU, our live videos focused on how people were reacting to the decision. This was illustrated by us reporting live outside the Supreme Court on multiple occasions, where we captured the differing attitudes between the remain and leave campaigners on the legal process.

IBT Times_FacebookLive

What trends do you think we will see this year in regards to live video and how businesses will be using them? Live video will continue to grow in usage across newsrooms, and so will the professionalism and quality of the live videos. Already, some organisations have effectively made the transition to live TV news broadcasts, employing multiple cameras and overlay graphics in their productions.

Whilst Facebook has captured most attention, the fact that other social media platforms like Instagram have recently entered the field  shows that these companies still feel there’s room for competing platforms in the live market. I wouldn’t be surprised if the likes of YouTube and Periscope staged a fightback this year and tried to attract more businesses to use their live services.

What kind equipment should businesses invest in to create live content? At the very minimum you need a good quality smartphone, but you should not stop there if you want to create a decent live video. Whilst hooking up cameras for live video can be a costly process, a cheaper alternative is to purchase a camera dedicated to live-streaming. We have used a Mevo camera for our studio broadcasts, which cost us around £240. The camera shoots in 4K, and syncs with your phone so that you can choose which parts of the image to focus your FB Live on, effectively created a multi-camera setup.

Sound is the most important piece of tech to invest in when producing live videos, so I would purchase a good quality microphone that works with the smartphone you are using to broadcast live. Finally, you want a strong connection throughout your broadcast to avoid any interruptions, so look to buy a Wi-Fi hotspot, or ‘Mi-Fi’ to improve signal.

At a recent conference, you said that you can repackage and repurpose Facebook Live content. Can you explain how this can be done? Whenever you broadcast live on Facebook you always have the option to save your content once the broadcast ends. We then hand over the footage to a member of our video team who edits the live video down into a digestible 90-120 second news package.

This is simple enough when covering a major event such as a speech or protest, but sometimes it can be a little harder to edit a FB Live Video down. This is where you have to be a bit more inventive about how you repurpose a video for your site.

For example we produced a FB Live video at the London Toy Fair in January where our presenter got to try out the most popular toys on sale this year. One part of the live-stream involved the presenter asking a retail expert about the toy industry, and it was one answer she had on how the toy industry had been affected by Brexit that we repurposed as a news video package for our site. This ended up being one of the most popular business videos we produced that day, showing how you can make one FB Live video work for one audience, that repurpose it to make it suit a completely different audience.

IBT Media are known for being innovative in digital media and social publishing technologies, what’s next for IBT Media? We’ve got plenty of exciting plans afoot at IBT Media as we look to grow our operations across our brands both here in the UK and abroad. We recently established our trends and features desk at IBTimes UK as a means of providing a bridge between the news and social teams, focusing on the stories that are being talked about most online, and providing an analysis of trending issues in an intelligent, incisive manner.

Growing our social presence will be one of the key developments across the newsroom this year.

Will you be working on any exciting projects this year? We have a number of exciting video projects lined up this year. I can’t speak about them in too much detail yet, but they will involve even greater collaboration across the newsroom to present a true multimedia experience, and will see us innovate with new technologies, particularly 360 video. Watch this space!

Boom Time For Newspapers – Yes, Really

Yes, that’s right – we’re starting the New Year on a positive note. The newspaper industry (or at least certain sections of the newspaper industry) are in rude health and are looking forward to real growth in terms of readership, advertising revenues and profits in 2017.

Leading the charge into this exciting era in newspaper publishing is The Washington Post which has recently announced it will be adding 60 newsroom staff to its editorial team in the near future.

According to media reportsThe Washington Post will add a “rapid-response” investigative team, expand its video journalism and breaking news team and make additional investments in areas such as podcasts and photography.

The Washington Post’s renewed success is largely attributed to its new owner, Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, who reportedly invested $50 million dollars into the company.

As you might expect from an organisation owned by one of the leading lights of the digital economy much of this success stems from online activity.

In a memo released to staff , The Washington Post publisher Fred Ryan said: “The Washington Post shattered all traffic records over the past year, passing traditional competitors and the largest digital sites. With monthly unique visitors pushing 100 million in the U.S. alone and 30 million more from around the world, our traffic has increased by nearly 50% in the past year, extending the reach of Washington Post journalism to a broader national and global audience.

On the subscription front, we’ve more than doubled digital subscription revenue in the past 12 months with a 75% increase in new subscribers since January.

Our Sales team has been very effective in monetizing this surge in audience, with special franchises, new products and innovations in the speed and quality of our ads. As a result, digital advertising revenue has increased by more than 40% over last year’s record performance.”

Ryan heaped praise on Bezos by saying: “Jeff has encouraged us to seek out “positive surprises” and to experiment in multiple ways. Today, we are witnessing progress as many of those experiments are yielding strong results.”

UK publishers will almost certainly be keeping a close eye on the success of The Washington Post, here’s hoping the Bezos effect rubs off on them and we see some equally “positive surprises” in the coming months.

Hyperlocal News Publishers Join Forces

Cardiff University’s Centre from Community Journalism has set up a new organisation to represent the 500+ hyperlocal news publishers across the UK to bid for a share of state support.

The organisation hopes to help small and micro-publishers work with organisations like the BBC, who help fund 150 journalists to cover local councils, and also attract a share of advertising revenues from statutory notices placed in regional newspapers by local government.

The move has been welcomed by proprietors of a number of hyperlocal news services.

Graham Breeze, co-founder of the news sites MyWelshpool and MyNewtown in Wales, told journalists: “We floated the idea of establishing a national body back in 2013 when we were chosen by Nesta, the UK Innovation Foundation, to be part of its Destination Local programme.

“While there was a great deal of support for our proposals the timing was probably not right. But the timing is perfect today with hyperlocal news sites popping up all over the country, changing the local media landscape and offering new opportunities.”

Breeze continued: “We have to lobby Government, along with county and town councils, for greater recognition of the hyperlocal sector. We will never be able to attract their revenues as individuals but together as a national body we will be able to convince procurement departments that there is another alternative to print.

“The hyperlocal industry would change overnight if only a small amount of Government and Council spend on public notices came our way. Forming a national body would ensure we can demand fair treatment.

“A hyperlocal news industry is not the future. It is here now, springing up in every corner of the UK with viewing and readership figures spiralling upwards while newspaper sales continue to crash downwards.”

While many hyperlocal news sites will undoubtedly cherish their independence, particularly as many have sprung up from the ashes of local titles abandoned by large publishing houses, this level of national co-operation is a positive step forward in securing the future of these titles which, many believe, are central to holding communities together and local government and business to account.