The transformative power of a newsroom mentality can be applied to organisations of any nature, whether it’s a chain of cafes targeting teenagers or a niche oil engineering services firm. The principles and actions derived from newsrooms can bring significant value to diverse industries. By Blaise Hope, (pctured) Founder of Origin Hope
Newsrooms are masterful, purpose-built works of fluency and art that reflect a thousand proud traditions of human society, culture and profession. They are renowned for their efficiency, creativity, and expertise in delivering information. By adopting a newsroom mentality, organisations can tap into this legacy and enhance their operations.
The exhilaration of a newsroom hooks journalists in for life, whether they are thousands of miles away or permanently rooted in that centre – a brain trust receiving, relaying and interpreting a deluge of information like the head of an intelligence network.
The action and drama of this experience belies a cold professionalism, ruthless efficiency and agreed moral code that underpins newsroom activity.
Therein lies the key to telling your story
A newsroom mentality reinforces motivation and pride at every SME
Regardless of individual differences and team size, even a single disciplined person can make a significant impact. However, it is the team members’ influence on others that truly stands out.
A motivated, professional content team can lift an entire company. It is a newsroom mindset that makes that possible. By embodying a culture focused on standards, accuracy, speed, consistency, goal achievement, and audience value, they set an example for representing the company, shaping behaviour, and establishing values.
Turn a limited budget to your advantage by using it as an opportunity to create a newsroom mentality through the workflows that start to naturally take shape as teams get used to the requirements for output. This will eventually help you to maximise the quality of inputs and optimise output while minimising effort.
Next, codify those processes, enforce them, let the team get used to them as standard, and like any regimen, the shared identity of the endeavour will start to reap the benefits.
In a newsroom, the ability to produce and distribute content quickly is critical. As the content age evolves, having the ability to operate like a newsroom will reflect in what you eventually publish, as well as how you see yourself and how people see you. Similarly, SMEs need to be agile and respond quickly to changes in the market, industry trends and customer feedback. Know what your audience likes, what scares them, and what excites them – let this naturally inform the work you produce and they will be able to connect emotionally with you. You can also choose angles and topics that will prompt a reaction from them, so test things like thumbnails and headline styles to see what works.
Collaborating to deliver value: a powerful SME-wide management tool
Newsrooms are machines; like the enormous, purpose-built marvels of engineering that drive high-machining production, they are instruments of information delivery.
The most respected, valued and well-reputed companies and brands around the world have teams that have adopted a newsroom mindset.
Take McKinsey: the consulting giant invests significant effort in producing insightful and engaging reports, with the obvious involvement of extremely skilled editors. McKinsey’s reports provide insight where others simply do not and, as a result, are valued by other newsrooms, especially those inhabited by journalists. McKinsey knows it has to be unimpeachable.
Behind those in-depth pieces, content creation efforts are roving across the firm to speak with staff whose time is massively valuable, yet are contractually obliged to contribute to the content creation process.
When teams from various departments collaborate in a newsroom-style approach to create content that meets the needs of their audience, the result becomes more impactful. This cross-departmental collaborative approach allows the content to align with the overall business goals, delivering consistent, relevant, and engaging content for target audiences.
With content input from across your SME, collaborative processes can cut through the noise, differentiate you in the marketplace, and add flavour to content that has historically come from one siloed perspective.
A newsroom mentality unlocks far more value from data
The most important collaboration is the one between the SME and the audience it wants to reach. It is the job of a newsroom to be able to communicate that information in the most appropriate and digestible manner possible so that its target audience is both reached and satisfied.
A ‘newsroom mindset’ is about shaping attitudes and outcomes through behaviour, using controls to influence results. Just reacting to data is not “data-driven” – humans are incredibly complex and there is a reason editorial judgement is so important.
This type of mindset balances the need for speed with the power of storytelling to get people information they want before they have managed to find it themselves, and in a package that makes them actually willing to listen to it.
In a newsroom, data is used to inform a content strategy. Speed, frequency, and constant teamwork mean a unique, high-volume loop of content informed by the newsroom – in turn informed by a returning loop of audience data.
Your little newsroom builds up data libraries and knowledge of trends and how to read them. This allows you to identify patterns, such as the type of content that consistently generates interest or when it gathers the most attention.
The in-house elements act as scientific ‘controls’ for what is an iterative audience engagement laboratory. The elements that change may be the format or topics and the content it refers to could be articles, long videos, live streams, shorts, social media posts, or newsletters.
Similar to how your audience forms opinions of you gradually through their interactions with your brand, you should objectively analyse and understand the reasons behind the success or failure of content. This iterative process allows you to gain insights and make informed decisions.
A newsroom never stops for good reason. If you allow the culture and flows you have built to stagnate, its strengths rapidly decline.
Your audience disengages and so does your company.The show goes on – that is the newsroom mentality.