I recently put together a plan for a social media newsroom and think I may have stumbled on new way to add extra incentive for subscribers – the ability to give them special access to the information before it posts publicly.
This may not be anything extremely new, and it may not make sense for everyone, but it makes a lot of sense for this company and I thought I should share it here. Let me know what you think.
A social media newsroom is basically an extension of a company’s website where journalists and bloggers can go to pull press releases and all the factual information, images, audio and video clips to use in their coverage.
In many ways, a social media newsroom looks and functions like a blog, and for good reason; blogs are extremely efficient in delivering information in a way that is flexible, easy to navigate and they put the most recent stuff up front.
For a primer on social media newsrooms, download SHIFT Communications’ template for a social media newsroom here: http://shiftcomm.com/, or visit Ford Motor Company’s online newsroom for a good example of what a social media newsroom looks like. If you know of other examples you wish to share, please feel free to post them in the comments.
While it’s not unusual to have RSS feeds delivering new posts to the company’s online newsroom via reader and email, in this case I thought it would help increase the incentive to subscribe if subscribers were promised early delivery of the new posts before they showed up on the public site.
Rather than having the traditional RSS feed that delivers new posts via reader and email at the same time as the post shows up publicly, this feed would deliver the company’s news to subscribers first, offering a 6-hour lead time to journalists and bloggers interested in breaking a story.
To do this, I asked Ross Johnson of 3 Point 7 Designs and co-owner of Ingenex Digital Marketing if it were even possible, since I have a strange tendency to think that I can do anything. Luckily, he said it could be done.
Basically, Ross said, you would have to have two identical sites — one private and one public. When interested visitors to the site sign up to receive automatic updates, rather than subscribing to the RSS feed for the public site, they would instead receive updates from the private one.
There would just be a little feed switcheroo. The public site could then be automated to post the information on a 6-hour delay after the identical information on the private site posts.
Since timeliness, and the ability to ‘scoop’ the competition is one way blogs and news publications add value to their readers, this way, they could have their posts up and stories filed before the release hits publicly.
But, this got me thinking that other special nuggets of information could be distributed from the private feed as a means of adding value to being a regular subscriber.
And, beyond being a regular feature to an online newsroom, bloggers, and traditional media outlets could also have the potential to do something similar, thereby giving people more incentive to subscribe to their information since they receive something over and above what is posted on the public site.
Maybe others are already doing this, I’m not sure. If so, how does it work for you? Do you foresee any problems that I may be overlooking?
Please, let me know your thoughts and many thanks in advance!
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