A question on the social media newsroom

Many of the blogs I find myself reading these days are abuzz with a new concept of online newsroom (media site) called the social media newsroom (pdf).  The template was put together by Todd Defren, who blogs at PR Squared.

As a newcomer to the whole scene, my take is that the template is chock full of clever devices that can be introduced without too much effort to supplement the ubiquitous static online newsrooms.  The cost-benefit analysis would be favourable, it would seem, as the relatively low cost of introducing these elements would mean even a small ROI would make it worthwhile.

Look at me, talkin’ all business like.  That’s what consulting for professional financial management associations will do to you, I guess.

From a mainstream press perspective, this template will provide familiar tools in an easy-to-use way, plus offer supplemental materials to those few journalists who are embracing social media tools.   The real benefit, it would seem, is that you’re opening yourself up to a whole new audience of bloggers and online media.

So how do you sell that to a client/boss/board of people who measure media relations success in a conventional way?

In my past life as a consultant, our clients wanted clips. They wanted their name in the papers and on TV.  The impact of that is (theoretically) easy to measure.  Newspapers have circulation audits.  Television has ratings.  It was easy to give an educated estimate of eyeballs reached.  Furthermore, we could analyze those stats to add value.  Hits in the Globe?  More credible and a more educated audience.  Hits in the Sun? Well, we’re big in Stittsville*.

How can you convince the same people that each hit in a blog somewhere is as valid?  Trackbacks and hit counters are a start, I suppose, but how do you break through the perception (that is depressingly rampant) that bloggers are just lonely guys in pyjamas typing for their audiences of one?

It’s the sort of thing that we (by which I mean pretty much anyone that would ever read a site like this) take for granted, I think.  The challenge then becomes how do we convince our clients/bosses/boards of this?

* I of course mean no offense to the fine people of Stittsville or the loyal readers of the Sun.  The Sun offers the most comprehensive sports coverage and a surprisingly good rundown of municipal affairs issues.  Stittsville is, I’ve been told, a lovely community full of wonderful people.  Read more here

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