Beyond Crisis Days: Gaining Advantage from Your Morning Email
If your organization’s news alerts are boring on a slow day, or if you only remember they exist during product launches and crises, you might be ignoring a vital resource. Corporate communicators who look beyond the basic utility and format of daily media reports develop an intelligent view of opportunities and challenges while applying a useful tool for internal messaging.
What is a News Briefing?
A daily news briefing is a collection of the day’s top relevant stories as defined by an internal or external client. Usually delivered in the early morning, the collection of articles and social posts may go beyond company and brand news to include competitors, emerging issues, regulatory action, and industry developments. The briefings feature headlines, publication information, and online article links; options include expertly written summaries, translated abstracts, cumulative data reflecting news trends, and more. The briefings can be presented in the form of a menu, delivered to desktop and mobile devices wherever and whenever one does business. Copyright compliance is essential, with non-compliance carrying heavy penalties.
How to Achieve the Highest Value from a News Briefing
The foundation of a briefing is often the expertise of a single person (or team), translated into criteria for search engines, database checks, media scans, and other methods for content gathering. Consistency tends to be the primary concern early on, with goals such as capturing all high-priority articles on a target company or subject. However, if the team responsible is not challenged to question their results, think beyond the explicit criteria and apply broader industry knowledge, the product’s value and insight can be lost.
Close collaboration between the news team and their clients is required given the active nature of business and the “always on” dynamics of news and social media. Consider a Wall Street Journal article that includes just one mention of a target company appearing halfway through the text. This could be a minor reference, not worthy of top-level attention; it also could be a painstakingly placed article that tells the company’s story perfectly, albeit subtly. You know the difference, but your team needs to know, too, and they need to be able to make this distinction without you, and to get it right every time.
To that end, foster critical reading, independent research, and a broad industry vocabulary in reporting teams. They must be able to question what they read and view it in context, rather than scanning for easily found mentions, and to track how storylines and media channels grow and change. In addition to supporting clearer, higher-quality reporting, this can build an element of exploration, enabling your news service to highlight conversations your organization may want to join.
And when a big news day does occur, you’ll want more than a clip count. Whether your news service team is internal or external, make sure it’s up to date with positions on critical issues, and plan ahead for how to handle sensitive topics.
Why News Briefings Matter
At their best, news briefings present an efficient communications tool that supports trust, coordination and a focus on organizational objectives:
- A briefing offers transparency when delivering newsworthy content, regardless of whether it’s positive or critical
- A briefing delivers emerging trends across business units, brands, industry areas and regions, to equip executives to act and respond intelligently, cohesively and professionally
- Its structure reinforces the priorities of the enterprise, as the selection of the day’s top news represents that which the organization values most
- Pairing a briefing with media analysis provides both a current and retrospective view to what is happening, why it’s happening, and what can be done about it
How to Begin
Whether executed in-house or through an outside provider, it’s important to work with the intended recipients to identify their objectives for a news briefing. Based on the audiences they serve, some organizations deliver multiple versions to satisfy the needs of individual business areas and geographic regions. Once understood, the audience’s priorities will guide the selection of media, topics, frequency and time of delivery. Be sure to get sign-off before beginning, with the understanding that your organization’s priorities regarding content and media may change over time. Become familiar with the rights available to you through your content provider. Double-check for any pay-wall requirements and honor them.
Rather than being just another company email, your morning news briefing is a chance to inform management and colleagues, to help the enterprise make more informed decisions, and to reinforce the importance of the public relations function.
About the Author
Russ Schwartz is Director and co-leader of PRIME’s news division. He works with clients across multiple sectors to create customized news and media deliverables. Learn more about PRIME Research at www.PRIME-research.com.