Updates happen faster than we can possibly take them in.
We're swimming in everything from factual accounts to opinion to rumor to hearsay, and this overload can be extremely overwhelming.
On the other side of things, brands are finding that their role as arbiters of news and information has never been more important. During the coronavirus crisis, they're being looked to for clear, up-to-the-minute information on their company's response to the pandemic.
Consumers want to know that the brands they patronize are implementing serious containment protocols, while journalists--who are on tighter-than-ever deadlines--want to find the information they need about a brand's response as quickly and seamlessly as possible.
In this atmosphere, it's safe to say that easy-to-navigate, user-friendly digital newsrooms--really digital content hubs, as they grow to contain far more types of content than the typical press release--are more critical than they've ever been before.
Here are the factors your organization should consider in taking your digital newsroom to the level this crisis is calling for.
Speed and ease of use are paramount.
The news cycle was rapid enough before the pandemic struck. Now, it's sped up even more.
This means that journalists are working at breakneck speed to get accurate information out to their readers, and they have less time than ever to call your communications department for clarification.
While certain technologies have in many ways made it easier for corporate communications departments to organize and share information with those journalists, relying on tech alone isn't always the best bet.
Many large corporations, like Southwest Airlines and Nissan USA, have realized this, and are using a platform that incorporates both the best technology available and human intelligence (they're clients of Wieck, one of the first digital newsroom providers out there). According to Wieck's president, Tim Roberts, an excellent platform can sort your content logically and make it easy to find--but it takes a human editorial desk to place that content in the appropriate context. And as we are all experiencing, the right context is an absolute must these days.
Security and speed don't have to be mutually exclusive.
Many brands go one of two ways with their digital newsrooms: they either lock them up, requiring logins and requests for access, or they create a newsroom using an open-source site that allows for wide open access to any visitor.
The first option carries greater security, certainly, but it can slow things down considerably for journalists, consumers, and others who want to get their questions answered right now.
The second offers wide access, but much less security. In addition, open-source sites like WordPress and others aren't ideal for displaying the many different types of content that brands put out--video next to images, for example, or text-based files in conjunction with audio and video.
However, as Roberts says, these aren't the only two options.
Choosing a dedicated platform that's designed specifically to display those many different forms of content can offer both the speed you need and the security that is so important, especially in times like these.
Being able to update your newsroom immediately, as needed, is critical in a crisis scenario.
Consider how fast the coronavirus situation is changing in the U.S.
New updates on testing, prevention, and protocols are emerging daily. Brands must be able to update their own press materials to reflect the new information quickly, and waiting on an IT department to handle that--even if it takes just a day--can be disastrous for a company's image.
This is another reason a dedicated platform with not only the best technological capabilities but also a human editorial desk is key. These platforms give you the option to make changes immediately, without waiting for IT.
The thing about crises is that they shine a light on both what's working and what's lacking. We've seen an incredible response to our current crisis by brands of all sizes, just as we've seen individuals stepping up to help each other in this unprecedented time of need.
That's what we're all getting right. And as for what we're getting wrong--one of those things, it turns out, may be how quickly you're able to communicate with your audience. That's not a trivial thing during a pandemic. Every moment counts. Is your digital newsroom up to the task?