Journalism, Public relations, Social media

Eight ways to create refrigerator journalism

I recently heard a term that has really stuck with me: refrigerator journalism.

It was used by Ragan Communication’s CEO and publisher of PR Daily Mark Ragan at the 2012 International Social Media and PR Summit (SMPR2012) in Amsterdam.

During his opening presentation on brand journalism (aka content marketing) Mark said the Holy Grail is when our content becomes part of people’s daily lives.

If your company is recognised as a respected news source – journalists come to you rather than you chasing them – you’ve made it. @PRDaily is an excellent case in point.

@MarkRaganCEO said our goal as company reporters is to create refrigerator journalism.

What is refrigerator journalism? It is content so engaging you want to make it part of your daily life. You want to share it with your friends. You want to talk about it. You want to take it into your home. It is content so compelling, so relevant and so brief you want to stick it on your fridge.

There were many other useful take-outs from the two-day SMPR2012. Learning about the strategies of global brands like Microsoft, Dell, Edelman and Disney was awe-inspiring. Notes to self: do more planning, more monitoring, more video.

It was reiterated by all presenters that content is still king – in fact, engaging content is more important than ever. So the question I’ll now ask myself each time I publish is simple: Is this content so compelling my readers will want to stick it on the fridge?

So, how do we create refrigerator journalism? Here are my top eight take-outs from SMPR2012:

1. Your new role is Senior Content Creator. Your job description includes content producer, company reporter, conversation starter and community manager.

2. Plan your editorial activities like you run a media company. You own a daily newspaper (blog), magazine (website), TV station (YouTube channel), radio station (podcasts) and a broadcast network (social media).

3. Don’t be afraid to re-package compelling content and cross promote.

4. Great content needs a great headline (hint: readers love lists).

5. Engage your whole company in social media. There are brand ambassadors throughout your organisation who are passionate about their area of expertise. Find them and get them blogging.

6. Social content doesn’t have to be slick – in fact, if it looks too much like an advertisement people won’t share it.

7. If content is king, then listening is queen. But why are we listening? To make changes to the way we do business if necessary.

8. No one is an expert in social media, we are all experimenting. Don’t be afraid to try new things and make mistakes. We are only limited by our imaginations and our creativity.

This article was originally published by the Public Relations Institute of Australia (PRIA). I was the only Australian delegate at this international conference, so I wanted to share my key take-outs with other PR professionals. Here’s the original post on the PRIA blog: Eight ideas for creating refrigerator journalism

5 thoughts on “Eight ways to create refrigerator journalism”

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  2. Hi Summer, Thanks for the update. From what I’ve learned about creating content, you have to know your target group and you have to find out what they expect from you. This is why it is so important to use brand ambassadors. It is better to have specialists in different fields than trying to be a jack of all trades yourself. Being specific about your topic helps your audience to find out what your field of expertise is and increases their willingness to connect, befriend or follow. Also in regard to point 7, writing compelling content and forcing your audience to listen (because readers cannot talk over you) is so much easier to get a point across, than talking to an audience face-to-face. (sigh) I wish I could have been at the summit.

    1. Hi Volker, thank you for your comment. I think you’ve summed it up nicely – I agree, staying relevant to your audience is key to engagement. Re: point seven, I think we tend to listen for negativity so we can respond to it quickly, or positivity so we can promote it. We really need to take it one step further – listening with the goal of improving our business. To really take on board the feedback we receive through social media channels and change the way we run our business if necessary. Social media is the ultimate in real-time, two-way, communication between our organisation and our publics. It is the great equaliser in corporate communications. That’s part of why I love it so much 🙂

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