It’s near the end of the summer…

Parents are starting to pick up old habits and schedules and go back to work, while their kids still have a few carefree weeks left. So the street scene is changing. You see grandparents playing with their grandchildren in the park, taking them to theme parks, going on bike tours or just having an ice cream in the sun. But I’ve also spotted a lot of nannies. Mostly young women running around with playing kids and having lots of fun doing so. Ensuring that there’s a bridge between home and school life. Connecting the dots.

This all made me think of the newsroom - well hey, that’s what I do, right?!

building a powerful relationship with those you cherish the most: your own audience

In the past, we’ve written lots of articles and given countless presentations about why newsrooms shouldn’t create orphan stories. To recap, these are stories which are published without real care or a sufficient attention plan: they’re let out into the world and float about in limbo. They’re the breaking news stories which never get followed up.

At smartocto, we think editors should feel responsible for their creations (like parents are for their kids) and we’re convinced that if you take notice of the way your audience is responding to the story you can create valuable and distinctive follow ups, react to the discussion on social channels and learn from the way the audience is overall responding to the topic covered (and we go more into that here). You’re actually building a powerful relationship with those you cherish the most: your own audience!

You’ve probably heard of the user needs project Triple N that we recently ran together with Omroep Brabant, IDN Times and DeMorgen with former BBC-editor Dmitry Shishkin.

In this project we collaborated with these three newsrooms in order to create user needs related notifications to help them create more valuable follow ups on stories that are worth it. (And please take in consideration that we only use brand specific metrics to define if these articles are worth it. This can be determined by reach, engagement, loyalty, conversion, topic, social likes, time spent or a combination of these metrics (and many others) based on client specific preferences). With these notifications, editors get direct input not only on which story qualifies for a follow up but also from which user need perspective they should write it in order to grow on the KPIs their brand strategically values.

editors are in ‘business-as-usual’ mode and risk neglecting all the things they’ve promised themselves to do

So, hopefully you’ll see how this is starting to relate to nannies...

What we see happening in newsrooms is actually pretty similar to the ‘end of summer’ situation I was referring to at the beginning of this blog.

Parents are ultimately responsible for their kids’ welfare and development and may need to ask for help from time to time. Maybe it’s a childcare rota among friends. Perhaps it’s a willing grandparent. It might even be a nanny. The point is: you need to know your kids are being cared for if you can’t be there.

So it’s also true for news. Or at least it should be.

A thought of Rutger Verhoeven
Thoughts from our CMO Rutger

If editors are busy, the newsroom needs someone to keep an eye on the kiddos. Or, in this case, all those articles, stories, videos, and content that those editors have commissioned and published.

Yes, there’s always news breaking, and things which need to be covered, but paying attention to how existing content has performed is essential if you’re interested in what impact you’re having (and why wouldn’t you be?). The Hearken model has been talking about this for years (so you should definitely read up on that here or just Google the heck out of it).

In order to foster a better, more productive relationship between news brand and reader, some childcare is required to make sure articles are being nurtured the best they can. If you do this, you’ll get better engagement and better loyalty from your audience as a result, and you’ll be ensuring that all that content is given the best opportunity to thrive in the world. It’s responsible publishing-parenting.

Luckily this is now pretty easy. Newsroom notifications - and especially our latest development, the actionable bigscreen ‘Waves’ that has an action centre giving you all the necessary urgent actions at a glance - help you to pay attention to the stories that really matter. This facility allows you to send relevant, actionable tips to any inbox you prefer (whether it’s Slack, Mail, WhatsApp or hence even Wunderlist - whatever floats your boat).

Newsrooms - you - are busy. We get that. We also know that this notification system works: lots of newsrooms across the world already use this powerful feature.

But - to make sure no relevant update or follow up gets missed - wouldn’t it be great to have a newsroom nanny as part of the editorial team? Someone who has only one job and that is to keep track of all the attention published stories are getting and is responsible for taking those notifications and making sure something gets done with them. Someone who makes suggestions for follow ups based on these actionable tips.

For example, when smartocto calculates that a story could benefit from a ‘contextual follow up’ the newsroom nanny would be the one creating suggestions about what this might look like. If the ‘divert me’ suggestion is calculated, they would start thinking about a possible listicle or more creative angle to explore that topic. It would be a great job to have, a massive help to the newsroom but above all a pure blessing for the audience that wants to start building relevant online relationships based on these stories and topics.

prevent valuable reactions disappearing into the pit of oblivion

The nanny will be the newsroom’s cultivated gatekeeper that prevents valuable reactions to disappear into the pit of oblivion.

I envision newsrooms in the future filling job vacancies like this and I hope that the nanny will be a valuable part of the newsroom, helping to keep track of everything that matters and making sure brands actually engage with their audience and tell relevant stories people care about and pay attention to. What a wonderful world this would be, if that were the case.