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The Creative Newsroom

Posted: November 13, 2014, 11:02 a.m.
by Rachel Uniatowski.

When the word “newsroom” comes to our minds, many of us think of a room filled with journalists running around trying to find stories to write and report on, but in Edelman’s Creative Newsroom — that’s not the case.

To break it down, Edelman, the world’s largest public relations firm, combined journalism and creativity to engage and react to real-time trends and stories that are happening in our world, or as they like to call it — The Creative Newsroom.

The Creative Newsroom is designed to tell the story of Edelman’s clients, for both planned and real-time marketing. Edelman uses the newsroom to encompass traditional, hybrid, social and owned media channels to create a lasting brand narrative.

“It’s a new way for PR to operate in real time,” April Umminger, VP and director of Edelman’s Chicago newsroom said. “It’s engaging in conversations in such a way where you are talking about your product in the same way as your community.”

Edelman launched The Creative Newsroom in 2013 and since then, it’s been thriving. Adobe, PayPal, ConAgra and Dairy Management Inc. are just a few of the clients that are taking advantage of it.

For Edelman, the reason it stands out from the rest is because it continues to put focus on traditional media. “We keep core values front and center,” Umminger said. “Content is not something you’re just putting on Twitter and Facebook; content is also sending a pitch.”

So what’s Edelman’s secret to making its Creative Newsroom so successful? “It’s hitting on the relevance,” Umminger said. “It’s talking with people, not at them. In a creative newsroom you are doing a modified, on-the-ground reporting by listening to your community.”

In our world, people want to be a part of something and that means engaging with the news and brands that surround their every day life; and Edelman is hitting that on the head with its Creative Newsroom.

“We are really good at responding,” Tyler Gray, editorial director of New York’s newsroom said in an Edelman-produced video. “But we’re also good at driving conversations.”

Gray calls The Creative Newsroom a “human operating system.” “You plug into it in everything that you do and every content program gets faster, prettier, more frequent, more engaging and it just works better,” Gray said.

In the newsroom, there are three models from which current and potential clients can choose that include The Daily Desk, Newsroom Campaigns and Trendspotting.

“Trendspotting is something we’ve shown growth in an area of PR that hasn’t been penetrated like this before,” Umminger said. Trendspotting is when The Creative Newsroom searches for trends that are relevant to its clients, and then creates timely and engaging content to continue or drive conversation about its client among the community.

“You have to be aware of what’s happening and the right moments to engage,” Umminger said. “It’s awareness and curiosity, but it’s also news judgment. It’s knowing what’s going to resonate, where and when.”

You may be asking yourself, how does a public relations firm know so much about creating a newsroom, but Edelman sure knew what it was doing when it came up with The Creative Newsroom.

“We’ve hired people with newsroom experience,” Umminger said, who was previously a journalist for USA Today and The Washington Post. Along with Umminger, the other hires included Cybil Wallace, who formerly worked at The Associated Press and CNN, Tyler Gray, who previously worked for Fast Company, and Kate Shay, who previously worked for Tibbr.

“This is a new velocity for advertising and PR to work at, so having people who have done it, who have seen it work and can bring those best practices is smart,” Umminger said.

Edelman has been a leader among its competition on several occasions and The Creative Newsroom is no exception. “People aren’t going to stop engaging in real-time,” Umminger said. “This real-time initiative isn’t going backward. Figuring it out, being the leader in this space is really going to pay off.”

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