How Mynewsdesk Created Internet History

Last month the Reddit twitter account described the latest campaign we have run at Mynewsdesk as being “part of internet history”. Whilst that statement maybe a little of an exaggeration we are all very proud of the achievements our MynewsdeskNow campaign has delivered and I wanted to share as may of our learnings with you.

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The primary mission was to create a marketing activity that showcased Mynewsdesk as a modern newsroom platform with pioneering insights into how content is created and spread today. It aimed at using purpose driven story telling to inspire communication managers around its home market of Sweden.  With an earned media reach of 200m people, an estimated media value of $5m and a 60% increase in sales leads the campaign certainly exceeded expectations and here are the learnings

Purpose Driven Story Telling

To develop a newsworthy angle we chose to focus on a major social issue around communication – that of digital alienation within the elderly. At Mynewsdesk we believe that the power of communication can truly change the world but only if you are connected. Fact is that over 1 million people in Sweden and over 41% of the elderly (16 million people) in the US report that they do not go online and are therefore alienated so we want to explore this. So we decided to introduce 82-year-old Kerstin Wolgers to the internet over 5 days. I have written before about the power of purpose driven story telling and I believe that in a world of ever-increasing commoditisation the use of purpose driven story telling will be increasingly important. Your audience does not really care what you say but they do care what you do and what you believe in as a company. And its proven, according to the largest survey of marketers – Marketing 2020 which surveyed over 10,000 marketing leaders in 92 countries – companies with a purposeful positioning outperformed their competition considerably.

Realtime Content Doesn’t Need to be Difficult

We hear all the time that creating content is a real challenge. Whilst I admit that it takes quite a bit of thought and creative ideas to create great content we wanted to show how realtime content can be made easy. So with the use of a camera strapped to Kerstin as she experienced her week, a Twitter and Instagram account and the effective use of a realtime newsroom we were able to create blog posts, broadcast live realtime video and follow Kerstin’s journey as she experienced her first week on the internet.

 Owned & Earned Content is Key

Our two major focuses for the campaign in terms of execution were to exploit the opportunities through owned and earned media. A landing page / website Mynewsdesknow.se was created as an owned destination to drive traffic too and a call to action (CTA) was created to drive that traffic to test the Mynewsdesk platform for potential sales leads. During the campaign week, realtime social , location and video content was displayed on the landing page to showcase the realtime content.

At the centre of this destination was a realtime newsroom (powered by Mynewsdesk) which offered all the latest updates from campaign in terms of activities or blog posts from the associated ambassadors that we worked with. Of all the assets on the site, the newsroom element drove the most traffic and conversions of the entire campaign.

Equally important was our focus on earned media. This was approached in two ways. Firstly the traditional route, using our agencies skills and relationships to sell in the story to national, regional and trade media in Sweden and beyond but also the use of 5 influencers / ambassadors within both communication, academia and a influencers involved in the organisation Seniornet Sweden. They all contributed relevant blog post’s for the campaign and their considerable networks were leveraged to promote the campaign.

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 Agencies Still Provide Creativity & Resources

Much has been talked about the demise of the agency and it’s business model in the digital and social age. Whilst change is a necessity for all agencies I have to say that with the help and advice from Edelman Deportivo this campaign would not have been conceived let alone succeeded. Our agency partners at what I believe to be one of Europe’s most creative PR shops over delivered on expectations and have restored my faith in agencies. One of the biggest challenges for in-house marketers and communicators today is creativity and resources. I believe a good agency partner can help with both these challenges and has and will remain the agency USP in todays digital world. However that doesn’t mean that agencies don’t need to be effectively managed. It took several iterations to come up with creative concept that we finally decided upon and if we had not pushed back on several ideas I know the success of the campaignswould have looked very different.

 Dare to Try New Platforms

At Mynewsdesk we have always been pioneers at using new platforms. Usually when we start using these platforms we have no idea how they work or how successful our use of them will be but we like giving things a try. So was the case with Reddit which was ultimately the tool that gave this campaign its viral and international reach. Late on a Friday afternoon the marketing team sat round wondering what would happen with our Ask me Anything (AMA) on Reddit that Kerstin, assisted by our agency was about to conduct.

Whilst we are all quite adept at using different social platforms none of us had used Reddit before for a proactive communications outreach activity. Why had we not exploited this community site with over 174 million monthly uniques and 6.1 billion monthly page views I hear you ask. Good question … but I guess with the multitude of channels and content formats todays marketers need to address I guess you cannot be everywhere.

Within a few hours of starting Kerstin’s AMA, it had been voted up to the number one spot on Reddit and had gathered over 1,140 comments. As a result of this success within a few hours international media from Washington Post, CBS News, Mirror.co.uk, Business Insider, ChinaDaily were picking up the story and reshaping it for their readers. Here you could really tell the difference between the quality journalism of some outlets and the cut and copy approach of others but in reality we were happy with all the coverage.

 A Campaign is Not Enough

So it was a success. 200 million people in earned media reach, $5 million in earned media value and a 60% increase in sales leads. However the key learning for me was the a campaign is not enough. Where is the longterm value? Well the MynewsdeskNow campaign forms a starting point. The MynewsdeskNow destination gives us a platform to iterate on and the deployment of purpose driven storytelling around digital communications will continue. But next time we will leverage these concepts to build a longterm content asset that will stand the test of time and deliver value a longtime after the campaign activity has ceased.

All the team has grown a great deal professionally during this process and I hope these learnings have been useful to you. Good luck in creating your very own little piece of internet history.

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