Birmingham Post: A Regional Newspaper Case Study

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A case study of the work undertaken by UK regional newspaper the Birmingham Post to engage on social networking platforms and help foster relations with its local online community.

  • Full Name Full Name Comment goes here.
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  • good presentation, thanks for sharing!
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  • What are your thoughts on the personalized account name from the perspective of the employer, because clearly the job ’bhampostjoanna is now impossible, and the 1000 + contacts may be lost to your successor? andy from
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  • What are your thoughts on personalised account names from the point of view of the employer, since clearly to use ’bhampostjoanna’ is now impossible, and those 1000+ contacts may be lost to your successor?
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  • Please don't be too afraid about things going wrong. So far I would say that the benefits have far outweighed any problems we have come across.
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  • Hi guest336151

    Those contacts will in no way be lost! Next week @bhampostjoanna will be renamed as @timesjoanna. This will break a few links out there, but will retain all my contacts whom I have built up a relationship with.

    I will be tweeting people regularly for a week to remind them of the change and pointing them to alternative Birmingham Post Twitterers if they no longer wish to follow @bhampostjoanna or want a Post presence in their Twitter feed.

    Plus, unlike in journalists' contact books, all the people that @bhampostjoanna follows and those who follow her back are public, which means they are there for anyone who want to see them.


    P.S You're not the first to make this point, so I followed this up with a blog post:
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  • 1. Social Networks a regional newspaper case study Joanna Geary February 2009 Picture by Luc Legay, licensed under Creative Commons:
  • 2. Who Am I?
    • Employed as a business reporter in 2004.
    • Previously worked for an independent multimedia production company.
    • Passionate advocate for online journalism.
    • Appointed development editor in 2008.
    • Will join The Times as web development editor (business) next month.
  • 3. Why Am I Here?
    • To share some of the lessons I learnt at The Birmingham Post.
    • To provide an insight into how news organisations are starting to use social media.
  • 4. Why Are Social Networks Important? “ Dramatic Shift in Marketing Reality” Scholz and Friends
  • 5. A Changing Market “ Because they are immersed in media, both online and off, Gen Y'ers are marketed to left and right. But when it comes to making decisions, Gen Y tends to rely on their network of friends and their recommendations, not traditional ads.” ~ Sarah Perez , Read Write Web (
  • 6. A Right To Be Heard
  • 7. A Right To Be Heard
  • 8. Who Controls the Message? “ If you wish to be heard, first learn to listen.”
  • 9. Newspapers - Do We Listen? Picture by Cesara Studillo, licensed under Creative Commons:
  • 10. Brand Perception Problem?
  • 11. The Birmingham Post January 2008
  • 12. The Birmingham Post January 2009
  • 13. The Birmingham Post It started with laminate flooring…
  • 14. The Birmingham Post … followed by a huge helping of panic…
  • 15. The Birmingham Post … but quickly turned into a successful crowd sourcing project.
  • 16. The Birmingham Post The discovery of community
  • 17. The Birmingham Post Blog Network
  • 18. The Birmingham Post Community Consultation
  • 19. The Birmingham Post Using online tools to extend presence
  • 20. The Birmingham Post Engagement
  • 21. “ Organizations will work tirelessly to de-personalize every communication medium they encounter.” ~ Seth Godin ( First Law of Mass Media
  • 22. The Birmingham Post Putting the personal back in
  • 23. The Birmingham Post The result?
  • 24. The Birmingham Post Feedback
  • 25. The Birmingham Post Trust building
  • 26. The Birmingham Post
  • 27. The Birmingham Post Seen to be listening
  • 28. The Birmingham Post Turning public critics into public fans
  • 29. The Birmingham Post Building presence on social networks when it makes sense
  • 30. The Birmingham Post Add Value
  • 31. The Birmingham Post Community building pays off
  • 32. The Birmingham Post
  • 33. The Birmingham Post
  • 34. The Birmingham Post
    • Results?
    • Increased strength of brand online.
    • Strong, growing online community
    • Instant and ongoing feedback on products and services.
    • Identification as one of UK’s leading multimedia newspapers.
    • Raised individual profiles.
    • Putting the humanity back in.
  • 35. The Birmingham Post But it’s not always an easy ride
  • 36. PR Tips
    • Do your research – know who you want to speak to and who is speaking about you:
    • Blogs:
    • - Google Blog Search
    • - Technorati
    • - Icerocket - Good blog blogrolls will often be best
    • Twitter:
    • - keywords, companies, etc.
    • - - browse by industry
    • Look at the contacts of interesting users (This is true for all social networks)
  • 37. PR Tips
    • Monitor!
    • Google Alerts
    • Social Media Firehose:
    • RSS
    • Twitter Search
  • 38. PR Tips
    • Question: Are you really the best person to be approaching customers?
    • What value do you offer them?
    • What insight can you give?
    • What expertise related to the product/service/brand can you share?
    • How authentic can you really be?
  • 39. PR Tips
    • Engage enthusiastic staff members.
    • Opportunity to build upon personal brands. The more loved they are already, the better.
    • - Provide guidance and support for their use of social networking.
  • 40. PR Tips
    • Specialists
    • Those working at the “coal face”
    • Senior managers
    • Directors
  • 41. PR Tips It has been done!
  • 42. PR Tips
    • Blogging:
    • - More in-depth conversations
    • Help tap into interest areas - Great way to show expertise
    • Twitter:
    • Great for short conversations
    • “ Crowdsourcing”
    • Personal
    • Fast
    Facebook: - Great for easy access to loyal fans. - Groups function useful. - Events. LinkedIn: - Extremely valuable for business. - Useful for the slightly technophobe, older user. - Can create exclusivity (good and bad). Different platforms can have slightly different uses
  • 43. PR Tips “ My experience is that if a journalist is doing research on a board they identify themselves and ask if they can contact some of the posters…” Respect the community Always operate from their point of view
  • 44. PR Tips Remember who your audience might be
  • 45. PR Tips
  • 46. PR Tips DO NOT SPAM!
  • 47. Any Questions ? Picture by Luc Legay, licensed under Creative Commons: [email_address]
  • 48. Thanks! Picture by Luc Legay, licensed under Creative Commons: [email_address]