All the emphasis on real-time marketing has made brand newsrooms the latest marketing trend. But realistically, true newsrooms aren’t necessary or feasible for all brands. That’s why EA Sports, rather than having an actual newsroom, has a newsroom mentality.
The global gaming brand focused on building a newsroom mentality over the past six months, according to David Tinson, vp of communications at EA Sports. This has meant hiring people with editorial backgrounds — Tinson himself went to journalism school — for positions like content and conversation specialists, earned media specialists, editors and analysts. Weekly, if not more frequent, content meetings are a regular part of EA Sports’ newsroom model.
“Meaningful interactions start with thinking like a newsroom, building out best practices, having strategy by channel, having a syndication system the drives content across the whole network, style guides and so on — but it really means engaging the various content creators and applying the same level discipline and thought process across the company,” said Tinson.
This newsroom mentality is particularly important for a brand like EA Sports whose content revolves around real-life sports events. Other gaming brands don’t necessarily have the advantage of being tied to any real-world activities and news, but because EA Sports games are based on actual sports teams and games, this gives the brand a lot of opportunities to have a constant voice in terms of sports. The gaming brand not only creates content regarding its own games, but, more importantly, its strategy is to get involved in the conversation around actual sports games and sport seasons as they are happening.
“We think of social as a place to start the conversation, we ultimately want to have conversations about our product, but the real-world content drives the results,” said Tinson.
In its editorial meetings all if the brand’s content creators come together to plan out what sports games and events are going on when and to have a game plan for possible moments to enter the online conversation by sharing content and coming up with ideas of what kind of content to create and share. Something that works well for EA Sports is cool action sports photography shots, thanks to partnerships with brands like the NFL and FIFA. Creating meme-like images from games like this ice hockey macro is something the brand does often. Another way that EA Sports ties itself to the real world of sports is through videos like this animated infographic one that shows how Madden NFL gameplay linked to the first week of the NFL season, and this Super Bowl prediction video. By creating all these kinds of content throughout the year, EA Sports can still have an online voice and start conversation with consumers even if it’s not directly around the time of a new game release.
“Real time is always a work in progress, but it’s truly about embracing the newsroom mentality,” said Tinson. “That means it’s not a 9 to 5 — that’s not when sporting events happen. So it’s changing the staffing model and culture to be able to monitor and respond at the right time.”