In my mind, a piece of content that is shared with a friend, or friends, or followers, or the world is the ultimate measurement of its success. That person is validating that the piece of content they are sharing was valuable enough, interesting enough or topical enough to share with one or with many. They know the audience they are trying to reach and they target it to that audience with the sharing technology that is appropriate (Twitter, Facebook, Email, etc.).
This is the philosophy behind our new corporate news site, formerly known as “News@Cisco” and now being renamed to “The Network” (voted on by our over 180,000 Facebook followers). We are launching the new site this weekend and, hopefully, it will be live in your geography when you read this blog.
The Network is our effort to tell stories and share information on the topics that are the most important to Cisco, namely: Video, Collaboration, Core Networks, Mobility, Security, Data Center, Cisco Culture…and, more parochially to my team, Social Media.
We will create, share and curate content on these topics as a part of our overall Cisco voice. We have commissioned world-class reporters who have worked at Fortune, Forbes, BusinessWeek, Wall Street Journal, AP and more to create content on our core technology news topics. The purpose of these stories isn’t to showcase Cisco, but to create compelling content in the topical areas that we care about. We are supporting the generation of this content in the hopes that our audience shares it and becomes more educated on the topics that are important to Cisco and to our customers.
Sure, you'll also see Cisco stories on The Network on innovation or to highlight our smart employees and the good work they are doing. We hope our audience finds this information compelling and “share worthy” as well.
We are also creating as many reasons as possible for the reader to come back to “The Network.” We are doing more and more serial content so that you can come back and check out the next month’s offering. For instance, our “Talk2Cisco” series is a very popular monthly Ustream half-hour, live video discussion with Cisco executives. Or, our “Network Trailblazers” series is where we’ll highlight those who have helped create the network. Our first “trailblazer” is co-founder of Cisco, Kirk Lougheed, and other trailblazers lined up are Vint Cerf and Bob Kahn. And, our “Cisco Innovators” series highlights some of the many innovators and innovations within Cisco.
MY SOCIAL MEDIA AND EDITORIAL PHILOSOPHY
This brings me to what I do at Cisco. I lead the Social Media team within Corporate Communications. We own and develop the corporate communications “pipes”: Facebook, Twitter, Talk2Cisco Ustream, our corporate blog (The Platform), LinkedIn, and our corporate newsroom (The Network) among others. We use these tools and channels for different things to reach different audiences, but all of them are there to make us accessible as a company and share information about the cool, innovative things that we are doing at Cisco.
“The Network” has been a lot of work by a small amount of people within Cisco and we’ll see if our new editorial and content philosophy resonates with our audience. Actually, because of the measurement tools embedded into the pieces, we’ll all see.
My general editorial philosophy and our approach to “The Network” can also be applied to what I think about social media holistically.
These are the principles that I follow:
- Offer Value (this can be defined in many ways, but net-net "social media valuable" means it is something that someone wants to share with others)
- Push it to the audience you want to see it (that can be one person, that can be many people)
- Stick to a core set of themes (this will allow your audience to self-select whether they want to receive your information) (or, stated differently, if you stand for everything, you stand for nothing)
- Don’t always talk about yourself.
- Repeat (consistency is very important in our 24/7 world)