They say everyone is a reporter in the age of social media, and now The New York Stock Exchange is joining the fray. In what may be a first for an exchange, the NYSE recently unveiled an online newsroom that offers a mix of breaking news, folksy company profiles, and the ability for readers to share and endorse content via social media. The content is also optimized for consumption on mobile and tablet. In short, NYSE has gone full-scale into the content business.
"We wanted to create a larger stage that would offer the companies we profile a more digitally savvy, socially designed platform," says Marisa Ricciardi, CMO, NYSE Euronext. Ricciardi says the new platform not only promotes NYSE as an innovative, forward-looking brand, but also helps promote the listing companies - both current and potential - whose stories it seeks to tell.
The 225-year old equities exchange was already providing such storytelling via NYSE, a glossy print publication that appears three times a year and has about 65,000 readers. The magazine is distributed to executives at publicly traded companies, private equity and venture capital firms, as well as selected airport and business lounges. About two years ago, NYSE began using its main website to offer story updates more frequently than the print pub could offer. But that wasn't quite enough in the age of social media, hence the decision to launch a dedicated online platform NYSE calls The Big Stage.
The site, Ricciardi says, "provides users with an opportunity to experience that content when and where they choose. It is less about speaking to them and more about engaging with the audience."
The editorial on the site is a mix of NYSE's own marketing content and that of its partners, the branded content arms of The Wall Street Journal and Time Inc. Current content on the site includes an interview with Juan Ramón Alaix, the CEO of veterinary vaccine maker Zoetis Inc.; a Q&A with David Liu, chairman and CEO of the NY-headquartered media and technology company XO Group Inc.; and a series of video interviews conducted by startup guru Guy Kawasaki, interviewing entrepreneurs such as Jeremy Stoppelman, CEO of Yelp.
With users now able to email or share the stories on Twitter, Facebook, and other social media, and NYSE's ability to track which stories are most popular, the exchange can also decide on-the-fly which stories and headlines to emphasize. "This helps us create future content and give us great feedback," Ricciardi says.
NYSE's Twitter channel, which currently has around 245,000 followers, is also being used to promote the new site, as are banner ads placed on selected financial services websites, according to Todd Stanley, executive vice president at Digitas, the agency that is working with NYSE to plan and execute the new site. With the revamp, the banner ads can also be updated in real time to reflect the latest editorial updates.
Digitas has also worked with other brands including Sprint to develop news desk-type offerings, Stanley says, but not every brand has the depth of content needed to fill a site on the scale of NYSE. Still, brands can seek out more modest ways of building the brand's story via social media. Says Stanley: "The brand as publisher can be a daunting challenge. You need to know your audience and what resources you are capable of delivering. This is a strategy to be sustained, rather than a short-term solution where you try it and walk away."
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Mary Lisbeth D'Amico is a freelance writer based in Jersey City who frequently covers digital marketing, social media, tech startups, and venture capital. She has contributed to a wide range of publications including The Wall Street Journal, Business Week, Red Herring, and Real Deals. Find her on Twitter at @mldamico.
March 19, 2014