Winner: Weber Shandwick - Verizon Wireless News Center: Dynamic Content Through Disciplined Storytelling
Verizon Wireless, with the help of agency partner Weber Shandwick, altered its approach to reaching influencers by developing an online news hub, the Verizon Wireless News Center. This journalistic approach to brand storytelling was a direct reaction to changes in how news is consumed today and to the reality that an increased number of digital outlets and media sites allow even nondescript influencers to hijack and own a particular brand's story.
Traditional communications strategies were replaced with digital storytelling, delivering digestible, shareable content. The partners reorganized the Verizon Wireless communications team as an editorial newsroom and developed a clear workflow structure for how the organization would work together, with the eventual goal of producing 15 to 20 stories per week. A Web publishing curriculum was planned for the Verizon Wireless communications team, which included three half-day sessions devoted to SEO, writing for the Web and the editorial process. They solicited feedback from the entire communications team to prepare a detailed 12-month editorial calendar.
The News Center has become a resource for media and consumers looking for quality information on topics related to Verizon Wireless. In April 2013, the News Center received 123 backlinks from influencers, a 297% increase from the backlinks received during May 2012, the month of launch. Since launch, the News Center has received 1.3 million unique visitors.
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