NewsSpark beta available to Dispatch readers
When I first started in social media and spent a lot more time watching and listening than posting on Twitter several more experienced users of the medium reached out to me and encouraged me to ask questions. They encouraged me to learn more about how to use the social space and spent a lot of time answering questions. One of those people was Chris Ehrlich. Chris Ehrlich NewsSpark He was brimming with knowledge and ideas and genuinely happy to help. Which is why I’m thrilled to be able to repay his kindness.

Ehrlich founded NewsSpark a social content hub. He is also opening the private beta of the NewsSpark digital PR and marketing channel to readers of Dispatches from the Castle.

Readers can access the private beta hub and “stake claims to their industry categories” via my referral link, keeping  “AuroraMeyer” in the referrer field.

Readers can also use the hub’s invite-a-friend feature to invite others into the private beta.

Here’s more about the NewsSpark concept
Original content
NewsSpark is a digital hub where creators publish original content through their favorite mediums. The hub is made in East Grand Rapids, Mich. and metro Los Angeles.

Creators can publish original news, blogs, updates, photos, videos and audio (soon) on every topic — or Sparks. The hub also features catalogs of content creators, brands and groups.

The freemium model NewsSpark is planning to implement paid features, such as branded Content Galleries.

“Looking at the marketplace, we believe we’re the first digital channel dedicated to publishing and consuming original content,” said Ehrlich. “Some may argue the claim, but the hub’s makeup and utility are clearly distinct when compared to other digital channels.”

NewsSpark plans to exit its private beta and launch later this month.

Initial partners
After testing the hub with family and friends, NewsSpark has set up member benefit and/or content partnerships with several organizations during its private beta: the West Michigan Public Relations Society of America, or WMPRSA; stock video production company Uberstock; early stage venture capital fund Start Garden; and Michigan State University Spartan Innovations, the university’s startup innovation division.

“We’re just getting started,” Ehrlich said. “We’ll be forming partnerships on an ongoing basis.”

User-rated content
Sparks can be published by “anyone with great original content,” Ehrlich said.

Creators increase or decrease a Spark’s stoke count — and hub-wide rank — when they “stoke it,” “douse it” or mark it as a “firestarter.”

The hub of user-ranked content is organized by a set of filters and designed to be “a meritocracy and front-line source for anyone who consumes digital content,” Ehrlich said.

“Right now, the community is in its infancy,” Ehrlich said. “It will naturally grow as we grow.”


Content marketing problems
NewsSpark is designed to be an “open and organized hub where creators can complete their content marketing cycles,” Ehrlich said.

“The hub lets their content burn and work for them in ways it can’t at other digital channels,” he said.

Ehrlich explained that “almost immediately after it’s posted,” original content “functionally disappears” from other digital channels, where he said content is an ad unit, fleeting, disorganized, unfindable, isolated or in a closed network.

“There’s all this great content being created that gets lost online — as a fleeting mention, one-time broadcast or on a virtual island,” Ehrlich said. “We wanted to create a hub where original content can be planted, judged on its merit and work as an ongoing catalyst for creators — in real-time and long-term.”

The hub is also a platform for creators to package, consolidate and digitally present their complete range of content to their audiences in a professional-grade user interface, such as a plug-and-play social Content Gallery, newsroom or web presence.

“A brand’s content is diluted when it’s only fragmented across channels — and never unified in a single user experience for ongoing discovery,” Ehrlich said.

Sparks flying
The hub is designed to potentially increase multiple near- and long-term content marketing metrics: brand awareness, SEO and social search, audience, engagement, web traffic, coverage by bloggers and media outlets, inbound leads and sales.

“We’re simply engineered from the onset to deliver returns to creators who market their content,” Ehrlich said.

The hub is also designed to deliver cost and staff savings on managing and sharing digital content.

“Trying to manage and use de-centralized content is hugely inefficient for teams,” Ehrlich said. “And when they turn to platforms to package and centralize the content, they often run into technical or pricing obstacles.”

Bigger picture
NewsSpark will donate 5% of its income to The NewsSpark R. D.  Ehrlich Communications Scholarship at colleges across the country, beginning with UCLA and Denison University.

About NewsSpark
NewsSpark™ is the social content hub™ where creators publish original content through their favorite mediums. NewsSpark is made in East Grand Rapids, Mich. and metro Los Angeles.

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