Tips For An Effective Online Newsroom
Every organization has some form of online newsroom to provide documents, graphics and press kits to the media. Most are poorly thought out and executed to benefit the journalist, writer, reviewer, blogger, analyst.
Here is a list of tips that can help you create and manage an effective newsroom that provides a return on investment.
1. Be Timely.
Post news immediately or schedule its release.
2. Take Control.
Use dedicated content management software to make changes. Don’t wait on your IT department to “get to it”.
3. Categorize News Releases.
Create sections such as “financial”, “legal”, and “product news”. Journalists will be able to find what they need quickly.
4. Add New Sections.
Ensure that you can add a new section “on-the-fly” to accommodate breaking news or crisis management.
5. Feature Important Releases.
Promote releases in a pleasing layout. Don’t let important information get lost in a chronological listing.
6. Post Release Dates.
Show timelines – place publish date next to the title of the news release.
7. Extend Information Availability.
Automatically place a link to “related articles” on each press release.
8. Offer Exclusive Information.
Create a password-protected area specifically for registered journalists.
9. Provide Work Space.
Offer registered journalists a virtual personal folder or “briefcase” for document storage.
10. Extend Information Distribution.
Enable journalists to E-mail a release, along with an appended message, to a colleague.
11. Design Intuitive Navigation. Clearly display direct links to various product lines. Group news by product line.
12. Follow Usability Guidelines. Keep important information “above the fold”, use a readable color scheme and reduce the need for scrolling as much as possible.
13. Link Up. Provide a link TO your corporate web site and other partner sites, if applicable.
14. Link Up – Vice Versa. Provide a link FROM your corporate web site to your online newsroom.
15. Offer Downloadable Graphics.
Supporting, high-resolution pictures and logos increase the chance of press coverage.
16. Offer Audio and Video.
Provide streaming video and audio on demand.
17. Embrace Web Technology.
Utilize online chat and videoconferencing technology to minimize the cost and expand the availability of press conferences. Provide access to archived conferences.
18. Offer Convenience.
Provide real-time access of releases. Don’t force a journalist to download a Microsoft Word document or Adobe Acrobat PDF file.
19. Retain Corporate Branding.
Use company logos, colors and styles to ensure journalists that the online newsroom is an “official” company site.
20. Package Content Efficiently.
Simultaneously display the same content on both the newsroom as well as the corporate home page – each in their own design – without extra effort. Reduce duplication of work.
21. Provide Universal Search.
The ability to search the site should be available on each page.
22. Expand Search Capabilities.
Offer an “advanced search” so journalists can search on specific archived date ranges, topics and product lines.
23. Post PR Contact List.
Clearly display names, all phone numbers, E-mails and areas of responsibility.
24. Provide PR Contact Search.
Enable journalists to get to the correct person, for the correct information, quickly.
25. Promote Events.
Publish a calendar of events such as trades shows, product releases and executive appearances.
26. Celebrate Executive Personalities.
Promote executive biographies, pictures and appearances.
27. Show History.
Publish a corporate timeline that outlines the growth and milestones of the company.
28. Display Financials.
Create a section containing earnings releases, stock information, investor relations and other financial data.
29. Supply Technical Data.
Include white papers, technical documents, product features and specifications.
30. Provide Pricing.
Update price sheets as quickly as possible.
31. Prepare for Crisis.
Store prepared crisis information. In the event of a crisis, immediately switch it to “live” status. Reduce the stress of preparing information during a panic.
32. Publish E-mail Alerts.
Send out tailored news to journalists. Allow them to select the type of news they wish to receive.
33. Target News Distribution.
Maintain separate distribution lists to target key messages to certain groups (i.e., geographic regions, specific industry reporters).
34. Manage Media.
Create and maintain a database of media contacts. Record the requests of individual journalists and use that knowledge to provide appropriate information, pitch stories effectively and monitor publications.
35. Gather Information.
Generate online surveys and polls for feedback.
36. Go Beyond “Keyword” Search.
Analyze what journalists want from your site. Use that knowledge to promote the content you want them to review.
37. Know Your Visitors.
Access site reports to see how often a journalist visits the site and what information is being reviewed.
38. Track Releases.
Know which journalist read which release.
39. Show Return On Investment.
Reduce overhead and shipping costs by providing press kit downloads.
40. Track Downloads.
Count press kit downloads to quantify return on investment and identify most popular content.
41. Be Reliable.
Host on a world-class Tier 1 backbone for heavy traffic spurts.
42. Provide Global Access.
Utilize an online publishing system that provides global administration.
43. Standardize Procedures.
Utilize database-driven templates to increase productivity while maintaining a consistent design.
44. Standardize Workflow.
Utilize a built-in approval process so that administrators can interact with the system from any location.
45. Reduce Staff Expense.
Use an easy-to-learn content management system that doesn’t require a technical staff.
46. Be “Print Friendly”.
Provide a printable version of each release for those that prefer a hard copy. Include only text, contact information and logo on the printable version.
47. Go Wireless.
Provide wireless distribution to mobile devices.
48. Be International.
Handle multiple languages with the storage of translated documents.
49. Increase Security.
Assign different levels of authorization to a variety of administrative staff.
50. Provide Universal Formatting.
Ensure that newsroom content can be extracted into an XML format so that it may be easily re-used across the organization and between suppliers, partners and distributors.