10 tips for building your online newsroom

In a recent issue of ePRnews, we featured some key benefits and quick tips for building an online newsroom on your website. Since then, we’ve received calls & emails from our readers asking to learn more, so we thought we would post those checklist items with a little more detail here to benefit all.  

Image of news headline

Here are a few facts to you should know up front 

  • Social PR communications tools are vital in today’s digital media landscape.  As journalists have converged into the digital realm, creating a content rich and up-to-date online newsroom is key.
  • Online newsrooms provide journalists and editors with background information that’s needed to develop accurate and timely news stories.
  • Statistics tell us that journalists and editors are searching the web for information on companies, just like yours, more and more everyday. If that isn’t motivation enough to get your online newsroom up to snuff,we don’t know what is!

We hope you find a couple of good nuggets of information on what to include in order to build an effective online newsroom.

1. Post your News as it Becomes Available and Enable Journalists to Opt-In for Updates

Press releases and other announcements should be posted to the online newsroom in a searchable format as soon as they’re released to the media. Visitors should also have access to archived press releases from previous months or years if you have them. Place press releases in chronological order (most recent at the top). Keep traditional press release formatting and use easy-to-read fonts. In addition, allow journalists and other site visitors to opt-in for press release distribution through RSS feeds or e-mail sign-ups.

2. Be Search Friendly

Make it easy for journalists to find just what they want, by making all your press materials fully searchable. Consider adding a search tool to your site that transitions to the newsroom.  Tag all the content with the keywords that will make it easy to find in search or social sites to boost your SEO efforts. Use words you think a journalist might use to search for when writing story on your topic in general – so that you get found in the process. We suggest setting up google analytics on your site – if you haven’t done so already – some good intel there.   

3. Media Contact Needs to be Clearly Identified

The main page of the newsroom should include your company spokespersons’ name, contact information and corporate profile on social networks, (with phone number and email upfront).  Make it easy for journalists to contact you.

4. Fact Sheets, Backgrounders and FAQs Should be Easy to Search and Print

Fact sheets, backgrounders and answers to frequently asked questions provide journalists with the basics about your company. The text of these documents should be posted in the press room, as well as PDF downloads that reporters can easily print and take to an interview.

5. Include Bios and Headshots

Reporters often review bios to select the appropriate sources for their stories. As designated to speak with the media, your bio should be accompanied with a downloadable photo. Provide multiple versions — 72 dpi (lower resolution) for online publications and websites, and 300 dpi (higher resolution) for offline publications. Suggest adding instructions such as “To download, right-click and choose save” next to the graphics.

6. Make Logos and Images Downloadable

Allow journalists to download logos and images. They often seek out these visual elements to enhance their stories, which can in turn, help readers and viewers remember you and recall it more easily. Add more than one image, so that there is a choice for bloggers and journalists. This allows them to choose an image that fits their take on the story. Supply source codes and URLs for all images. Also consider including charts, slide decks, PDFs and infographics if you have them.

7. Post Links to Content that Highlights Information

Newsrooms should include links to presentations, research, videos and other educational resources about your industry that can help journalists generate story ideas. In addition, your newsroom should include links to speaking engagements and past press coverage.

8. Post Links to Social Media Content

If you are active in social media, you should include newsroom links to your social networks, allowing journalists to connect / follow and receive regular updates in their newsfeed. In addition to social networks, your newsroom should include links to your blog, online videos etc…  Add icons that connect to all social content and provide social sharing links so others can like your news on Facebook or tweet it right from your news release. Pin all images to a Pinterest board and link back to the news release in your newsroom. 

9. Video and multimedia

Journalists, more and more, are searching for more ready to use multimedia to include in their stories. Adding video increases views on your news content by as much as 77%. Supply the embed code for the video  so that they can immediately use it.

10. Outreach Strategy

In addition to all of this – you should consider a PR plan and outreach strategy to editors & reporters, consumers and online influencers in order to gain media coverage for your brand and story.

Need Inspiration?

Here’s an outstanding example of an online newsroom. Let’s forget for a moment that it is the conglomerate, Microsoft. What we particularly liked about it is…

The press tools (with press contacts first) are easily accessed and navigable;  They list their social media (blogs twitter etc… to allow consumers and journalists to connect); and offer a highlighted section for latest news and events with good use of multimedia.  Here are a few more we found on a Pinterest board to provide some more inspiration.

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