Historically, headline-seeking journalists have struggled with reaching live spokespersons for interviews and with extracting necessary facts from press releases shared in newsrooms. Happily, though, times have changed, spurred on by the burgeoning digital realm and the creation of the online newsroom.
Big and small businesses alike can turn website real estate into useful bits and bytes for the press. Downloadable videos, news releases, photographs/executive headshots, biographies, movie trailers, application reviews and the like appear with ease online for immediate viewing and download. It is this website subsection that we refer to as the online newsroom.
Proving the value of online newsrooms, Tekgroup, an award-winning Internet software and services organization, recently completed a research study within which it polled a diverse population of journalists about online newsroom usage. Not unexpectedly, more than 91 percent of polled journalists believe that organizations of all sizes should invest in and maintain an online newsroom. This makes sense, given journalists’ increased responsibilities and tightened deadlines. The study also revealed that journalists make good use of online newsrooms with nearly 30 percent indicating that they visit at least one online newsroom a day for story information.
With increasing numbers of journalists leveraging online mediums for up-to-date content for story creation, one question arises: “What should I put in my online newsroom?” Optimally, strong content should be the focus and include: news releases (in chronological order); images (products, executives, screen shots); digital video and audio clips; infographics; important links; and even exclusive, password-protected content. Journalists also indicated that setting up a newsroom with navigational tools (a search function) and the ability to immediately access a live company representative is also highly valuable.
Finally (and we especially encourage this with our own clients), organizations should consider integrating their online newsrooms with social media platforms whenever possible. In short order, social media is becoming the go-to platform for information gathering. People use Twitter most prominently as both a resource and a distribution medium. Brands may tweet useful photos, videos and timely news snippets and, at the same time, target specific reporters with unique information that arrives in personal Twitter feeds.
As the communication path further develops into a timely, bi-directional tool, all organizations should consider using online real estate to further brand their products, staffs and businesses via online newsrooms. These website subsections offer immediate access to information and easily downloadable details that assist journalists who require immediate access to information. What’s more, online newsrooms are easy to keep up to date, you can modify them as needed (executive changes, contact information updates) and, most importantly, facilitate effortless linking across email and all social media platforms.
To learn more about how to structure and develop useful content for your own online newsroom, take a look at Axia PR’s Essential Social Media Management Guide, which will help demonstrate the value of and key avenues for online engagement.
– Jason Mudd, APR, is CEO of Axia Public Relations. He is an Emmy Award-winning accredited public relations practitioner, speaker, author and entrepreneur. His public relations portfolio includes work for established national and emerging brands such as American Airlines, Budweiser, Dave & Buster’s, Brightway, Florida Blue, H&R Block, Hilton, HP, Miller Lite, New York Life, Pizza Hut, Ray Charles, Southern Comfort, Verizon and more. Connect with Jason on Twitter @jasonmudd9 and Axia Public Relations @axiapr. Be sure to tweet and share your thoughts below. We’ll read and respond to each of them.
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