7 Steps to a Great On-line Newsroom
June 23, 2015
A colleague asked me how to put together an on-line newsroom so I thought why not write a post about it. She asked about the key elements that would make it easier for journalists to access information about her client, a company in the manufacturing sector.
I guess the first step is to actually have a newsroom. Many organizations still don’t include a media section on their websites yet this is usually the first port of call for both the public and the media. A good on-line newsroom will make it easier for journalists to cover your story and it will increase your chances for media coverage.
1. Make it easy to find.
From a media relations perspective, the key is to make your on-line newsroom visible, accessible and reporter-friendly. I’ve seen so many company websites that seem to hide the newsroom. I don’t know if that’s on purpose or an oversight. Still, it’s almost a scavenger hunt to find it. Mark the newsroom clearly on the menu and make it easy to navigate. Reporters on deadline don’t have time to search. They’re more likely to give up and move on.
2. Introduce your team.
Provide brief biographies for all of your key players including anyone who might on occasion act as a company spokesperson.
3. Add multi-media for spice.
- Offer photographs and video in several versions and formats to give reporters choice.
- Use professional photographs. They should be in both high and low resolution and easy to download.
- You want to have photos of your team, the company logo, and, if it applies, your products. Depending on your location, you can also include an exterior photo of your company headquarters.
- If appropriate, include B-roll video that is easy to download. If it’s not proprietary, people love behind the scenes video or, in the case of my colleague’s manufacturing client, the “how is it made?” video inside the plant.
4. Include all your news releases.
Post all your news releases in your on-line newsroom. If there are a lot of them, use some sort of archive system to make it easier to navigate.
5. Don’t forget previous news coverage.
Have an “in the news” area to post all the previous coverage you’ve received in print publications and on the web as well as on radio and TV. These stories or interviews can provide reporters with useful research material.
6. Offer background information.
If there’s a lot to say, include a backgrounder and/or a FAQ section. These should be written in simple language. But, depending on your organization, you could also have a more technical version that would appeal to the trade media who are looking for more specific details.
7. Invite them to contact you.
Make sure that contact information is clear. It’s best to have a person to contact. Note their name, position, phone number and email address. Anonymous email contact boxes are a turn-off. Reporters on deadline don’t want to send queries off into the un-named air.
What you’re creating is essentially an on-line press kit for your organization. It doesn’t matter what you call it on your website…newsroom, in the news, media…the important thing is to have one and to make sure it meets reporters’ needs.