How many times have you followed an interesting link, only to find a poorly designed website with very little information? Or how many times have you tried to find information about a company or product and noticed that the news section has been updated a year ago? Hopefully not too often!
Company newsrooms have changed dramatically over the last decade – it is no longer just journalists seeking information about a company. Investors, bloggers, employees and new business prospects are also looking for info. Used correctly, a company’s newsroom can be an important part of its overall content and public relations plans (and as my colleague Robert explained in this post, newsrooms are very important in the Nordics).
Many corporate newsrooms are limited to simple listings of recent press releases, management bios and some links to outdated news coverage. However, the best online newsrooms maximize their website’s real estate with rich content such as videos or hi-res images and provide quality content that is easily searched and clearly organized so audiences – journalists, shareholders or consumers – can find what they are looking for.
As a company, do not give up your chance to raise awareness and achieve media coverage just because your website is hard to navigate. Follow these seven tips:
(1) Create a newsroom
It does not need to be called a newsroom, you can also call it ‘latest news’ or ‘news and events’ etc. but just make sure that you a section to store company news, recent announcements, images and biographies. To be sure that search engines can find your newsroom, have a link to the newsroom on your website’s homepage. You should also use title tags rich in keywords and utilize HTML code like headline tags and meta descriptions.
(2) Don’t just focus on releases
There are so many more things that you can post and share. From event invitations to appointments and bios, over slideshows and presentation summaries from the latest trade shows to podcasts on recent product developments to customer videos – all these materials can be posted online and enrich a press room, so that people unfamiliar with your company, product or industry quickly understand the newest trends and development. Here is a list of what should be included in your online newsroom:
- Contact information (including after-hours contact info)
- High-quality images, videos and podcasts
- White papers and research
- News releases and recent media coverage
- Executive biographies, awards, events and speaking engagements
- Corporate backgrounders and digital media kits
- RSS feeds plus social feeds
- Social sharing buttons
For example, the Cisco newsroom includes lots of different content.
( 3) Use visuals to tell or support a story
The best news story is not going to be featured if there are no images to accompany it. If you don’t have any pictures available, think about graphics or infographics (maybe even an interactive infographic?) that could support the story. Make it easy to find and download media by setting up an image bank of media section on your website to facilitate the search for visuals. IBM has gone one step further and partnered with The NewsMarket to provide journalists with production-standard multimedia content delivered digitally:
(4) Address different needs
Offer images in different resolutions (for print and online publishing) but also in different languages (if you are operating in different markets). You need to make sure that images are reusable in other markets, so do not include pricing information or local language manuals in the picture (or if you do, you have to prepare product shots for different markets). NEC provides a large photo library for media use.
(5) Include contact details and copyright information
Make sure to provide contact information so individual questions and requests can easily be addressed. IBM, for example, provides details about where the contact is based.
(6) Be social
By including RSS feeds and email opt-ins, you can enable readers to subscribe to your newsroom. This will allow them to receive content as it becomes readily available. You should also incorporate your social media feeds as well as social sharing buttons on your press releases to make sharing your content as easy as the click of the mouse.
A good example is Rackspace’s newsroom, which lets you subscribe easily to upcoming news.
(7) Regular updates
Nothing is more annoying than a media room that is out of date and does not include any recent materials. Make sure to update your media room regularly, and keep it fresh by removing old biographies and outdated images.
What other tips do you have, to create the newsroom of the future?