Are You Using Online Newsroom Best Practices?

by PR Coach

newsroom best practices

TEKGROUP 2012 Online Newsroom Report highlights best practices

TEKGROUP’s 2012 Online Newsroom Survey Report highlights several important trends and offers clear direction for those planning a newsroom or revitalizing their existing one.

Steve Momorella, owner and founder of TEKGROUP International, talked with me about the survey and the challenges and opportunities offered for PR and organizations in the future.

Online Newsroom Basics

He says one of the great things about an online newsroom is that it levels the playing field.

“You’re using the same “platform” as a larger company, even though you might be a small non-profit,” says Momorella. “The key is creating relatable, compelling content and offering great stories about your brand, your products, your employees, partners, suppliers and customers.”

Does it matter if you’re a large or small organization? 87.2% of journalists said they would visit an online newsroom regardless of the size of organization.

He cites Central Pennsylvania Community College,  the Children’s Center in Detroit and The Getty Trust as good examples of effective newsrooms by smaller organizations

The Getty Trust exhibition visual

Getty Trust newsroom levels playing field

Ford, Starbucks and Prudential provide best practice models for newsrooms in large organizations.

Fundamentals remain very consistent in TEKGROUP’s annual survey of working journalists:

  • 98% believe an online newsroom is important for organizations (50% said “very important”)
  • 98% want access to online news releases in the newsroom; 93% want news releases categorized for easier access
  • 98% like online search of archives
  • 81% want an investor relations information available in the newsroom
  • 98% want PR contact info available in the newsroom (65% say this is “very important”).

Online Newsroom Challenges and Opportunities

Momorella sees the biggest opportunity in two areas. First, creating great content. Second, using social media, RSS feeds, and email to distribute news content to targeted audiences.

He also points to some of the things that online newsrooms need to do better.

“One big flaw that organizations have is that they create an online newsroom and then do not keep it updated. Content is king. Fresh content that is relevant to a particular industry and is updated throughout the week will help on many levels,” he says.

Good content increases awareness, increases traffic to the online newsroom, and helps with Search Engine Optimization for your organization. The more targeted and relevant content you have published with links to your digital properties, the better for SEO.

He highlights another opportunity. “Organizations could take better advantage of integrating social media into their online newsroom. Automatically publishing news content to Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn as well as integrating Twitter and Facebook accounts directly into the online newsroom will help “socialize” the online newsroom and make it more open to a wider audience of news consumers.”

Online Newsroom Trends

While the survey covered primarily “traditional” media, 19% of respondents this year were social media including blogs, Internet newspapers and online magazines.

The impact of mobile on every business, and particularly PR, is growing and impacts online newsroom traffic.

“In the past two years we’ve seen the number of people coming to our clients’ online newsrooms via mobile rise dramatically. Two years ago it was 5-10%, now it is 15-20% of all traffic going to our clients’ online newsrooms. We analyzed 15 of our clients comprising more than 2,000,000 page views over one month. People want to get their news via mobile,” Momorella says.

Social media is also growing in importance. Organizations have learned they can create content about their business, services, and products and it can spread via social networks. “If they include photos and videos, it’s more likely to be shared even more via Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, and the dozens of other social platforms,” he adds.

You are also starting to see much more “graphically appealing” online newsrooms such as Vail Resorts and Toyota which use multimedia and social media very well. Both examples you must see for inspiration.

Vail Resorts’ newsroom uses multimedia, social media well

More report highlights include:

  • Digital multimedia is critical (94% say access to photos is important; 90% want product information available; 61% want audio and 75% would like video files available)
  • Social is vital (78% would like social media links included; 34% visit company blogs “often”; now only 9% “definitely” want a Twitter newsfeed from an organization but 34% are open to the idea)
  • Mobile is growing (61% see mobile access as important)
  • 94% would like “breaking news” available (45% say this is very important).

The TEKGROUP report is a must read for planning an online newsroom or looking for best practices that meet the needs of news and social media and other visitors today and tomorrow.

The survey covered more than 1000 working journalists. The report is available free with a simple online registration.

Do you have an online newsroom? How does it measure up to these needs of journalists and social media? We’d enjoy hearing about your favorite example of excellent online newsrooms in the comments below.

Author: Jeff Domansky

Visuals: TEKGROUP, The Getty Trust, Vail Resorts

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