A recent study of professional journalists (across print, broadcast and online), found that 66 percent visit an online newsroom every week, with a third visiting daily. (TheNewsMarket: The Digital Revolution Shaping the Way Journalist Consume Content)

A brand’s online newsroom is an important touch point with reporters who can tell your story, so it’s important to get the basics right when you create and manage one. Typically, online newsrooms contain sections for press releases, recent news coverage and important points of contact. More robust newsrooms also include multimedia elements that can be downloaded or shared, such as fact sheets, executive bios, photos and videos.

The key is implementing a communications strategy that provides content that is relevantaccessible and shareable.

In order to drive engagement with journalists, here are our best practices for your online newsroom:

  • Share news that is relevant to reporters. Find out what information reporters want and need, and host everything in one place. This also means updating key information frequently and regularly posting new content. Consider including corporate backgrounders, executive bios, PR contact information, fact sheet, high-resolution photos and logo files. For public companies, also provide links to earnings reports and SEC filings.
  • Make the information easily accessible. With only a few, well-pointed clicks, journalists should be able to find the information they need. Newsrooms need to be searchable and easy to navigate. Prominently featuring PR contact information, like Conrad Siegel Actuaries, is key for reporters to quickly connect with the right person. Also consider setting up email notifications or RSS feeds to alert beat journalists when your newsroom has been updated.
  • Provide rich content. Supplementing a press release with visual assets is no longer suggested – it’s essential. Each story should have visual and, when appropriate, video elements to support it. This can be photos, infographics, short- or long-form video or an embedded SlideShare.
  • Make content sharable. Giving media access to rich content is only useful if it can be easily shared and downloaded. Give each news item a unique URL and always include social media handles. For visual assets, allow journalists to easily download high-resolution files to accompany their story. (When it comes to a database of logos, give reporters options – similar to MRIS.)
  • Give credit where credit is due. You just got a really great media hit and now want to share it on your news page. Great! But make sure you source the article and link to the original content. Demand for certain topics or brands is determined a lot by clicks, views and shares. Help influence editorial decisions by driving people to view the original story. To do this, we recommend sharing a summary or teaser, then encourage people to read the full article on the outlet’s website. Take our client Force3 for example, who did a great job repacking an article in their newsroom featuring a principle security architect. What you never want to do is simply cut and paste the article onto your website. (Pro Tip: have the link open in a new window, rather than directing users away from your site.)

Ultimately the key to creating an online newsroom that media will use – and come back to – is sharing information that helps them do their job. This is not easy to do, but when done right it pays off for your PR program.

Need help developing your communications strategy and connecting with media? Let us help you.