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12 tips for designing an online newsroom

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If you don’t have some sort of online newsroom on your website several things are likely occurring:

  • You’re losing out on media coverage.
  • The media that cover you are making more mistakes than they would if you had an online newsroom.
  • Cool elements of your story are being neglected by media more than they otherwise would or should be.
  • Because the content housed on online newsrooms is read by many non-media types, your biggest fans and prospects lack the resources they need to learn to love you, or love you more.

You get me? An online newsroom matters. And, no, yours doesn’t have to be as dope as Coca-Cola’s.

It does, however, need a few basics.

Here are 12 tips for designing an online newsroom:

1)     Make media contact details obvious. Unbelievably many newsrooms fail at this. There should be an obvious person who is listed as the point of contact. This should be above the fold and un-missable.

2)      Link to recent press releases. Simple enough. Because most press releases contain quotes you will be providing an out for journos in a hurry who may not be able to speak with your execs. Never a bad thing.

3)      Link to recent media coverage. Again, easy enough.If you don’t get a tonne of press, don’t worry as even a little bit of coverage will convey thaty

4)      Include a media backgrounder(s). Consider a few backgrounders – say one on the company and one on the new line you’re launching (no need for 10 but 1 or 2 will do). These will serve to educate those who come across you for the first time at the newsroom.

5)      Include executive bios. Certain press segments will want to know about the bosses. This is particularly true in certain industries. Be safe and include these.

6)      Be social. This is not 2003 and The newsroom should have clear social media links. Sometimes brands embed widgets that display their latest status updates on various platforms. You might consider giving prominence to the personal social media accounts of C-suiters at your firm (provided they are not crazies or prone to Cro-Magnon type assessments of contentious issues).

7)      Multimedia content = a must. The  multimedia section can make or break a newsroom. You should have hi and web-res pics, videos, other visual content (like a PPT deck), maybe a few audio recordings or webinars, logos, etc. Media need this stuff.

8)      Organize your multimedia content. Multimedia content should be organized by type. So there should be a photos section, a videos section, etc, etc.

9)      Show off with case studies. Case studies are particularly helpful for B2B firms. Why not show interested media how you’ve helped your clients’ overcome their problems. Cases serve as a great proof point for those checking you out.

10)  Display blog content on the newsroom homepage. The press may be interested in the content you are publishing via your company blog. Why not feature relevant/popular blog posts on the newsroom’s homepage?

11)  Make it all searchable. You need a search function because media are time crunched. They will abandon ship if they cannot fund what they want. In which case the story about you may end up full of errors.

12)   Optimize around keywords. Like any website page the newsroom offers a chance to optimize content based on keywords. Some eye should be given to this pre build.

Go gettem, Tiger!

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