Online corporate newsrooms – or online press offices or brand newsrooms as they’re also known – provide companies and organisations with a terrific opportunity to publish easy-to-find, up-to-date information that will help journalists do their job more effectively and accurately (with the upshot hopefully being positive editorial exposure for your brand).
But what should be de rigueur for brands – dynamic content hubs containing useful, helpful and relevant information on your company – I’ve noticed is pretty rare in the business world, and rarer still in the nonprofit and government sectors.
Let’s not confuse a simple media page that houses your press releases for a more fully functional (and useful) content hub for the media. The latter is dynamic in nature, and should contain rich multimedia content that helps shape your organisational narrative.
Lack of useful information
The knock on many online corporate newsrooms – apart from the issues outlined below via journalist research – is the lack of relevant, useful information.
That, plus too many companies simply use these pages to upload their overly-polished press releases, largely rendered meaningless through the over-use of corporate jargon and ‘weasel words’. What they should be including in their news hub are straight-forward informational resources and multimedia elements that, collectively, act as the informational ‘face’ of the brand. For example:
- fact sheets and backgrounders;
- infographics and charts;
- video and audio content;
- slide decks and SlideShare presentations;
- corporate social media feeds (plus a headline feed from your company blog);
- executive profiles (preferably written with personality, not bland template bios)
- high resolution pictures and images such as corporate logos, product photos etc;
- up-to-date contact details of key spokespeople, with hyperlinks to their LinkedIn and Twitter accounts (what do you mean, they’re not on Twitter?).
So why should organisations bother having a digital newsroom at all?
One could argue that having newsroom-style content hub is more important today than ever before.
Why? Because traditional newsrooms the world over have been downsized to within an inch of their lives and journalists in many cases are stretched to the limit as a result. Put simply, they have less time to build relationships with communications professionals, company spokespeople and subject matter experts; instead, they’re chained to their desks from which they do a lot of their research for stories.
Hence the importance of the online corporate newsroom; indeed, according to research (detailed below), 95 per cent of journalists access a digital newsroom/website at least once per month, while 41 per cent are looking for information on corporate websites daily. So clearly the need exists.
Which leads us to …
New survey suggests 65 per cent of online newsrooms are not meeting the media’s expectations
New research shows that many corporate digital newsrooms are not meeting the needs of journalists. According to the survey, conducted by digital communications platform ISEBOX, just six per cent of journalists polled said online newsrooms met their expectations.
Key findings, according to Isebox, included:
- Over 65 per cent of journalists said the majority of public relations online resources were insufficient.
- 80 per cent of journalists said they would more actively seek out a company’s newsroom if it met their needs.
- Poor contact information (69 per cent) and lack of multimedia content (65 per cent) are the biggest failings for journalists; poor search tools (54 per cent) and lack of current information (53 per cent) were also significant factors.
Additional findings included:
- Journalists ranked the following features as most important: Having accurate contact information (90 per cent), access to photos and video content (76 per cent), current news and information (71 per cent), and easy search tools to find content (55 per cent).
- 69 per cent of journalists never subscribe to company emails, yet 50 per cent stated it was important to be able to subscribe.
Isebox reports that while 70 per cent of journalists stated that most newsrooms do not meet their needs, it was encouraging to see that 80 per cent of journalists would seek out company newsrooms if they were improved. And therein lies the opportunity for corporate PR and communications folk!
But I’ll leave it to the journalists themselves.
Here were several comments received by the media during the research process:
We need more current, concrete information, less corporate talk”
“Lacking quality video in 2016 makes no sense”
“Too many companies email content. It should be on the website”
POST SCRIPT: The media today isn’t just print journalists or TV researchers or radio producers but might include bloggers and podcasters and, as author David Meerman Scott writes in his best-selling book The New Rules of Marketing & PR, your online newsroom is “a front door for much more than the media”.
Your newsroom is for your buyers, not just the media, Scott says.
And of course, don’t forget your other stakeholders: Employees, partners, suppliers and investors.
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