December 10, 2012

Top tips for an effective online newsroom

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V Formation’s Diane Wood helps you take stock of your online newsroom and identifies the type of content that journalists, bloggers – and customers too – would expect and like to find from your website.

Content is king when it comes to your online presence. You’ll have heard this many times recently and it is now truer than ever, with search engines rewarding websites that carry original, relevant, up-to-date and quality content.

Putting aside your search engine rankings, strong content plays a key role in customers’ buying decisions as well as providing a useful resource for journalists and bloggers seeking contributors and commentators on industry issues.

By utilising your website as an online newsroom, you can build a reputation as an organisation that has its finger on the pulse, with topical, interesting, current, newsworthy information available 24/7 – and provide a useful resource for the key journalists and influencers within your industry sector. Here are some simple suggestions for the type of content your ‘online newsroom’ could and should contain:

  1. Latest news – coordinate uploading press stories to your newsroom the moment they are issued to the media, of course respecting exclusives where appropriate.
  2. Get blogging – whereas your latest news is just that, a dedicated blog allows you to run opinion pieces and thought leadership items. A blog can really help your personality to shine through and, done effectively, is a key tool in driving you up the search engine rankings.
  3. Spread the word – use social media channels to synchronise the release and upload of press stories – a 140 character tweet to your followers could draw more visitors to check out the story in full, and have a mooch around your website at the same time. Such snapshots can cover company announcements, business successes and topical comments, market research campaigns, online polls, their results and your views of these. Don’t be afraid of sharing a story a few times, perhaps with a different angle in your tweet each time.
  4. Contacts – ensure it is clear who should be contacted for additional information, interviews, comments, images, research, and so on. Include all relevant information to make it as easy for journos and bloggers to reach the right individual. And if possible log all enquiries from the newsroom to help with evaluation, tracking and follow-ups. Just don’t make it too arduous.
  5. Company profile – use the standard boiler plate if necessary, but ensure there’s some general information about your business, its specialisms, services, sector experience, achievements, affiliations, awards, etc. Such an overview can help enquirers ascertain if your company spokesperson and stories are indeed the right fit for their story/enquiry.
  6. Profiles and biographies – of the company’s main personnel/spokespeople. Something brief, and could form part of the company profile information, but again helps to build the picture, and maximise content for the web. Include job titles, responsibilities, specialist subjects, qualifications and background.
  7. Images – where possible, include a gallery of captioned images, with contact information for requests (again important so you can track requests for evaluation purposes and follow-ups). People, events, awards, press shots are all important.
  8. Footage – video is excellent for maximising content and profile. Consider short information films, video blogs and news pieces, with a brief explanation of who is featured and what is covered. These are a perfect platform for a twitter campaign too.
  9. Social sharing – make it ‘one-click easy’ for visitors to follow your blog and twitter feed and to share content that they like through their own social media platforms.

The trick then lies in keeping your online content fresh and relevant. Review it regularly to see what has worked and what needs tweaking and ensure that those people you are seeking to influence most are able to find – and benefit from – your online content.

V Formation can help you ensure your online presence is both press and customer friendly. To find out more, please email Diane or call 0115 822 6364 to speak to a member of the team.

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