As you are preparing to make a market-moving announcement, you likely are going through the same cycle of anxiety you have had countless times before: Can I efficiently and comprehensively influence the complete communications lifecycle of this announcement? Sure, I have a trusted partner for the distribution of the announcement, but what happens after that? Can I track the journey of this story as it gains traction, and can the media get everything they need from the owned channels I oversee?
For many communicators, the answer is a resounding “no.” They have a provider of individual services and a mix of internal solutions to meet the minimum needs, but they lack a partner to truly own the process from end to end.
How an Online Newsroom Can Help
An online newsroom (known as a MediaRoom here at Cision) can bridge this gap in the communications lifecycle. While every organization has a space somewhere on their website for news, most communicators are using internal solutions that don’t prioritize the needs of the communications professional or the media.
Ideally, your online newsroom should drive engagement with journalists, analysts and bloggers; however, building a successful and effective newsroom requires dedicated time, attention and resources. That’s why many communications teams partner with external experts like Cision who understand journalists’ specific needs and can build solutions to meet these needs.
What Do Journalists Want in an Online Newsroom?
As mentioned above, online newsrooms should be created with journalists’ needs in mind. To understand how an online newsroom can better service journalists, we asked the members of PR Newswire for Journalists (PRNJ) to tell us the “must-have” elements they need most from a brand’s newsroom. Here’s what they told us, in order of priority:
- Up-to-Date News Releases: While it might seem simple to get that press release you worked so hard on directly to your newsroom efficiently and accurately, this is still a bottleneck for many organizations. Even if there is a process for getting the release to the newsroom, it often involves emailing the release to the web ops or IT team. Clients who have previously used this method have experienced turnaround times of days or even weeks to get press releases posted onto their websites. An online newsroom should enable fast and efficient press release publishing. When PR Newswire clients use a Cision MediaRoom, for example, their press releases are posted instantly to their newsroom. Additionally, a MediaRoom provides the flexibility to add other content – multimedia, pull quotes, white papers and blogs – which can be modified by you or our team at the push of a button.
- Up-to-Date Event Information: Your organization is preparing for a big event. You’re working with your peers to make sure you’ve announced this event to the media. But have you made sure there is a repository for the event information?
Companies often make the mistake of not publishing event information on their websites, and if they do, that information can be difficult to find. The media expect to see this information in the same place as other newsworthy content – in your newsroom!
Not only should it be easy to post and organize events in your online newsroom, but it should also be easy for journalists to add events from your newsroom to their calendars and set up alerts so they never miss an upcoming event.
- Email Alert Sign-Up: No matter how good your newsroom is, journalists are likely too busy to constantly check it for updates. That’s why having a capability that enables journalists to be notified any time your newsroom is updated can be a game changer.
The newsrooms we build for clients, for instance, provide the option of sending alerts to readers when you post particular types of content, such as press releases, blogs, white papers or success stories. (Journalists told us they appreciate having this information come to them rather than searching for it themselves.) Feeding this information directly to journalists’ inboxes will also increase the likelihood that they will cover the information you are sharing.
- Thought Leadership Content: Some brands have an outmoded view that newsrooms are a place to house only “newsworthy” content. They use their newsrooms solely to post press releases and media coverage are missing an opportunity to leverage the full value a newsroom can provide to tell your brand’s story.
However, journalists want a one-stop shop for brand content.
When you use your newsroom as a content hub, you are providing your journalistic audience with additional resources that give added context to your brand’s story. This is why we encourage our clients to include white papers, blog posts and success stories in their newsrooms: because it helps journalists paint a picture of who your brand is and why you’re a leader in your field.
- Downloadable Multimedia: According to Cision’s recent State of the Media report, in 2022 alone, 81% of journalists used images, 47% included video and 41% included infographics – and those numbers are only growing. The more you work multimedia into the stories you’re pitching, the better your chances are of getting press pickup.
While press releases can be an excellent vehicle for distributing multimedia, it may not be possible to embed all of your content assets with your release, particularly if they are large files or if you have many of them. Housing those assets in an online mediaroom makes it easy for journalists to find and grab the assets they need. If you’re working with an external vendor, look for one that provides unlimited storage, easy batch uploading, and a user-friendly interface for the best user experience.
As you can see, an online newsroom is a valuable tool for comms professionals to showcase their most valuable content to the media. Ensuring that you include the most relevant and up-to-date assets will make it easier for journalists to get what they need so they cover your story.