Nine Steps to a Noteworthy Newsroom

Journalists are crazy busy these days. With information coming from every direction, sometimes it’s tough for a journalist to decide where to go to find the best and most newsworthy stuff.

You, as a business owner, need to be aware that making the journalists’ job easier is key to getting media coverage for your company. Having a well-thought out media room on your website is crucial to getting the word out through media channels about how great you are. And you are great. But, you already know that, right?

Today, unlike with social media and other marketing and messaging tools that have still not entirely caught on for many business owners, it’s common knowledge that the conduit to your audience starts at your website. Knowing that you need a crisp, sharply designed website, and then having one developed for you is progress indeed. However, ensuring that your site also includes crucial information for media use can be a daunting challenge.

Here are some simple steps and explanations about designing your media room, and what the key components are in creating an effective one.

  1. Post press releases in .pdf format. It’s good to post one press release a month that announces something new and exciting or innovative in which your company is involved.
  2. Allow people to subscribe to an RSS content delivery feed. Visit www.feedburner.com for details on how to set this simple feature up.
  3. Post your press kit in a downloadable .pdf format. Be sure your company profile is well written and includes professional shots of your key players and, if applicable, your product(s).
  4. Post links (where possible) or PDF’s of any news your company has been mentioned in; the more, the merrier, because it gives your work credence and validates your objectives.
  5. Include a library of professional photos that can be easily used (with photographic credits) by journalists when needed.
  6. Keep in mind search engine optimization; be sure your newsroom helps support that strategy.
  7. Make your newsroom a multi-media source. Have at least 2 or 3 videos of someone in your company being interviewed about non-time sensitive topics. This allows journalists to see that you have savvy people on staff ready and able to be interviewed at a moment’s notice.
  8. Ensure that your releases can be easily shared via social media. For example, a ‘post this on Facebook’ or ‘tweet this’ widget makes it easy for your audience to share your content with their audience, thereby furthering your reach.
  9. Prepare an FAQ and make it good – keep it succinct. Avoid marketing lingo and exaggerative adjectives. Be honest, clear and think of the media while preparing this . . . what would so-and-so need?

Finally, remember this: a journalist can go to your site and get a lot of the information, but they don’t have the time (or the inclination) to wander around in there for hours! You’re making it easy for them by having a nice, well designed media room. And easy for them can mean more coverage for you.  Don’t you deserve the recognition?

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3 Responses

  1. Jan Gunter says:

    Christine – this is a fabulous article! We are working on an electronic press kit that will go live soon. It incorporates many of these suggestions, but I am saving this post and will work to implement all of these things. Thanks for putting it all together in a check list!


  2. Ed Lallo says:

    Christine – A very informative article that can be backed up by a new survey that finds newsrooms and photos high on on journalists want lists.

    In a recent post on the public relation website Bulldog Reporter’s Daily Dog, Have You Modernized Your Media Relations Yet? New Survey Reveals Journalists are Primarily Reliant on Electronic Media — And the Need for Additional Assets Makes E-Releases Increasingly Relevant; according to a new survey from PWR New Media, we live in our inboxes and the same holds true for journalists.

    PWR New Media’s survey of more than 200 journalists found that due to reduced newsroom staffing, reporters have been forced to take on extra responsibilities at their publications – especially online duties.

    The survey asked journalists about their news release preferences and new media usage. Participating journalists were from all parts of the country and represented every media outlet, with print most heavily represented: 49% from newspaper and 27% from magazines.

    A majority of journalist responded that new media has made their lives easier, allowing them more and quicker access to information and open up new opportunities for publishing and communicating. Others, however, said they’re “overwhelmed” and feel new media is making their jobs harder, even putting those jobs at risk.

    “The advent of New Media has allowed our organization to do deeper background research,” commented one respondent. “and the inclusion of multimedia content on our website and in our e-newsletters has allowed us to provide our readership with a more in-depth look at stories than we were able to in the past with print or static web content alone.

    More than 90% of the surveyed used search engines to find electronic press kits, making the use of online newsrooms an essential part of the journalists research tool: 54% of journalists saying they use them for stories. Journalist also depend on other social media outlets for research; Blogs (43%), social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook (42%), RSS feeds (20%) and podcasts and videocasts (17%).

    Strong storytelling images were found to be king in press releases. 
Of the journalists surveyed, 79% were more likely to cover a news release if it included easy access to hi-resolution photos. They did not want high-resolution images to accompany releases because of inbox space; a low-resolution with link to a downloadable high-resolution was the preferred method of delivery.

    Journalists, 82%, also wanted usable verbiage from releases along with relevant backgrounders, bios, and other related info. Email was the preferred method to receive releases. Social Media was found unreliable, and much of it’s content to be irrelevant.

    Ed Lallo
    Newsroom Ink

    • Ed – thanks so much for the additional insight and supporting commentary and stats. Excellent survey, and glad to see I wasn’t just making this stuff up; that there are numbers to back me up. I’ll have to check out the Bulldog Reporter. Btw, love the line “we live in our inboxes”. Boy, can I relate! Thanks for taking the time to post.


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