An online newsroom, press room or media center is a powerful piece of owned media which you can use to gain earned media for your brand. Not only does an online newsroom make a journalist’s life easier, but it also helps you provide them with the quality content which they need to write a story about you.
An online newsroom is an extension of your website which plays the role of a reliable source of company news and facts. Your newsroom is home to valuable PR content which journalists can use to tell an accurate story about your brand.
Why journalists will love your online newsroom
Imagine you’ve sent your press release to a journalist in your contact list and they’re eager to write about you. They want to get more details about your brand but the media contact you’ve provided isn’t reachable. Or it’s after office hours and they can’t make a call in time to beat their editorial deadline and publish your story in time. Where do they get more details at such short notice?
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Journalists are on a tight deadline. They don’t want to go digging through your website or, worse still, Googling your company, to get enough information for their story. They just don’t have the time. So how can you make their lives easier while still securing that story? By creating an online newsroom, that’s how.
If you can set up an good newsroom, then journalists will soon start to rely on you as a source of valuable information. Journalists love newsrooms because they can find press releases, media kits, fact sheets and other informative material about your brand all in one place. Ultimately, when done well, your newsroom should make it easier for them to write a story about you.
Not only does a well-done newsroom provide important newsworthy information about your brand, but it also helps journalists see what other people are saying about you. This helps them decide whether they want to endorse your brand by writing a story or not.
Why you will love your online newsroom
Your newsroom has many benefits for your brand beyond simply helping you organize all the valuable information about your brand in one place. With a good newsroom, you will be able to:
1) Increase engagement with your brand
Over time, traditional media, which previously lived offline, has transitioned into the digital sphere. If you take time to build a well-structured newsroom, then you can remain a part of the online conversations going on in your industry. This helps you remain relevant and visible over time. Additionally, it increases traffic to your website.
A newsroom gives your target audience – whether it’s journalists, investors, employees or clients – new ways of reaching out and engaging with your brand. It specifically helps you build long-term relationships with journalists, who come to view you as a reliable source of information related to your brand and the industry in general.
Journalists who learn to rely on you might end up quoting your brand even when the story isn’t about you. Sometimes the story isn’t about you but you have the statistics or expertise they need to back it up. Once you build an organized newsroom, you can earn mentions in stories which aren’t primarily about you.
In time, journalists quoting you in their stories will help establish your brand as a thought leader in the industry.
2) Make your media relations easier
If you have a good reputation as a thought leader or trusted authority in your industry, then you will attract the same media attention that you crave for your brand. When you’re already in a journalist’s good books as a treasure chest of information about the industry, then it will get easier to pitch that journalist in the future.
Having a newsroom already set up helps when it’s time to send your press release out. The recommended length for a good press release is 300-400 words, but when you have a good newsroom, this word limit shouldn’t stress you. Your newsroom is a good place to publish all that extra information which you think is important but don’t have enough space for.
Since you can link to your newsroom in your press release, the newsroom is a valuable tool for supporting your media outreach efforts. Journalists who are curious for more information will be pleasantly surprised to find all the information they need in one place.
Your press room will have the added benefit of saving time for your PR team. Think of the number of times people ask for your founder’s contact information, your media kit or your logo. With a newsroom, all this information is in one place, so you can simply point the interested party in the right direction.
That’s right, no more digging through your computer for that video you embedded on your last press release every time someone asks for it. With a curated newsroom, any member of your team can provide someone who is inquiring about said video with the link to this media. Even better, everyone on your team will consistently be providing the same standardized information. This helps you maintain a consistent brand image across all your channels.
3) Earn credibility for your brand
As we said before, consistently providing valuable information in your newsroom will help you establish your role as a thought leader in the industry. Over time, this earns your brand trust.
A well-developed newsroom will also give your audience social proof – a reason to put their trust in you. The press room is a place where people can consume valuable content and also see what other people have to say about you. All this information will give them reason to trust you.
Trust is crucial to the overall success of your brand. Think about it. The target audience for your newsroom isn’t just journalists. Potential investors and clients will also want to check your newsroom out.
Investors who trust in your brand are more likely to give you financial backing. Clients who trust you are also more likely to buy your core products.
4) Boost your branding efforts
Given that your newsroom is a piece of owned media, it gives you control over your narrative and, therefore, your brand image. The press room is a good place to tell your brand story and show people how the brand is developing.
A well-crafted newsroom should also improve your SEO ranking on Google. Choosing popular keywords for your content and producing link-worthy content will help your newsroom pop up more frequently on Google when someone searches for a topic which you’ve written about.
The goal of a newsroom is to bring different parts of public relations – brand journalism, thought leadership and content marketing – together under one roof. By unifying all these components of public relations in the same place, you will give your brand a strong image.
5) Provide quality PR content
Unlike a PDF version of your press release, which is set in stone once you send it out, you can tweak your newsroom as much as you need to. Noticed a typo in your company history? No stress, you can change it immediately.
Since you can change the details on your newsroom whenever you need to, you can be confident in your ability to provide content which is both high in quality and accurate.
5) Remain competitive
So many brands have their own newsrooms these days. When you’re doing media outreach, you need a newsroom to help you remain competitive. Journalists receive tons of pitches every day. If they’re interested in your story but find it hard to find the information they need, then they will move on to a brand which has provided more information.
If you want to remain part of the conversation in your industry, then building a good newsroom is one of the best things you can do for your brand.
Now that you know how a media center can help establish your brand image, let’s talk about what goes in it.
So, what should you include in your online newsroom?
In order for your newsroom to be effective, there are key elements you need to keep in mind:
1) Company information
Your newsroom is a great place to share the origin story of your brand. People may not remember facts, figures or key messages, but they will remember an authentic story about what inspired you to launch your brand.
Sharing your brand’s reason for being will help other people to understand your brand and feel inspired to support you as well. At the end of the day, being authentic with people about your brand story and the people behind it will help humanise your brand and foster connections with clients.
2) Press releases
You should use your newsroom to highlight past press releases, especially press releases which have earned you media coverage. This will give journalists who are curious about you a snapshot of newsworthy moves your company has been making. It also gives your target audience an idea of the direction your brand is going in.
3) Electronic press kit
Your electronic press kit is a digital version of your media kit. This document should give journalists all the material they need if they were to cover a story about you. In general, an electronic press kit is a mobile, downloadable version of most of the information in your media center. This includes:
- Company information
- Selection of press releases and media coverage examples
- Awards and accolades
- Bios and headshots
- Contact information
4) Industry resources
Your press room should function as a knowledge base not only about your brand, but also about your industry in general. Sharing stories about what is going on in the industry will help journalists understand the landscape you operate in and tell a story about you in the right context.
If the journalist perusing your newsroom understands how your brand fits into the bigger story being told about your industry, then they will be able to write a more appealing story about you.
You can enrich your knowledge base by providing links to trade articles, industry stories, research and case studies. With time, your audience will trust you as a reliable source for this kind of information. This trust will eventually solidify your role as a thought leader in the industry.
5) Company boilerplate
Your company boilerplate is the “About” section of your company. This goes at the bottom of every press release, and journalists usually need this information while writing a story about you.
Including your boilerplate in your newsroom makes your life and that of your journalists much easier. You can copy it directly onto all your press releases and the journalist can do the same if they’re writing a story about you.
Using visuals will help your media center to stand out. Moreover, images and colours will make your content more enjoyable to engage with.
You can use images to illustrate information or make it easier to understand. For example, you can include graphs, videos and infographics.
Similarly, you can also share high resolution versions of your logo, product shots and key executive shots. Sharing the faces behind your brand helps people connect with you more.
7) Media mentions
If you have been interviewed recently, share the interview. In the same way, if someone has written a story about your brand, then you should share the story on your newsroom.
Media mentions help give people a big picture of what you do.
8) Awards and accolades
Just as sharing your media mentions is a good idea, so is sharing any awards and accolades you’ve earned recently. This contributes to your social proof and generates more trust in your brand.
9) Social media information
Your social media strategy contributes to your brand image, so including links to your social media channels is a good idea. Give people an idea of where to find you on social media, so that they can connect with you in more than one place.
10) A crisis communications center
Including a crisis communications center in your newsroom might seem like overkill, but it is crucial. In the event that a crisis hits your brand, a good crisis center will help you get ahead of the story.
With a crisis communications center, you can take control of the narrative instead of letting the media twist the facts. You can also give the media an idea of who to talk to if they want more information about what is going on.
11) Contact information
It is traditional to provide contact information of at least one brand representative on your press releases. However, your press room gives you an opportunity to link a curious journalist to more than one person.
You can include the contact information of people in more than one department, so that a journalist can choose the most appropriate person to talk to depending on their needs.
You should also provide bios and headshots of all your contact people. This is a good relationship-building tactic – it will help the journalist put a face to each name and give them a sense of connection with their interviewee before the interview.
How to make the most of your online newsroom – best practices
1) Make it easy to navigate
As we’ve said before, journalists don’t have the time to dig for important information. For this reason, it’s important to categorise your information so that it’s easy for your audience to find what they are looking for.
Search bars and filters are additional tools which make navigation easy. You should make all your content, from your press releases to your logo, searchable to help people save time.
Finally, with many journalists accessing story content on their phones while on the move, you should ensure your press room is accessible on any device.
2) Embed social media content
Yes, we already talked about linking your press room to your social media platforms. But did you know you can go one step further and embed your social media content in your newsroom? This helps journalists access all the different sides of your brand in one place.
3) Include an email signup form
An email signup form will help you conduct future media outreach. If you offer your target audience a chance to sign up for future updates, then it will be easier to make future announcements. This is because you will be talking about your brand development with people who actually care about your brand.
Journalists who sign up to receive future updates will also have an easy time accessing valuable information that could help with a good story.
4) Use multimedia
As previously stated, using multimedia elements in your newsroom will help you create engaging content. Making this multimedia downloadable also goes a long way in making a journalist’s life easier if they want to write a story.
5) Include testimonials
Instead of only feeding your audience hard facts and figures about your brand, you should alternate these with testimonials. Let’s be honest – facts and figures are great but, at the end of the day, your audience will connect more with testimonials.
Testimonials will generate a deeper sense of connection with your brand because they tell a story about how you have changed people’s lives. Stories about how your brand changes lives will have greater impact than impersonal facts and figures.
6) Include a call to action
A call to action generates future engagement with your brand. Invite people to sign up for a future news list. Alternatively, you can give journalists the opportunity to sign up for an embargo list. The general idea is to build an audience which you can share stories with in the future.
7) Ensure consistency
When building a newsroom, it’s important to ensure consistency in both branding and tone. Keep the branding on your website, social media and media center consistent. Use the same colours with a similar layout of information.
Just as consistent branding is important, you also need to use a consistent tone to share information.
Paying attention to consistency will give your brand a stronger identity. In turn, a strong brand identity gives your audience a better understanding of who you are.
9) Ask for feedback
So you have a newsroom and it seems to be working well. Have you stopped to ask your audience how it’s working out for them?
Understanding how your audience feels about your content will help you offer more valuable content. Feedback will help you understand what is working and what needs tweaking to meet your audience’s needs.
At the end of the day, an online newsroom is a win-win for both you and your target audience. An organised newsroom will help you complement your media outreach efforts and secure coverage. Setting up your media center will also help you build trust and relationships with potential investors and clients.
Ultimately, building a press room might be one of the best things you do to boost your branding and media outreach efforts.
Do you need help finding a target audience for your online newsroom? With Pressfarm’s media database, you can connect with over 75,000 journalists across niches, publications and categories.