Recently there has been a lot of talk about corporate communicators struggling to find the time and resources to keep their online newsrooms updated. Although "facts" are being presented, we have yet to see any suggestions or real tips for PR practitioners to use to help them find the resources for this vitally important communications task.
An updated online newsroom is crucial to the success of an organization's overall public relations strategy. Frequent posting of content to an online newsroom not only is critical to search engine optimization, but also positions your organization to be an industry thought leader, news contributor and shows your customers (and potential customers) that you have relevant and compelling content to share. Additionally, with so many journalists visiting online newsrooms so frequently, ensuring that you have up-to-date content on your online newsroom might be the difference between whether or not you get coverage.
That said, we have provided five tips to free up resources to help keep your online newsroom updated.
1. Consider printing less. For your next trade show or product launch, try printing 10% less press kits, faxes, and color glossies - use that money to invest in creating digital assets such as social media press releases and multimedia galleries that can be viewed by thousands of people, distributed via email alerts, and is a great set of content for search engine optimization. Creating digital content instead of printing out press kits and creating slides/DVDs of photos and videos to send to individuals will help not only save a lot of money, but also provide the content that your organization needs to re-purpose in the future and help provide the much needed content that is important for search engine optimization.
2. Consider using alternate types of distribution. Sure, you can send your releases out over the wire, but you can also save a considerable amount of financial resources by updating and creating more content for your online newsroom, which benefits your organization's credibility, effectiveness, and search engine optimization. By reducing the amount of releases you send out over the newswires you will save money.Use those saved resources to begin creating email distribution lists that are accurate and targeted. About 95% of journalists surveyed in a recent online newsroom survey said they prefer to receive email alerts of breaking news and story idea pitches. This method is much more cost effective and gives you much more control over targeting your news. You may even consider declaring your online newsroom as the primary outlet for your news, which will meet SEC regulations and give your organization its own voice and digital archive of all news and events. Several organizations such as Google and Netflix have done this successfully. Additionally, using social media distribution such as RSS feeds, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn publishing is cost effective and again provides you greater relevancy for the search engines. There are many types of distribution that you can take advantage of that are cost effective, provide you with more control and targeting, and actually end up helping the search engine optimization of your organization.
3. Consider reaching out within your organization for story ideas and content production. Work with your R&D, product development, sales and marketing departments to re-purpose their content for your online newsroom. Give them access to be able to create content (subject for approval) on your behalf. Is there a job opening at your organization? Refashion the job opening description into a news story for your online newsroom. Have a new product coming out? Get with your marketing department to reuse some of their marketing content that might not have made the sales kit, into some stories for your online newsroom. Send interview questionnaires to your leaders, executives, board of directors, partners and vendors, asking them for stories and have them offer up content that can be used for your newsroom.
4. Consider working with journalists to have them write stories about your industry. Working with experienced journalists and bloggers can be a great way to help create thought leadership and works as an indirect method to help bring awareness to your company. Reduce the travel and entertainment costs that you might be spending on wooing journalists and transfer those resources into paying journalists to write actual pieces about your industry and highlighting some of the things that your organization is doing.Intel and Cisco are both doing a great job of this and their efforts can be a road map for possibilities within your organization.
5. Consider user generated content. Does your organization have throngs of satisfied customers? Send them customer survey questionnaires and use their responses as content for your online newsroom. Success stories, customer satisfaction stories, product ideas, and recommendations can all be generated by your customers and then transformed into content for your online newsroom. You can even provide your customers with content generation tools on your online newsroom to submit photos or ideas and then your job is left to curating, editing and approving, instead of generating content. Siemens and Starbucks provide great examples of leveraging user generated content.
Finding the resources to help keep your online newsroom updated can be a challenging task. But, there are answers, and there are clear, proven ways to help free up those resources to ensure that an important part of your digital communications strategy is looked after properly.