As organizations move to be more transparent, maintaining open lines of communications with your constituents is critical. The #1 most important feature of an online newsroom in the eyes of a journalist is PR contacts. More than 95% of journalists surveyed said that quick and easy access to an organization's PR contacts was important.
Today, some large companies keep their PR contacts under password-protection because they don't want to create what amounts to a marketing spammers paradise of potentially hundreds of contacts and email addresses. However, most smaller to mid-sized organizations provide at least some level of contact including a name, phone number and most likely an email. In a social media online newsroom world, this may not be enough.
Consider the following two steps to help socialize the PR contacts in your online newsroom.
Open Up Access to More than Just PR Contacts
Social media is about sharing and being more open and transparent within your organization. What better way to do that than to make interesting people inside your company available for interviews, quotes, and questions. Prudential maintains a list of more than 50 subject matter experts in areas such as asset management, diversity, financial ethics, and retirement. The expert, their bio, plus email and phone numbers are available for journalists to contact them directly for details, if necessary.
Prudential's Online Newsroom: Highlighting More than 50 Subject Matter Experts
These contacts can be from any department - IT, R&D, sales, marketing, HR - and can provide a unique and interesting look inside your company. Of course, you'll need to create policies and work closely with your subject matter experts, but the reward can potentially be that you see increased coverage and more relationships with journalists and bloggers covering your industry.
Other examples of organizations doing subject matter experts well include:
Provide Social Network Contact Information
As was mentioned above, most online newsrooms have a PR contacts area with a name, phone number and email address. Additionally consider adding your social networks as part of your information. Your Twitter account, LinkedIn, Skype address, Google+ account or any other social networks within which you are active. Plain and simple, this just gives people more ways to find you and connect with you. Obviously, if you do not want to be contacted by journalists or bloggers in those social media channels, then do not include that information on your PR contacts bio.
However, you may find that you get more people interested in you and your organization through these social networks. Journalists can follow your Twitter or Facebook account to ensure they get the latest news from your organization. This opens the door for you to connect with more people and for interested people to engage with you as well.
There are certainly many ways to socialize your online newsroom and PR contacts is certainly an important component. By opening up access to others in your company to become spokespeople or subject matter expert and by offering links and connections to your social networks from your PR contacts bio, you will be on your way to socializing your online newsroom.