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online corporate newsroom best practices

Photo credit: Antony Mayfield

Journalists visit online corporate newsrooms, also called online media rooms, more than ever. They visit the newsrooms to find story ideas, news releases, factual information, images and videos.

A new Online Newsroom Survey Report from TEKGROUP International helps support PR’s argument for an online newsroom and offers advice about what content first-class corporate newsrooms contain. Well-designed and maintained online newsrooms are easy to use and easy to navigate. Most importantly, they provide timely and relevant content.

They ultimately make a journalist more productive. They increase awareness and drive traffic to your website. Results of a Business Wire Media Survey showed that the online newsroom is second only to the home page as the most important online resource for journalists researching an organization,

What Journalists Say

The TEKGROUP survey of journalists indicates that:

  • 97% of journalists believe it is important for a company or organization to have an online newsroom.
  • Over 20% of journalists visit an online newsroom every day, and 40% visit one at least once a week.
  • 84% say online newsrooms increase their productivity.
  • 88% agree that social media landing pages that contain access to all of your organization’s social properties is extremely important.
  • 97% say photos, both high and low resolution, are imperative.
  • 85% say it’s important to be able to access video files.

Newsrooms as Distribution Channels

More organizations are employing the newsrooms as affordable news distribution channels, according to the report. Targeted email alerts and integrated social media combine to provide a wide network of owned media that helps amplify company news. The SEC stated in 2008 that a dedicated news website satisfies disclosure requirements. Since then, more companies have been using their online newsrooms for self-distribution.

Most journalists (96%) prefer to receive news and story pitches via email alert. That means it’s critical to integrate news distribution with the corporation’s online newsroom, the report asserts. More specifically, all news releases should be easily accessible in the online corporate newsroom, along with all visual elements and background information that can be used with the news release.

Journalists commonly recommend that corporate newsrooms include video clips, high-resolution images, and PR contact information. Some also requested regulatory filings, bios and downloadable videos of company products and interviews with company officials.

Images Are a Must

“Images are a must and so many companies are lacking,” responded BNP Media.

Journalists say it’s important to organize news releases by type, to be able to access previous news coverage from other media outlets, and to provide mobile-friendly web pages.

“With the explosion of mobile devices such as iPhones, iPads, Androids, etc. it has never been more important to ensure that your online newsroom is mobile friendly and responsive to many different screen size,” the report says.

Other surveys confirm the findings. A survey by video content provider TheNewsMarket reported that 66% of journalists polled visit an online newsroom every week and a third visit them daily. Unfortunately, many find the web pages lacking.

  • Less than 17% of survey respondents rate them as very useful in their current form.
  • 45% find the lack of useful material very frustrating.
  • Over half get frustrated if they can’t download high-resolution content.
  • 41% want clearer rights information about using content.

Bottom Line: Surveys show what journalists want to find in online corporate newsrooms, an essential element for media relations and promoting the corporate brand. Videos, high-resolutions images, and press releases organized by topic are some of the crucial features. The most important feature is timely, relevant content.