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10 Proven Ways to Boost the Performance of Your Online Newsroom

Posted by Wendy Marx

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When was the last time you glanced at an online newsroom? And when was the last time you glanced at an online newsroom with interest?

If you haven't done so, don't worry. Most online newsrooms today have a big problem: They aren't serving their audience.

Many people today pour their energy and resources into their social media profiles and blogs, but their newsroom is often neglected -- if they have one at all. If this is you, now is the time to change that with a modern newsroom that appeals to journalists.

Let's take a moment to see what goes into a successful newsroom and eyeball some useful data from the recent PR Practitioner's Survey on why a modern newsroom is one of the best PR tactics for your strategy.

In this post we'll discuss:

  • Why newsrooms are an important part of your PR assets.
  • How to transform your newsroom into a media and lead magnet.
  • Examples of corporate newsrooms worthy of imitation.

Why is Your B2B PR Newsroom so Important?

In today's always-on world, your website is a resource for both your customers and the media. 

Consider two eye-popping results of the recent PR survey:

  • 97% of journalists surveyed say a newsroom is important
  • 15% of journalists surveyed say they visit a newsroom daily, 25% weekly

When journalists receive a press release or note from you, they want access to all the information they need in one central hub. That is where your newsroom comes into play. A good research gives them all the details they need to understand your company without having to hunt for it.

How important is it for you to drive and lead sales with news content on your site_

Your newsroom is also a great place to grow and cultivate B2B leads. When asked in the recent survey, how important it was to drive and lead sales with news content on their site, 79% responded that it was very important, and another 45% rated it as important. 

When journalists receive a press release or note from you, they want access to all the information they need in one central hub. That is where your newsroom comes into play. A good research gives them all the details they need to understand your company without having to hunt for it.

Your newsroom is also a great place to grow and cultivate B2B leads. When asked in the recent PR Practitioner's Survey, how important it was to drive and lead sales with news content on their site, 79% responded that it was very important, and another 45% rated it as important. 

Many newsrooms that I've seen do the bare minimum by newsroom standards -- they contain a hodgepodge of news releases and articles. But when it comes right down to it, they don't engage their audience. And frankly, by the time these items reach the newsroom, they aren't even news anymore.

Bottom line?

Most corporate newsrooms aren't serving journalists -- or anyone for that matter --  and are artifacts of the past. These newsrooms need a refresh if brands want to tap into the full power of media relations and lead generation.

Does your newsroom need a makeover? Then you've come to the right place! Below we've compiled 10 of the top ways that you can improve the look and feel of your newsroom -- and make it a media hub.

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10 Ways to Improve the Look and Feel of Your B2B PR Newsroom

1. Don't Bury Your Contact Information

Lines of communications (3)This might seem like a no-brainer, but you'd be surprised how many times I've had to hunt around a newsroom for even the simplest media contact information. Could you be losing potential PR opportunities because media simply give up? 

Either place your media contact information front and center or in your top menu. 

2. Showcase Your Expertise

Journalists want to talk to experts. List your spokespeople, along with topics they can talk about. Make these individuals more engaging and approachable with downloadable headshots and bios. 

3. Make Your Newsroom a Visual Experience

Today, there's just no excuse not to have great visual content. There are several online and offline tools available to create amazing graphics, several of which are free. The one we personally use (and love) is Canva. With this tool, you can create blog post images, infographics, and social images, even if you don't have a degree in graphic design.

Some people, however, neglect the visuals of their newsroom -- adding to that stuffy, outdated feeling that can be seen and felt in too many corporate newsrooms. Newsrooms should be alive with color and vivacity. Why not feature an infographic or video about your recent news? Or charts and original images that highlight the personality of your brand?

Don't forget to think about social sharing and SEO in your images. This means providing embed codes when appropriate and making sure every image has alt text. 

4. Include Links to Your Social Media

Lines of communications (1)Next to your website, social media is a top outlet where journalists will look in order to connect with you. Make it as easy as possible for them to find and connect with you on social media.

Include plainly visible social icons and links to your profiles, and a heading inviting people to engage with you on those networks.

5. Curate Industry News and Trends.

Your newsroom should feature more than news about your business. With the right content, it can be a platform for thought leadership. Keep on top of the latest industry trends and news stories that impact your brand. Write your own posts that show your audience that you're tuned into your industry and at the leading edge.

In addition to your own content, include industry news and trends gathered from a variety of sources. Become the go-to platform for all things industry-related. 

6. Always Keep It Updated and Well-Organized

If people enter your newsroom only to find a few old news articles from several months ago, it sends the wrong message: You don't care or you're lazy -- take your pick. Either way, it doesn't leave the best impression.

In the recent PR Practitioner's Survey, 92% responded that they usually spend 1-5 hours per week updating their newsroom. If you're on the low side of this number, you might ask yourself if that is enough to promote the image you want for your brand.

Your newsroom should be organized and your content easy to find. The last thing you want is for journalists to have to sift through a mess of information to find what they want. Every category -- press releases, images, contact information -- should all be clearly laid out and only a click away. 

7. Create an Archive

Just because news has become old does not mean it has lost its value. While it shouldn't be the first thing people see when they enter your newsroom, it should be easily accessible. Round up those older posts and organize them into an archive based on date or subject. Then include a search bar or filter where people can search for the news they want.

8. Optimize Your Newsroom for Search

Google is a top tool for journalist who are looking for their next story. If you're not optimizing your newsroom for search, you're losing out on key B2B PR opportunities.

Make your newsworthy content easy to find by adding a generous sprinkling of keywords in your written and visual content. Not too many, though, or else Google will find you spammy. A good rule is to use your keyword between 3-5 times in an article.

9. Display Product Information Prominently

Journalists shouldn't have to work to determine what you do.  Don't force them to navigate through multiple site pages to learn what your services and products are. Provide access to all the information they need in your newsroom.

10. Track Your Results

Lines of communications (2)A major misconception about B2B PR is that it doesn't drive real and measurable results, that it only increases brand awareness. However, experience has shown that when a brand is featured in the media, sales tend to increase. 

How would you know that, though, if you have no way of measuring your results? Use Google Analytics to set your objectives. Some goals may be to increase traffic to your website, increase conversion rates, or simply gain more followers on social media platforms. Whatever the case, set goals ahead of time and carefully monitor your results.

Let's now look at these recommendations in action -- in two first-rate examples of PR newsrooms.

2 Modern Newsroom Examples Worthy of Imitation

1. Lenovo

Lenovo has separated its newsroom into two parts -- StoryHub and Press Room. Its StoryHub conveniently divides topics into categories, such as diversity and inclusion, corporate, and innovation.

Lenovo PR Newsroom

On its press room page, a well-organized layout puts press releases, press kits, images, and more all within easy reach. It 's alive with color and descriptive images that keep audiences engaged. Its archive is accessible through a filter. Social images along the bottom make it easy to find the company across a variety of social networks.

We could go on, but you get the point. The whole design screams engaging -- a model newsroom for any company.

2. Salesforce

Salesforce's reputation for sleek design and modern style does not disappoint when it comes to its newsroom. A slider features the most recent stories, while the rest of the page provides everything you need just a mouse-click away.

Salesforce B2B PR Newsroom

On the top menu, you have easy access to its products, events, customer stories, and about us page -- topics that journalists and prospects will both want to see. Scroll down a bit and you'll find top stories and press releases, as well as links tosocial media profiles.

In review...

10 Ways to Improve Your B2B PR Newsroom (1)

Don't lose out on media and lead generation opportunities because of an outdated newsroom. Now you have the pointers you need to transform that boring old newsroom into a vivacious and attractive hub of activity for your corporate news.

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Mar 31, 2015
 
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Wendy Marx

Wendy Marx is the founder and president of Marx Communications, a boutique inbound marketing and public relations agency. An award-winning B2B public relations pro, she has helped many small- & medium-sized firms (SMBs) become well-known industry brands and transform their businesses, going from Anonymity to Industry Icon™.

Her business articles have appeared in The New York Times, InformationWeek, Inc., Advertising Age, & Fast Company, among other outlets. 

View all posts by Wendy Marx