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3rd June 2015

2015 Online Newsroom Checklist

Newsroom checklist 2015 mobile

The 2015 Pew State of the News Media report revealed that in January of this year 39 of the 50 most popular news sites reported more mobile than desktop visitors. More than a third of online news users across all countries (39%) use two or more digital devices each week for news and a fifth (20%) now say their mobile phone is their primary news access point

And the trend is not affecting only the public.  Journalists are working under greater pressure than ever before, as employment numbers in the newsroom continue to fall. They rely on their digital devices to access content and sources relevant to the stories they are working on.

Google implemented an algorithm update in late April that affects mobile search – any site that is not fully responsive is less likely to show up in a mobile search. For a brand or organization that wants journalists, bloggers and the interested members of the public searching for content around their topic to discover their news content, a fully responsive, socially integrated online newsroom is a must.

Need help with your newsroom?  Ask for a demo. 626 793 4911

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30th March 2015

2015 Media Trends and Online Newsroom Infographic

The 2015 Media Trends and State of Online Newsrooms report is now available.

Download the PDF of the infographic here 

2015 Media Trends Infog 12015 media trends infographic 22015 Media trends infog 32015 Media trends infog 4


The full results of the study were discussed on the March PRESSfeed webinar hosted by Sally Flakow, APR – President of PRESSfeed.  Sally designed and conducted the research and prepared the report and the infographic. Her guests on the webinar were Wendy Marx, President of Marx Communication and Rebekah Iliff,  Chief Strategy Officer for AirPR.

“Most corporate newsrooms today exist in a time warp — failing to keep pace with technology and the needs of time-strapped journalists,” said Wendy Marx, president of B2B PR and marketing agency Marx Communications.  “In fact, the term newsroom misrepresents what most of them do. Relics of a quaint past when time wasn’t an issue, they lack the excitement and urgency of news. I urge all companies to jettison their so-called newsrooms and start providing robust, useful, engaging content.”

“We need to be thinking of Newsrooms in terms of ‘News Hubs’ that act as a repository of sources, information, and industry trends. With journalists often under the gun and pressed for time, let’s make their jobs easier; which in turn makes the chances of us getting ink that much greater.”

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2nd August 2013

Google Guidelines for Links in Press Releases Changed

Links in press releases

When brands realized that press releases are content that could be found and read online – by both journalists and the public alike – links in press releases became valuable.

For many years inbound links on optimized anchor text words and phrases have been a major part of the Google search ranking algorithm. SEO firms were quick to see the value of press releases with optimized links in them. After all, releases distributed on the wire appear on many other sites and blogs.  So they started using press releases as an SEO tactic. These releases are not always the best quality press releases mind, but they are labeled press releases nonetheless.

The low-quality, spammy press releases stuffed with links that have proliferated in the last couple of years have caught the attention of the Google search spam team.  In a recent video interview Matt Cutts, head of this team at Google, made it clear that these links are not counted towards ranking.  Not only that, but this practice could get you penalized.

And bad news for us PR practitioners: The use of press releases as an SEO tactic has led Google to regard a press release as an advertisement with “unnatural” links. And indeed, many SEO press releases are more of an advertisement than a press release.

So what’s a smart digital PR person to do?  Stop writing press releases?  Never add a link?

Let’s examine what Google regards as important. Google’s main goal is to provide the best quality content on a subject to a searcher. All their recent updates have been in the direction of increasing the quality of the content they index and rank.

A link is supposed to be an editorial vote of confidence for the content it links to.  It should occur naturally. Someone sees your content and thinks it is worthy of mention. They want to share it with others, so they link to it.

In Matt Cutt’s words:

“The goal should really be to make a fantastic website that people love and tell their friends about and link to and want to experience. As a result, your website starts to become stronger and stronger in the rankings.”

In PR we don’t put links in our press releases for SEO reasons. Digital journalists and bloggers ask for links to additional or supporting material.  We link to our newsroom for more information.  We send people to content, images or videos. We use links to track outcomes from a press release, so links have become an essential part of PR measurement. And although we don’t build or control websites, we do have online newsrooms,  So for “fantastic website” read “fantastic online newsroom.”

Syndication of News

A press release is often posted on the wire so it gets distributed to many other websites.  According to Cutts:

“Syndication can be a valid way to either increase your reputation or to drive traffic and potentially get more links. The main caution that I would add is that there are some mechanical things that you should pay attention to and try to make sure that you get right.”

This is where it gets a little technical.  Always post your content to your own website or newsroom first and tag it with a rel=canonical tag. (Ask your webmaster about that part.) That shows Google that you are the origin and author of the content.

Guest Blogging  

Here’s what Cutts has to say about guest blogging:

“Posts like that can be a great way to get your name out there, to build your reputation, to make yourself known, potentially build links or traffic or help with your SEO.  The problem is that if we look at the overall volume of guest posting we see a large number of people who are offering guest blogs or guest blog articles where they are writing the same article and producing multiple copies of it and emailing out of the blue and they will create the same low quality types of articles that people used to put on article directory or article bank sites.”

So once again it’s about the quality of the content. If you write for another website or blog, and you produce original, interesting content, it will be seen as such by Google. And when others like it, share it and link to it, it will be counted as that all-important editorial vote of confidence.

Google’s stance is that when a company places a link in a piece of content themselves and then attempts to get it seen as a link from another site, Google sees that as a no-no. They require those links to have a “no-follow” tag. (again speak to your IT folk.)

That does not mean the release won’t be found in search, it just means Google won’t give weight to the link for SEO purposes.

So genuine press releases with links that make sense for the reader are totally fine. If you place links in the release purely for SEO value, Google will regard it as unnatural.

This is the example in the updated Google guidelines for bad links in press releases.

There are many wedding rings on the market. If you want to have a wedding, you will have to pick the best ring. You will also need to buy flowers and a wedding dress.

Good press releases are written to raise awareness, bring new ideas to the attention of the media and the public and make your news content discoverable by the right audiences. Treat them as such.

For more information on writing press releases that get results read

SMART News: how to write press releases that get found and shared online.

Available on Amazon from August 5, 2013.

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1st March 2013

How Does Your Online Newsroom Compare to the Best?

social online newsroom PRESSfeed


Ragan.com recently announced their awards for online newsrooms – Cisco took top honors.  Their newsroom is a good example of what a company or organization should be doing in 2013. http://newsroom.cisco.com.

Of course this kind of newsroom is probably not feasible for a small to medium sized business.  But you can still have all the bells and whistles needed in an online newsroom that provide the content the media values in the format they want.

What should be in your newsroom?  According to Econsultancy you must have:

  1. Value-added content – it is not only the media that visits your newsroom today.  Yet Econsultancy found that only 22% of the brands they evaluated offered added-value content such as blogs, news opinion pieces, tips, customer advice and education.
  2. High quality multimedia content – Econsultancy reports that 40% of companies fail to provide even the most basic of image libraries. Where they did exist, they were poorly stocked. Only 9% included infographics and only 51% featured video content.
  3. Social Media tools to amplify the content –  Only 55% of the brands assessed in this report offered sharing tools with links to social networks.
  4. Make it easy to contact you – 24% of the brands evaluated failed to list a phone number for a representative in their newsroom. Only 19% provided regional contacts and 45% failed to include contact details on press releases.
  5. Make it easy to find – put a link to your newsroom on the homepage.  Optimize all the content in the newsroom for search.  Your newsroom should be the #2 listing in Google for a search for your brand name.  It should show up at #1 for a search for “Company name + news”

There are many more features that you ought to have in your online newsroom – use this checklist to evaluate how effective your newsroom is.







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22nd February 2013

A Good Content Marketing Case Study


If you’re wondering if all the time and expense it takes to produce free content to market your product or service works,  this case study recently posted on Forbes.com should lay that to rest once and for all.

ProjectManager.com started in 2008, they now have 10,000 paying customers and they’re projected to own 80% of the market by 2015.  I think it’s working!

What did they do right?   CEO Jason Westland says it can be summed up in two words: content marketing.

“We gained 250,000 emails by giving away lots of free resources on our website,” says Westland. “We then built the largest “Project Management LinkedIn Group” in the World and pushed our social presence on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. We now have 500,000+ Project Managers follow us socially every day.”

His successful plan is no secret –

  • Establish a community/lay the foundation
  • Develop your content
  • Create a strategy to publish your content
  • Pull it all together to see how your content can lead to new sales
  • And of course never forget about your existing customers

And as brands realize the strength of content in the marketing mix, online newsrooms are becoming more than just a PR archive for press releases. You need a place to “pull it all together” and make it easy to find and share.  A place to house whitepapers, webinars, videos, images, infographics, articles, tips, blog posts, tweets.  A good newsroom will service more than just journalists today – it should meet also the needs of bloggers, investors, analysts, prospective customers and anyone interested in the latest content from your brand.

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14th February 2013

Top Company Newsrooms Still Get a “D”

Although 98% of the top 100 firms have an online newsroom, it seems that too often it is one of the check-marked actions that then gets forgotten.  The 2013 Online Newsroom  report from My Newsdesk reveals that more than a third (35%) don’t keep their newsroom content up to date.

Just having a newsroom is not enough.  You have to keep it constantly updated with content that will be interesting and useful to bloggers, the media, investors and the public.  While most firms keep their press releases current, many leave annual reports, staff bios and product listings to stagnate.

Although the media is demanding more visual content with news releases, and research shows that adding visual can get as much as 9.7X more views on a release, 70% of the top 100 do not provide any images or video with their releases.  The members of the media panel at the PR News Media Relations Summit in December all said multimedia with a release would significantly increase the chances of the release being picked up.  A Media Bistro editor recently advised PR people to “Always think multimedia.”

The report shows that only half (51%) of the newsrooms surveyed provide video content and 40% had no image library. That’s not the whole problem though – the other half that have video and images don’t provide them in a format that’s easy for the media to use.

Other findings from the survey include:

– 21% of brands used newsrooms to provide additional content such as related news, advice and blog links;

– 26% fail to provide contact details in the newsroom;

– 45% fail to provide contact details within a press release;

– 70% do not offer an email alert service;

– 39% of newsrooms have no search option.

Back in 2004 usability expert Jakob Nielsen said corporate America only rated a “D” in PR because the online newsrooms of the Fortune 500 did not meet the needs of the media. We don’t seem to have made any headway at all.

How do you get an A in PR with your newsroom?  David Armano of Edelman Digital has some sound ideas about the need for a social online newsroom.


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22nd December 2012

BtoB firms embrace content marketing

BotB companies are embracing content marketing.  Curata’s “B2B Marketing Trends 2012 Report” found that 87% of US B2B marketers have used content marketing this year—the most popular tactic of any queried. That was up 5 percentage points from usage levels in 2011, impressive considering the already-high level of interest in content marketing.

Creating original content is number one on the list of content challenges, followed by the time to do it and then finding great content to curate.

A good online newsroom can alleviate some of these challenges.  It saves time, makes posting and curating quick and easy and has Google analytics installed to help you track results.

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15th October 2012

Modern Media Relations


The news and media landscape has been turned on its head in the last ten years. Newsrooms no longer operate like they used to.  Journalists have to cover several beats, watch feeds of related stories online, troll social media, find sources and then produce multimedia assets with every story. See this story about Andy Carvin of NPR and how he reports the news.

This is a marvelous opportunity for savvy companies that can see the possibilities of a collaborative media relations model.  Here’s how it is done.

  1. Do an audit of all the people in your firm who have expertise in a particular area.
  2. Create a database of experts and their topics of content.
  3. Post this list in your newsroom.
  4. Refine your media list – find the journalists and bloggers who write about those topics.
  5. Identify stories that these media outlets might be interested in developing.
  6. Put together a team that can investigate and develop the story, with supporting images, graphics, slide shows, videos that would make this story come alive.
  7. Pitch the idea to the journalists and offer your experts and your team to help them craft the story with killer multimedia assets.
  8. Add a ‘story ideas’ section to your newsroom, with elements of news stories that could be developed this way.

The new media landscape may be radically different, but it is filled with amazing PR opportunities.

To learn more and hear examples register for our next webinar


Space is limited.
Reserve your seat now at:



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12th September 2012

Content Marketing World – Lessons learned

This year’s Content Marketing World conference was held last week in Columbus, OH and many of the socialmedia stars were there.

Here are some of the key takeaways:

From Jason Miller of Marketo:
Only 36% of businesses believe their content marketing is effective. Back in the day advertisers used to lament that they knew only 50% of their advertising was working, they just didn’t know which 50%.   So while marketers are hot for content marketing, two thirds of them are flying blind.

I’d be prepared to bet that the 36% who are effective base their content on research and have a solid content strategy

CMI founder Joe Pulizzi went over the CMIs report highlights:

  • 54% of businesses plan to increase spending on content marketing over the next 12 months. (Let’s hope they get a content strategy in place first, so that they have a plan in place before they spend the $$$)
  • Businesses are still struggling to find a process that works and to gain C-level buy in. (If they can show the ROI there will be no problem getting C-level buy-in.  The C-suite wants to see’ beans for beans’)
  • The biggest challenge content marketers face is producing enough content, followed closely by producing the kind of content that engages. (Producing enough content can be resolved by finding an excellent and affordable resource to help you produce content.   A sound content strategy based on listening to the right conversations will tell you what content will spark engagement)

It is surprising to me that no-one spoke about delivery and distribution of the content as a key takeaway. Looking at write ups about the speakers, I don’t see anything about delivery and distribution of the content there either.  Producing content is obviously the first step.  Then you have to deliver it.  You can post it on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube etc. But putting all your content on a content hub on your own website is something that is being overlooked. The Washington Post listed not having a content hub as one of the top 10 mistakes companies make in social media.

Turn your online newsroom into a true content hub.





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4th September 2012

Fortune’s Fastest Growing Companies #Failing Online PR

Toprank Marketing posted today about the social media use of Fortune’s fastest growing companies.  Their analysis of the top 5 show that only one of them is actively engaged on Twitter.

This post prompted me to look at something a little more basic- their online newsrooms. Even though social media is maturing and we’d hope that companies such as these would be more active in the field, good PR and providing corporate information to the media is something every company should be doing well.

The 2012 Online Newsroom and Media Relations survey shows that journalists and bloggers want:

  • Immediately visible and easy-to-find press contacts
  • Press releases by year and by category
  • Visuals -ready-to-use images and video
  • Graphics with financial information
  • Embed codes with images and videos
  • RSS feeds
  • Links to all social content
  • Tags on all content so it is easy to find in search
  • Social sharing options


So let’s take a look at their newsrooms and what they offer, relative to what the media is asking for today.

#1  Allergan

Press Contacts:    Yes

Press Releases in Categories:  No

Visuals with press releases:  No

RSS feeds: No

Image Gallery:  No

Video Gallery:  No

Embed codes:  No

Corporate and expert bios:  Yes

Connecting to social content: Yes, a link to their Twitter account.  It was started back in 2010 and was inactive until recently.

Social sharing options: No

SCORE: 3/10


#2. Susser Holdings

Susser Holdings owns the Stripes convenience stores.  Although Susser Corporate is not active in social media, the Stripes convenience stores certainly are.  However, the corporate site could improve their online newsroom to serve both investors and the media.

Press Contacts:    No.  The contacts are on each press release, but not immediately visible in the newsroom.

Press Releases in Categories:  No. And their press release are in PDFs, which require a download.

Visuals with press releases:  No

RSS feeds: No

Image Gallery:  No

Video Gallery:  No

Embed codes:  No

Corporate and expert bios:  Yes – no tin the newsroom, but on the site.

Connecting to social content: No

Social sharing options: No

SCORE: 1/10

#3.  CVR energy

Headquartered in Sugar Land, Texas, CVR Energy is an independent petroleum refiner and marketer of high value transportation fuels in the Midcontinent United States.  Their newsroom is very basic.


Press Contacts:    No.  The contacts are on each press release, but not immediately visible in the newsroom.
Press Releases in Categories:  No. And their press release are in PDFs, which require a download.

Visuals with press releases:  No

RSS feeds: No

Image Gallery:  No

Video Gallery:  No

Embed codes:  No

Corporate and expert bios:  No

Connecting to social content: No

Social sharing options: No

SCORE: 0/10

#4.   Con-Way

Con-way Inc. (NYSE:CNW) is a $5.3 billion freight transportation and logistics services company headquartered in Ann Arbor, Mich. Con-way is in the transportation and logistics industry and delivers services through its primary operating companies of Con-way Freight, Con-way Truckload, and Menlo Worldwide Logistics. Their newsroom has many of the features the media wants today.

Press Contacts:    Yes

Press Releases in Categories:  No

Visuals with press releases:  No

RSS feeds: Yes

Image Gallery:  No

Video Gallery:  No

Embed codes:  No

Corporate and expert bios:  Yes

Connecting to social content: Yes

Social sharing options: No

SCORE: 4/10


#5.  Huntsman

Huntsman is a global manufacturer and marketer of differentiated chemicals. Our operating companies manufacture products for a variety of global industries, including chemicals, plastics, automotive, aviation, textiles, footwear, paints and coatings, construction, technology, agriculture, health care, detergent, personal care, furniture, appliances and packaging.

Their investor relations section of the site has many more features than the newsroom.  They could easily add the side navigation to their newsroom section too.


Press Contacts:    No.  There is a contact on the press releases but not immediately visible in the newsroom.

Press Releases in Categories:  No.  The releases are not divided by years either.

Visuals with press releases:  No

RSS feeds: Yes, but it is not visible in the newsroom.  It is only available from the investor relations section of the site.

Image Gallery:  No

Video Gallery:  No.  there are presentations and webcasts in the IR section, but nothing in the newsroom

Embed codes:  No

Corporate and expert bios:  Yes, but only from the investor relations section.  There is nothing in the newsroom to tell you it is there.

Connecting to social content: No

Social sharing options: No

SCORE: 2/10

If you’d like an evaluation of your newsroom and a demo of what a newsroom ought to look like visit http://www.press-feed.com

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