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3rd August 2017

13 Ways Your Online Newsroom Can Earn Media Coverage

posted in Digital PR News, RSS Search Visibility, Uncategorized |

Media. Text NEWS on screen of laptop, tablet, pv and phone. 3d

Every business – large or small – can benefit from media coverage.  Imagine having your company or expert quoted on the news or featured in top tier publications like Forbes and Fast Company.

The good news is that the media is looking for good content and the Internet has made the demand for fresh content greater than ever.  The bad news is that the pool of journalists is shrinking fast.  Every year we read about more layoffs in major media newsrooms. There are fewer than half the journalists working in media newsrooms today than there were twenty years ago.

Yes, there are new digital media outlets now, and many of those laid-off journalists are freelancing for big news sites and magazines, but the job of pitching reporters and assignment editors is getting tougher.

How Digital Innovation has Changed News Habits

Social media, messaging apps, texts and email provide us with a constant stream of news.  We see items posted by close friends and family and stories from people we follow. Most often we see this news on a screen.  Twenty years ago only 12 percent of American got their news online.  Today that number is 81 percent. 62 percent get news from social media – that number goes up to 84 percent for 18 – 29 year-olds. 72 percent get their news on a mobile device. (Source: Pew Research Center)

Why is this important?  Reporters and editors know that there is this constant demand for news and they too are looking online to find sources ad interesting stories to report.  Your news content has to be available online and easy to use and share.

How Journalists Research a Story

The first thing a journalist does when starting a story is look for sources to interview or quote.  How do they do this? The old rolodex of trusted sources has been replaced by Google search, a Twitter bio search, LinkedIn and services like HARO.  The social media most valuable to journalists is Twitter.  (Source: MuckRack 2017 survey)

83 percent of journalists surveyed say they visit the online newsrooms of both large and small companies on a regular basis when researching a story.  They expect all companies to have a content hub that houses news, financial information, images and video.

What are journalists expecting to find in a company newsroom?  Everything they need. They want

  • Press releases
  • Blogposts
  • Social media content
  • Company and product fact sheets
  • Story ideas
  • History of the organization
  • An expert data base (with video interviews)
  • An image gallery
  • A video gallery
  • Financial information.
  • PR contact details

They want all content categorized and an RSS feed for each category.

Journalists today are under pressure.  The days of a 24-hour news cycle are long gone.  Every minute of every day is now a deadline. Many of the news outlets no longer have specialized beat reporters, so the people who are there have to cover more than one topic.  And in many cases, they’re expected to supply images and video with their story too.

10 Ways Your Newsroom Can Increase Media Coverage

The vast majority of brand newsrooms look like the one on thetop – text only and no visual assets.

Grey newsroom

 

PF newsroom new layout

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The one on the bottom has all the features a journalist looks for:

1.  Search Engine Optimization:

Most journalists start researching a story with a Google search.  If your newsroom has all the content required, and that content is optimized for the keywords and topics you have experts in, you have a much better chance of being found when they start their research.

If you are in the business of retirement planning you’d want to stock your newsroom with press releases, educational articles, blog posts and videos on that subject. Make sure that each piece of written content has an original image with it. Google rewards original images with higher ranking.

2.  Site Search

Reporters and bloggers might not see what they’re looking for right away.  You must have a custom site search on your newsroom so that they can look for the content they want.

3.  Expert Database:

List all your experts in a searchable database.  Journalists are looking for experts, yet only 13% of the Fortune 200 – 500 have an expert database in their newsroom.

Add a bio and a short video of the expert talking about the area of interest and expertise. A large concern may have many experts, but a smaller business may only have one or two. Even so, you need to have them listed in your newsroom.  (Add their LinkedIn Profile link to their page and work with each expert to fill out their LinkedIn Profiles and Twitter bios so they can found in a direct social media search too.)

4.  Image Gallery:

Media outlets know that visuals attract more viewers and keep people on a story longer.  These are vital statistics for any media outlet. Yet they are short of resources to produce good original images.

95 percent of journalists surveyed in 2017 said images are important and 61 percent regard them as very important.  Only 22% of the Fortune 200 – 500 have an image gallery in the newsroom.

This is a huge opportunity to increase your media coverage. Provide great images that extend and enhance the story.  Just adding a stock photo so that you have an image with your story won’t do the trick.

Learn to tell stories visually. Become visually literate. Take a class in photography. Read The Art of iPhone Photography. Take great shots and make interesting images using Photoshop or easy-to-use apps like Canva. Always add the download URL or embed code for the image, so that a journalist or blogger can use it immediately.

5. Video Gallery:

Now that it’s possible to take and edit videos on your mobile device, everyone can make interesting videos.  Again, make the video tell the story, don’t just do “talking heads.”  Take a look at the Intercontinental Hotels concierge videos. Watch how the news does a segment.  Start with the visual story concept, script your video, create a story board, shoot and edit. 21% of the Fortune 200 – 500 companies in the US have a video gallery in their newsroom.

6. Press Releases:

Don’t wait for a momentous occasion to write a release.  Find the stories in your organization.  Write regular releases, optimize them for search and post them in your newsroom.  Make sure that every release has your media contact’s name and telephone number on it.

7. Industry articles by Experts

Follow the industry news and have your experts write articles about current events and commentary on issues.  Optimize these articles for search.

8. Story Ideas:

No-one knows your business like you do.  Create a section of your newsroom with story ideas that might pique the interest of the media. Link to the assets and information they can use to write each story.

9. Featured Content:

Have one major story and/or video at the top of your newsroom.  If there is a trending news tie-in, put that in the featured section and make sure that it has all the visual assets needed.

10. Social Media:

There are two parts to this – one is to make it easy to find your brand’s social accounts and the other is to put social sharing buttons on every page and story.  Make it dead simple for a visitor to share the content with their friends and followers. Tips:  Make the links to your social accounts open in a new window.  Make sure that every expert’s Linkedin profile and Twitter bio is optimized for search.

11. Tags:

Add the ability to tag each item of content with keywords. It helps for search visibility and it helps journalists to find the content they’re looking for in your newsroom.

12. Categorized Content:

It’s so much easier for a journalist to see categories of release, articles and images than have to wade through everything to find what they’re interested in

13. RSS feeds:

The general public may no longer be using RSS feeds, but journalists still rely on feeds to get content and find and organize their research.  Add a feed to every category of content. It pays dividends.

 How to Use the Newsroom

A good online newsroom that acts as a content hub is a valuable resource for the media.

As soon as you have the newsroom live and populated with good content, send a short email invitation to all the journalists and influencers on your media wish-list to let them know it’s there. Tell them you have multimedia galleries and RSS feeds on categorized content.

Put all the material related to a story you plan to pitch in the newsroom and send a short, relevant pitch to the reporters with a link to the supporting material in your newsroom.

That way you meet their preference for a short email and still offer them access to all the assets that could be used for the story.  They can visit the newsroom and browse the material while researching.

These 13 tips can take your online newsroom from a useless “press release graveyard” to a vibrant online resource that earns you valuable media coverage.

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