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Ten Must-Haves for Today's Digital Newsroom
Check out the PTA newsroom,
created and managed by PWR,
that incorporates many of these here!
Does your online newsroom make it easy for journalists and bloggers to find what they’re looking for? Have you incorporated social media widgets, transferable multi-media content, and subscribe options? The truth is, most newsrooms still don’t provide the kind of organization and content that visitors—journalists, bloggers, customers, investors, contributors, etc.—want to find when they visit.

The good news is, a few tweaks can help your newsroom stand out from the crowd and function as a highly effective media relations tool. Here are 10 quick tips to help you make sure journalists, bloggers and even consumers find what they’re looking for when they visit your site.

1Include Video
Online video is an essential component in today’s newsroom. If you have experts who can share your story with the media, short videos of them on your site is a great way to let the press know they’re available and make broadcast outlets comfortable with their on camera skills.  Demo’s, behind-the-scenes video, tactical tips and PSAs also make great newsroom content. Get more video tips here.

2Let Them Subscribe
Make it easy for journalists and bloggers to let you know who they are. Add an RSS feed to your newsroom and drive traffic to your feed by including a link to it on all your news releases and other media-facing collateral. And a handy “subscribe” button enabling visitors to add themselves to your email list can also pay off.

3Organize, Organize, Organize
This one you already know, but one of the most frequent complaints we hear in our on-going conversations with the media is that newsrooms are hard to navigate. First, put contact information on the newsroom homepage so journalists can easily contact your media relations team. Then, spend time mapping out your content so that it is well organized and clearly labeled. (A navigation bar that flows through all pages enabling visitors to jump between landing pages can be helpful here.)

4Make It Social
Incorporating social media elements is increasingly important. First, make sure you invite visitors to follow you on your various social media platforms by including a social media footprint and a simple invitation to join your brand.  You can also increase the sociability of your newsroom by including share links that make it easy for visitors to archive and share your pages, or even just specific releases or other pieces of content, on sites like Facebook, Digg and Twitter. Finally, if you’re brand has a strong Twitter presence and uses a hashtag, consider a wiki embedded in your site that makes it easy for visitors to follow the Twitter conversation live (even if they don’t tweet themselves).

5Show Them What Others Have to Say
We’ve increasingly heard from the media that coverage info is helpful when they’re considering whether to, and how to, cover a story. So, include a coverage page that highlights pick-up and enables visitors to see how different outlets have covered your story.

6Go Big with Images
Images continue to be in very high demand. In fact, 75% of journalists told us in a recent survey that easy access to images actually increases the chances they’ll cover a story! So make sure your online image gallery is rich, well organized and easy to navigate. Drop down buttons that take the user to different products, events, or other image categories can be a great way to handle this part of your newsroom if you have a site with loads of images. Above all, include easy-to-download high res images. (If you’re requiring the press to get in touch to get high quality images you’re probably losing pick-up because of it, and thumbnails without a link high rez files are usually unusable by the media). Get more tips regarding images here.

7Make It Transferrable
Journalists and bloggers have less time to do more work, so the easier you make their job the more pickup you’ll enjoy. With the shift to digital, ensuring easy access to online content is an essential ingredient of a successful newsroom. Make sure your online video has an embed code the media can grab to repost your video on their sites; if you have strong images, drop them in a player with embed code the media can grab and reuse; make sure to include high res downloadable images; include audio that can be downloaded and transferred. Look at every piece of content you want to spread and make sure you’re enabling the press to grab and use it without hassle.

8It Doesn't Have to Be All About You
While your newsrooms is, of course, about your brand, it can be handy to share pertinent, timely and relevant information about your vertical, service or expertise. Setting your newsroom up as the go-to place for a given topic makes your brand a more useful resource to the media. So cover your brand, but consider adding a resource tab or other content that is relevant and brand adjacent.

9Label Content Clearly
Make sure visitors can see at a glance the kind of content available on your site. Consider using image/video/audio graphics next to your release headlines so journalists and bloggers know what multi-media elements are included in each release. And use drop-down menus, navigation bars and sidebars to ensure the content on your site is easy to find.

10Keep It Current
One of the most common problems we see with online newsrooms is that PR practitioners post it once and forget about it. To be truly effective, your newsroom should be updated on a regular basis so that it reflects recent topics in the news, recent changes in your brand and the most updated information you have to offer.

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