Depending on which research we read, almost 99 percent of journalists believe a company should have an online media room. Further, few reporters can find what they are looking for on business websites when researching for their story.
It begs the question: Why don’t more companies and organizations have an online media room as part of their communications strategy?
“It makes my job much easier when I begin researching on a certain topic,” says Andy Rathbun, a reporter from Everett, Wash. Rathbun says he can be working on numerous stories at one time so having easy access to information online is a tremendous help.
When planning the development or upgrade of an online media room, keep in mind that it is not just for media, it is also for customers, employees, investors, and competitors—anyone looking for information on a company, its products and services, or industry. Here is a list of items to consider including in an online media room.
News Releases: Categorizing can be helpful to the visitor. While most visitors will be interested in the latest news, chronological order makes logical sense. However, once the news release is archived, it may be prudent to categorize it by topic as well as by year.
Recent News: Brag a little bit. Show how many other publications and outlets have covered company news. It adds credibility says Rathbun. “If I go and see a New York Times article I’m more likely to do something for our paper.” But be aware of copyright issues. It is best to either contact an outlet to obtain permission or simply link to the full article on the outlet’s website.
Images: Include headshots of key leadership and photos from the recent trade show or marketing event. But make sure they are high resolution images (300dpi or higher). Give the media something they can download and use. If the site cannot handle a large amount of photos, consider using a photo sharing site. And be sure visitors can easily return to the online media room if they must step away from it.
Videos: It’s another way to visually tell our story in a compelling way. According to comScore, Inc., a media measurement and analytics company, “… 197.1 million Americans watched online content videos via desktop computer in December 2015…Google Sites, driven primarily by video viewing at YouTube.com, ranked as the top online video content property in December with 181 million unique viewers.”
PR/Media Contact: It can be frustrating when a reporter cannot get in touch with a company representative to arrange an interview or request additional information. Sounds like common sense, but it is amazing how many companies do not follow this simple step. These reporters are often on a deadline so make it easy for them to find the PR/media relations contact. By failing to provide this information, reporters may be likely to seek out competitors.
Research and Statistics: Be a leader in the industry. Conduct ongoing research that further educates and informs various audiences—including the company. Use the results to promote the industry and the company’s products and services. In addition to company research and stats, reporters also need other industry stats to support our own so it is important to include third-party research as well.
Company Spokespeople: List the experts who are available for interviews and include their biography. How many people within the organization have expertise in a certain area? In addition to the president and CEO, consider the director of research and development, the lead engineer of a particular project or new product, perhaps a volunteer who’s knowledgeable about the cause and organization. Just make sure they understand the organization’s media protocol if they receive a call from a reporter.
Links to social media and company generated content: Make it easy for visitors to connect to your Twitter, Facebook and Company LinkedIn profile, and provide the information they are looking to find. Create links to other information on the website such as the company blog, relevant white papers, and other materials displaying thought leadership.
Other considerations: Enhance the online media room experience with links to social media platforms, and include a ShareThis tool to make it easy for media and visitors to share content. Here are a few good examples of online media rooms: IBM, American Red Cross, and Apple.
The online media room is a smart addition—and enhancement— to any company’s communications strategy. Media and customers are searching for information—so let’s be there when they’re looking.
A version of this post originally appeared at www.JoelKessel.com
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