The Value of an Optimized Online Media Room

Today, public relations professionals work diligently to ensure that the process between drafting and communicating a story on behalf of their client is as seamless as possible. Now more than ever, PR professionals are leading reporters, bloggers, etc to client news rooms for access to a vast company library. Unfortunately, not all media rooms are created equal. Here are some great tips from the folks at ReadWriteWeb on how to create a user-friendly online media room.

  • The primary media contact’s name and contact information. This is preferably one individual, but it can include multiple names (based on division, product line, purpose, etc.) if absolutely necessary. It should include links to the person’s social media profile. One thing that’s often overlooked: updating the media contact name on older releases if that name changes. You don’t want to direct media to contact former employees or your old PR firm.
  • Links to news releases (current year and archive of past years). If your company produces a lot of news releases, also provide the ability to view by topic, such as product line, financial releases, personnel announcements, etc. News releases should always be in HTML format for searchability. If PDF or printer-friendly versions are offered, these should be stored in a separate subdirectory that is excluded from search to avoid duplicate content issues. Releases should be presented in reverse date order, and links should include the headline, date, and one-line summary that’s preferably Twitter-friendly.
  • Links to media coverage and bylined articles. The media coverage page should highlight the two or three most recent articles, with an archive section for the rest, assuming the company gets that much coverage.
  • A company backgrounder or fact sheet. The company backgrounder needs to be factual, objective – that is, not a sales pitch – and written in the third person. It’s best to provide both a short version (often just the news release boilerplate) and a longer version that includes more company history, competitive differentiation, and how the company’s products and/or services help customers solve problems (backed up with facts).
  • FAQs. Make sure they’re questions that real media people would care about.
  • Management team bios and photos (downloadable JPGs in high-res and low-res versions for print and web). Bios should specify each executive’s area of expertise and best topics for quotes or interviews. They should also include information on how long that person has been with the company, key responsibilities, any outside leadership roles held and links to social media profile links.
  • Story ideas – thoughtful ones. To develop story ideas, start by looking at editorial calendars from top-tier publications in the industry and then looking for recurring themes. Make it clear which executives are the best sources for each topic.
  • Upcoming events, sponsorships and speaking engagements. The upcoming events and speaking engagements should include the date, name of the conference or event, a description of the company’s participation in the event, and links to the conference website and the speaker’s bio (if applicable).
  • Links to company-generated content. This should include white papers, PowerPoint presentations, videos, e-books, infographics, and other assets to promote thought leadership (links to analysts’—industry and/or financial—research and coverage and link to the company blog).
  • RSS feeds for press releases and blog posts.
  • Downloadable JPG images in hi-res and low-res formats. These include the company logo and other important images such as the company headquarters building, product photos, software screenshots, photos of executives at industry events, etc.
  • Links to all of the company’s social media profiles. This may include the LinkedIn company page, Facebook page, YouTube channel, Twitter feed, and Flickr profile.
  • A search-friendly URL structure with ‘news’ included. Here are two examples: news.company.com/section/pagename or company.com/news/section/pagename. In the latter case, “section” is the content type that is, news releases, bios, images etc. See the 2011 Online Newsroom Survey from TekGroup for more guidance.

And never EVER forget to include share tools (Facebook, Twitter, Delicious, Digg and the rest of the gang)!

Think that optimized online news rooms are overrated? Fortune 500 powerhouse disagrees. In fact, they just recruited several former reporters to develop and manage Cisco’s online presence.

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