Updated: Mar 23, 2021
Having an online newsroom is a growing and largely beneficial trend.
Public relations is an ever changing industry, just like so many others. Now, a booming trend in PR and media relations is a stacked newsroom. What do I mean by that? Well, let's get into it.
Traditionally, newsrooms are a collection of blog-like posts with announcements, past releases and not much else. Perhaps there's a page with contact information for the company's public information officers. While that's fine to just get by, utilizing a newsroom to the fullest extent can make a huge difference in the number of media placements you're able to get, and the amount and quality of coverage when you do get a placement.
Here are a few elements to consider adding as resources for journalists.
1. Downloadable b-roll & images
Having downloadable visual assets has proven very effective for my media relations team at my full-time job, particularly with broadcast media placements. Reporters, who are a one-person-show more and more often it seems, were also cut off from hospital and clinic footage after the pandemic began. They're desperate to get their hands on footage to help make their segments complete and engaging.
At first, we started filming our own b-roll as a service to our journalist contacts since they weren't allowed in the hospital anymore. We quickly realized that the footage would be a time and life saver in the long run. More and more, our footage of the outside of our hospital, of health care workers doffing and donning personal protective equipment, nurses with staged patients, pharmacists using a syringe to pull a dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and other types of health care-related shots, pops up in news segments.
We simply send a link to the page with all of our available downloads and let them choose from whatever they want, One perk of filming your own b-roll is that we control the visual branding so we incorporate our logo whenever possible and they'll take it because they need the footage.
2. Experts available for interviews
Even if you only have one expert available, having a dedicated page to list your experts or spokespeople and their area of expertise is another way to attract reporters. Usually, they're working on a story and looking for quotes for their segment or article. If you spell out who they can request to speak with, they might be more inclined to reach out for an interview.
Keep in mind that your available spokespeople could simply be the CEO or other C-suite people of the company.
3. Past press releases & major announcements
I started off by saying that a newsroom shouldn't just have past releases, but they should definitely be included. While reporters already working on a story might not call you up about your most recent release, it's always a good resource to have links handy. It's also a great way to highlight your team's work for other employees and your leadership team. Use your newsroom to house your work, all of which should embody the ways your highlight thought leadership, innovation and expertise of your organization to elevate the brand.
4. Recent media placements
Think of this as an internal and external play similar to the logic behind posting press releases. Including links to your team's most recent media placements tells other journalists that your experts are credible and able to conduct interviews. It gives you, and them, some valuable street cred.
For your internal audience, this is your chance to flex. Highlight your work and the resulting reputation building and establishment among reporters and the outlets' readers/viewers. Marketing yourself and your work is just important as the work itself.
5. Your contact information
I'm assuming that if you're reading this, you're in, or at least close enough to PR that you'd be the one involved with coordinating media interviews. If you're not, then make sure your newsroom includes contact information for the people who do coordinate media interviews. A work email and phone number should suffice.
If helpful, perhaps you mention titles and beats if your team is broken up that way. For example, my team divvies up the various medical specialities of our faculty. I handle all media inquiries and pushes for orthopedic surgery, spine, obstetrics and gynecology, psychiatry and surgery, so reporters know to email me if they want to speak to a doctor who practices those kinds of medicine,.