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Create a Killer Online Newsroom
Or be killed by the inferior alternative.
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by Kay Bransford

Yes, you've heard it before, online news sites stink. Jacob Nielsen and Don Middleburg recently released studies on how poorly the public relations community is doing when it comes to putting together a useful online media resource. 

Vocus also ran a study of 1,000 newspaper, magazine and Internet journalists and found that only 33% of corporate Web sites provide the adequate information journalists are looking for when visiting a corporate Web site. 
Online Newsroom

   Sample Online Newsroom
   Click for expanded view

But we already knew that, so the Vocus study went on to find out what elements and information the journalists were seeking from corporate Web sites. Since three out of five journalists said that the information found on the Web site impacts their decision to include a company in a story, having the right information on your Web site can make or break your media coverage. The worst that could happen is when you send a journalist away frustrated and empty-handed.

So just what kind of information are journalists looking for? Results from the Vocus survey showed that the top three items a Web site should provide in a newsroom are:

1) Press Releases: Include current and archive releases, being sure to post any releases distributed within the last 24 hours, and have an easy search option. "Press releases should be extremely up-to-date," said a survey respondent.

2) Twenty-four hour contact information: Include a specific contact person by name, title and phone number and how to reach them. "Most don't even have a media link in their menu for phone numbers!!!"  another survey participant said.

3) Corporate information: Include a company profile, statistics and executive biographies -- information that will help gain insight into the company and its management.  "Basic facts and figures: how many employees, annual sales, info that can place your company in context when necessary," said a third respondent.

Public relations professionals have a vast opportunity to take advantage of the communication channels that the Internet provides, and the strides that they make will help in changing the way both journalists and companies tell their stories. Companies and organizations which provide the right information can maximize their relationships with journalists, resulting in better coverage and increased efficiency of resources. 





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