In 2009 Annual Conference, Monday

CaronSjoberg
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Building a new site? Updating an existing one? Planning one for the future? Here’s a few pointers on how to build an online newsroom that the media will love!

5 reasons to have an online newsroom:

  1. Deadlines are 24/7. Your info is available to journalists 24/7.
  2. Reporters covering specific industries doing research will use your site for info.
  3. Editors can fish for story ideas and fact check.
  4. Journalists can click through to your site from a news release to get more info. Be convenient! include hot links.
  5. Journalists can use your angle.

There is a greater need for media research before sending out your release. Cherry-pick your media market.
We live in a digital age, journalists are no different from all of us who are accustomed to instant gratification, they want the info now.

What should you include? These are the top ten:

  1. PR contact information
  2. Search archives
  3. Background information
  4. Product information
  5. FAQ
  6. Photographs
  7. Access crisis communications
  8. PR contact cell number
  9. Access to company events (use an app for a calendar program)
  10. Executive bios

A few details…

  • Make sure your info is timely, current information.
  • Provide downloadable, high-res photos – action is better than static (think people vs. buildings).
  • Use succinct backgrounders and fact sheets.
  • Recent clips, print, audio and visual add interest.

Quick tip: Keep it succinct, avoid industry acronyms
Where should it go? Make it easy to find, on the home page or no more than one click away; do not require sign-in for access.

If you’re a corporate PR practitioner, you should offer multiple opportunities to sign up for mailing list. Keep control of the newsroom under the PR department.

Some do’s and dont’s:

  • Do strike while the iron’s hot – if a journalist signs up for a newsletter, get something to them immediately, even if it’s only a “thank you, more news coming” message.
  • Don’t require people to have to download drivers or perform an additional task to get the information on your Web site.
  • Do provide a traditional, hard copy media kit, make it available in printable form on your Web site (and print and mail when requested!)
  • Do post your news releases on your own site IMMEDIATELY upon distributing a news release.

Sample newsrooms:
Toyota
Microsoft
Cisco
Red Lobster

Having news releases for your clients as well as your own agency posted on your Web site makes your site more current, more searchable.

Can’t afford to build a new site now?

  1. At least post your news on your “About Us” section.
  2. Update the page every time you send out a news release.
  3. Include a link to that page in each news release.
  4. Include a history/timeline of your company and direct email link to you in each news release.

Make it easy for journalists to get to someone in your company who can speak as an expert for various areas. (NRDC.com has an “expert finder”)
nonprofithousing.org = good use of video

It’s okay to link to news stories as long as credit is given to source.
Set up Google alerts at www.google.com/alerts, but be sure to use quotation marks around your searchable phrase.

Q&A with Caron Sjöberg:

How to get in between public and expert? Let them read about the expert, but contact through you.
How to categorize online release for a variety of clients? Using chronological sorting is easiest and best.
What types of audio clips do you use? Radio ads, call-ins, client interviews, are a few examples.
Link, instead of duplicate, sections of your site such as product information.

About the speaker…

After spending 20 years in corporate marketing, communications and operations positions Caron Sjöberg launched Ideawörks, a full service marketing communications firm where she is president and chief executive officer. She founded the Pensacola, Florida firm in 1995 based on her belief that a good agency should be made up of great people with even better ideas.

It’s worked. Pensacola Bay Area’s 2007 Small Business of the Year, Ideawörks and its staff have been recognized with more than 300 local, regional and national awards for marketing, public relations and graphic design, including a Grand Golden Image Award in 2008. The same year, Ideawörks took home 14 ADDY awards including a regional Gold award for all of Florida and the Caribbean. Actively involved in the local community, the company has donated more than $900,000 in free services to area non-profits through its Goodworks program.

Prior to co-founding Ideawörks, Caron spent 10 years with a regional hospital network, where she served as creative director, five years as vice president of marketing and operations for a privately-held paging company and five years as senior vice president of marketing communications for a regional telephone company. Each of the latter companies was named to Inc. magazine’s list of “500 Fastest Growing Private Companies in America” during her tenure.
Her work has appeared in several publications including Profiles in American Healthcare Marketing.

Caron has served as an adjunct professor for Integrated Campaigns at the University of West Florida, as a speaker for marketing and public relations workshops and on numerous community and professional boards. She was recently named “2009 Outstanding Woman in Business” by the Pensacola Business Journal.

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