Tips On Setting Up Online (Interactive) Newsrooms

With the advancement of internet technology and the increase adoption of bandwidth around the world, the new PR/media relations professional has to make sure to embrace the modern day platform. Setting up an online newsroom for your company is essential for a few reasons:

1. It’s going to be the main source of credible information about your company, especially when journalists, analysts, and customers are researching at all hours or use your online news center to obtain breaking news.
2. The newsroom is also a great way to maintain control of brand communication (much better for a journalist to receive info straight from the brand rather than another source).
3. Newsrooms can also save in costs associated with sending out media kits or informational product USB sticks. All Media kit information can be converted into PDF format and posted in the newsroom as well as USB sticks converted into video format.

Most journalists or investors expect to see the basic elements included in your newsroom. Basic elements include:

Contact info for your main PR contact. Basic facts about the company. Executive bio section. Company’s point of view on its industry. Access to financial information, quarterly newscast of earnings. Easy downloadable images for stories. Images and logos should be in 72 dpi for web usage and hi-res 300 dpi files for print publications. Searchable news release archives. Product information.

Online newsrooms range from the basics to the more advanced media centers with searchable databases, video presentations, and podcasts. These interactive newsrooms can contain blogs, RSS feeds, and SMR (Social Media News Releases). When sending out PR email alerts to journalists or investors, it’s always good practice to put link-backs to the online newsroom. Targeted messages using RSS feeds are also great for wireless devices like mobile phones.

Other online newsroom features you will want to include are E-press kits. E-press kits include targeted news releases, images, statements and related content. Also include the ability for a journalist to sign up for email “media alerts.” If you really would like to cater to your journalists and media personal, include personal folders in the newsrooms with a password protected (encrypted) area to store information they’ve researched and want to archive for future use. Add special icons into press releases or other collateral that will enable the journalists with a simple click to add to their folder.

Break the newsroom into a “corporate” and “consumer” section. The consumer section should include news and info on customer satisfaction, feedback, e-commerce, marketing, safety, compliance and service. As you build your online interactive newsroom keep the following in mind:

Your brand’s newsroom will be a main source of credible information as journalist’s research story ideas or analysts looking for financial information.

Understand the basics of your online newsroom before enhancing it. Add features and functions slowly. Keep in mind that most journalists today that access your newsroom are technologically savvy. Don’t be afraid to add advance features.

Always post fresh content everyday (blogs are a good example). Fresh content will have journalists & Investors returning to your newsroom to check out the latest news and information.

Build your newsroom in phases starting out with the basics. A second phase can include features such as RSS, podcasts, video. A third phase you can add blogs, tags, social bookmarking sites and even Twitter searches or Mention to check out all the chatter on a topic in the blogosphere or social media platforms.

Social Media Trifecta for Small Business

If you’re like a typical “small business”, you’re looking for new ways to bring in customers. My advice = Use Social Media. Most “small business” have little or no resources to hire a full time Social Media manager. If this is the case, then my recommendation would be to concentrate only on these 3 Social Media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, and Yelp). Take an hour a day (or night) and network/add content to these Social Media sites.

Yelp

This is a great site and becoming a force in small business marketing. Yelp is your chance to give customers the scoop, right on your Yelp business page. Once logged into biz.yelp.com, build out a rich profile under the “Business Information” tab. You can share the history behind your business and what you do best. Also, add a little something about yourself and your employees so that Yelp users can get to know you. Let people know your business is on Yelp. Add a button (Yelp link) to your email signature file, website, and all marketing collateral

Get photos of your business up on Yelp, ASAP. If your business is a restaurant, add a picture of your menu. Own a boutique? Add a shot of your great new merchandise. It’s a simple, fun and effective way to illustrate your story. Finally, ensure a photo of your storefront is included so people know what to look for when they decide to visit you offline and in person.

TwitterTwitter

Twitter is also for small business owners looking to build new local customers. To sign up for a twitter account, go here www.twitter.com. The first thing to do is set up a proper “Profile”. Make sure you fill out your twitter profile to include your website URL, business phone #, and specific keywords related to your business or service that will help potential people to follow you. Follow people in your field of business such as peers, customers, and competitors. Follow your competitors followers as well. Run twitter contests, give away special online twitter discounts or offers. Always include “Add Follow Me on Twitter” in email signature file, website, and your other social media accounts.

Make sure you don’t mix your twitter business account with a personal account, keep them separate as well as the messages. Engage in related business conversations. Look up conversations that will help drive customers to your twitter account using keywords in twitter search. DO NOT go overboard and follow too many people that follow you or you will risk looking like a spammer. If you have a blog on your small business website, always reference a new blog post on your twitter account. Stay with it everday and be patient, the ROI will pay off in due time. Retweet others relevant to your field or business. This helps establish credability and you will pick up more followers.

Facebook 

Get on Facebook now! Facebook pages tend to work better for businesses while Facebook “groups” do well for non-profits, interests and causes. If you’re a one-person business, rather than creating Facebook pages for your name, consider setting up a Facebook page for the company, product or service name and add keywords to it. People may be more likely to subscrbe to your Page (become a “fan”) when they see the topic that follows the company name.

Content is king for a Facebook business page. Facebook is a great place to share tips on how to do things faster or more effectively with your product or service. Post “how-to” videos or screencasts. Announce free upcoming events or webinars. Mention if you or someone from your business will be attending an event for a potential meet up. Its always a good idea (content-wise) to import your twitter feed and business blog posts.

Make sure you use Facebook to connect with your existing customers AFTER they’ve already bought from you – rather than trying to use Facebook to mine for leads. This is the path of least resistance. Since they already know you, they are more likely to interact with your page – crucial for organic growth on Facebook.