The Importance of a Newsroom - More Than Just a Place to Store News Releases

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April 20, 2018

Many in business are familiar with the basic functions a newsroom should provide, however few actually put into practice setting one up. This may be in part due to lack of knowledge of how to set one up, or what should be included within a newsroom environment.

So what is a newsroom and what information should be contained within it? The newsroom is a link that is typically accessible off the front page of your website, guiding your audience to your newsroom. The newsroom section may either be contained directly within your website or it may also be an external URL hosted with a newsroom service provider that specializes in newsrooms. The information that a newsroom should contain includes:

  1. Media Contact Information
    When a journalist, blogger or researcher is interested in your press release, they want to know who the media contact is immediately without having to be placed on hold or forwarded to different individuals two or three times because they were provided a 'general company number'. Your newsroom contact information should contain both general media contact information and media contact information specific to a news release. Depending on what type of newsroom provider you are using will depend on the flexibility of these options. Ensuring you provide a direct number for the media contact is extremely important.

  2. Latest Press Releases Available
    Perhaps this should have been listed as the first option. Having a history of your news releases is extremely valuable no matter who your audience is. Beyond journalists, your audience may include your customer base who might be interested in what your company has been up to. We recommend having up to 12 months of press releases available. Having a search functionality built within the newsroom may also be useful particularly if you have many news releases.

  3. Socialized Newsroom
    Social media is not a fad, it is here to stay. Keeping your newsroom audience up to date on your social media happenings may also be useful. Some newsroom providers may include not just the option to display your latest social media posts, however do so in a single screen that may be sorted. Another efficient integration is if your provider allows you to automatically update your social media when your press release is posted to your newsroom, saving you the time of having to log into each account and update your social media account with your latest press release.

    Having your press release posted to your social media, particularly if you have a significant audience can have the power to make a story go 'viral'. Although this is rare, it has and can happen. By not posting to your social media is like not buying a lottery ticket - although the chances are slim, you definitely will not win a lottery that you have not purchased a ticket for.

  4. High Resolution Images
    Journalists are busy people. They want information right away. This includes high resolution images for print in hard copy media. Images stored within your newsroom need to be of highest available resolution with an absolute minimum size of 5" x 7" at 300 DPI. This will allow your images to be more likely used in print publications like magazines, newspapers and journals. Again, this sizing is a minimum; images should actually be larger to allow for cropping by the journalist while still maintaining ultimate resolution.

    Storing an image on your website that is 800 pixels x 600 pixels might be great for a Facebook or blog post, however it will not fair for print publication. Also ensure a DPI (dots per inch) of 300dpi.

  5. Media and Sound Files
    Depending on your business model may also depend on other types of media that might help increase your visibility, exposure and ultimately, interest with journalists. For instance, if you are a blossoming musician trying to engage interest from journalists within the music industry, having a section for sound files may be helpful. This could include links through sites like Sound Cloud or files that you have uploaded to your newsroom yourself. It is also an excellent opportunity to showcase your work. This goes the same for videos as well. There is a reason YouTube is such a popular site - everyone loves videos, but keep them under 2 minutes.

  6. Media Kits
    Depending on the structure of your business, you may have a single media kit, or multiple media kits. Large businesses like automotive companies may have a media kit for the company in general and then separate media kits for individual car models.

    For those who are not familiar with a media kit (also known as a press kit), according to WikiPedia, they may be described as a pre-packaged set of promotional materials that provide information about a person, company, organization or cause and which is distributed to members of the media for promotional use. Press kits, or media kits as they are sometimes known, are often distributed to announce a release or for a news conference.

    Components that are common to a press kit may include:

    - A Backgrounder with previous info about the company or person.
    - Fact sheets that list statistical information, benefits or features.
    - A current press release informative of current news where the media kit is referenced.
    - Who the media contact is, typically a public relations department or spokesperson.
    - Biographies of key executives, individuals, artists, etc.
    - Past news coverage
    - Photos or other images (high resolution) of key executives, logos, products, etc.
    - Collateral advertising material, such as: postcard, flier, newspaper ad, etc.

    Making this information readily available and downloadable to journalists & researchers alike is critical to help them in time crunch situations. You don't want to be passed up for the next company that has this information ready to go.

  7. Featured in the News
    If your business has been featured in an article, newspaper, journal etc., this is important to share. It is important because it lends instant credibility to not just potential customers looking to do business with you, however journalists as well.

    Typically, this is an area in the newsroom that displays the headline of the article you were featured in, with a link to that magazine, website, etc. Some newsrooms will include the publication business name, like 'The Wall Street Journal' or 'The New York Times', etc. The link would typically open into a new window so as to not lose your reader when they close that window.

There are many other features and functionality that can be included in a newsroom product and pricing on these third party products can vary immensely. Pricing we have observed ranges from around $100/month to upward of $15,000 per year. Finding a service that is integrated with your press release distribution and social media can also be a time saver and a huge benefit.