Online newsrooms are spreading the holiday cheer – and sales – this year. That’s why optimizing your company’s online newsroom is a smart move for the holidays.
Savvy brands like Ford Motor Company, Starbucks and T.J.Maxx are taking their online newsrooms to new levels by leveraging the power of content marketing and public relations. Just check out the Marshalls/T.J.Maxx press release announcing specific gift ideas with pictures and prices or Starbucks announcing free coffee to people working on Black Friday.
“Across the board, with our retail clients we saw a significant spike in traffic, beginning on Thanksgiving. On average, the traffic coming to our retail clients’ online newsrooms increased by more than 30 percent, especially those coupling a smart content marketing strategy that goes beyond the corporate news,” said Steve Momorella, co-founder of TEKGROUP, an online newsroom software company.
Not Just For Journalists Anymore
Have you looked at your online newsroom lately? If you don’t have one, you aren’t alone. About half (48.4 percent) of corporate communicators report having an online newsroom, and almost 13 percent more indicate an intention to develop one in the future.
So what does this mean, practically speaking? Think about it: 52 percent of corporate communicators don’t have an online newsroom. How about making that number work for you as a competitive SEO and content marketing advantage? This could be your marketing secret weapon and competitive advantage for 2012.
Once the boring placeholder for monthly press releases, online newsrooms now report on news like latte specials, gift ideas, apps, and games.
Online Newsroom Checklist
- Vital Statistics: It’s really surprising how many organizations fail at incorporating the basic facts, background information, history, and milestones into the press center. More advanced content could include industry hot buttons, facts, and figures.
- Multimedia Image Library: Include logos, photos, images, videos, presentations, charts, and graphs. Editors, searchers, and search engines love this stuff, especially when optimized with keywords!
- Bios of Key Executives: List names, titles, and photos of key management, with links to social media networks they belong to. Remember to save the file names of the key executive photos with the first and last name versus something generic. Think Google Images search results!
- Social Media Networks: Make this your hub that lists all corporate social media networks. This way, it’s easy for journalists and users to find the social side of your company – and if you don’t have a social media side to your company, it’s time to develop one.
- RSS Feeds: Today’s searchers are savvy. Give them the opportunity to easily subscribe to your news and take it one step further by dividing news into categories. For example, Bank of America divides its news up into categories such as Community News, Consumer News, Commercial or Global Markets.
- Contact information: Sounds obvious, but many times contact information is the missing piece. Be sure to have at least one designated press person available to handle media inquiries with name, personal email and direct phone number. Also consider having the PR person’s LinkedIn or Twitter ID included in the contact information.
- In the News: Make sure you have a section that lists most recent significant and relative media coverage in reverse chronological order with a link to more detailed coverage.
- Architecture: Have the latest headlines showing on the newsroom home page and make the newsroom easy to find on the home page. Your company newsroom link should be easy to find from your home page.
- Update Often: The newsroom is an obvious place to add content to your website. Large companies update their newsrooms several times a day. If this isn’t possible, look at a content strategy that updates the online newsroom at least once a week and ideally several times a week. This will yield fresh content for your visitors and also gain more SEO value.
SEO Online Newsroom Tips
- Put the word “news” in the URL for your online newsroom. Examples include “http://news.companyname.com” or http://www.companyname.com/news/.
- Try to create the URL of each news release with appropriate keywords in the headline. An example is http://news.companyname.com/headline-of-news-story.
- Ensure that your online newsroom is available in a mobile format to maximize your reach.
Online newsrooms are many times on the wish lists of corporate communicators but on the backburner for the development team. If this is the case, there are third-party online newsroom providers that can have your newsroom up and running in 24 hours or less. Check out PitchEngine, MyPRGenie, My NewsDesk, PRESSfeed and TEKGROUP.
Online newsroom matched with content marketing is a key trend to watch in 2012.