While nearly 9 in 10 reporters research an organization via Google, 75% use online newsrooms, according to a survey by Business Wire. Having a newsroom microsite on your company web site makes it easier for busy reporters to find what they need easily, including executive biographies and downloadable logos.
Denver-based pay-TV provider DISH has 400 registered users who receive an abstract of news releases and a link to the full release, said John Hall, DISH general manager of corporate affairs. Announcements that are not significant enough for a release are posted on the DISH blog, Hall told those attending a PRSA Colorado luncheon.
While the online newsroom is one communications channel, DISH still pitches stories to reporters as company news arises – often several times a week. DISH started their newsroom with media as the core audience, but prospective employees are a key secondary audience.
BusinessWire conducted a survey of journalists about the features and functions they want to see in an online newsroom. According to Ibrey Woodruff, the most popular features are the ability to sign up for email alerts and to search by type of story. Journalists who cover a company regularly also expect the ability to:
- Search by category (releases, images, video)
- Register for email alerts, RSS feeds, blog and Twitter
- Find an editorial calendar
- Search just for news, not the entire corporate site
DISH keeps all their news releases on the site (http://about.dish.com). “I check out our past releases all the time,” Hall said. Teams of employees sign up for news releases so they get current information. A searchable database of news releases provides reporters easy access to years of information on the company.
DISH is currently redesigning its website using analytics to guide decision-making. Featured news is the first thing the company wants people to see. The most popular news is farther down the page. The January 2015 launch of Sling TV is still the most-viewed news release and has a permanent spot on the DISH news page.
Sling TV provides TV programming live-streamed to computers, tablets, streaming boxes, game consoles and mobile devices. Its newsroom address is http://news.sling.com.
Both DISH and Sling TV maintain blogs for different reasons. DISH has two blogs: one consumer-facing and the other for public affairs. The DIG serves as an Insider’s Guide to Entertainment maintained by the marketing department. “SEO is a big reason the blog is there, “ said Hall. A policy blog is maintained out of Washington, D.C. addressing industrywide regulatory issues and presenting DISH’s Federal Communications Commission filings. To make the information easily accessible to media, the filings are posted on the policy blog with a link to the FCC site.
The Sling TV blog hosts public announcements that do not rise to the level of a news release. “I want to spend my capital with reporters when I really want their attention,” Hall noted.
Read tips for building a successful online newsroom at: www.gonderpublicrelations.com/blog/.
Blog by Peggy Gonder, APR
Gonder Public Relations
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