Search engines and the web are the most convenient and common starting point for journalists reporting on your company’s business trends in 2022. According to the MuckRack State of Journalism for 2022, 57% of journalists get their news from online newspapers or magazines as the starting point for most of their stories. In light of this, search visibility and a well-organized corporate newsroom are essential for any company hoping to be a resource for news stories.
Even a basic SEO strategy can ensure that your firm ranks highly for a branded search involving your company or product name. If the reporter is already familiar with the business, and looking for a spokesperson, the goal for your corporate newsroom is quickly helping journalists connect with someone to talk to.
To get inbound press inquiries, ensure your company site shows up for keywords about the subject areas where you have some expertise. These might not necessarily relate to your company’s value proposition. For example, many businesses are interested in promoting their approaches to remote work, even when they aren’t selling solutions to HR leaders. For corporate PR, the newsroom can serve as a home for content about media-genic topics. This ensures they don’t interfere with more conversion-oriented information on the general site.
It’s essential to follow the proper newsroom strategy and design to let a journalist or blogger quickly find the relevant information they’re seeking. Curious to learn how to organize an online newsroom? Follow these best practices to support inbound queries, highlight your team’s expertise, and make the most from your investment in your PR campaign and other marketing efforts.
1. Create an accessible layout
Cision reports in its State of the Media for 2022 that the #1 priority for journalists is maintaining credibility as a trusted news source and combating accusations of “fake news.” Good partners and reliable sources of information that make it easy to verify essential details will be a more regular source for journalists.
Link from the homepage to the news or press section prominently, so reporters don’t have to hunt. Typically the newsroom is housed in a primary navigation menu, with a title like “About Us”. There’s no point in expecting reporters to follow a clever “trail” or other widget, so make sure it’s clearly visible in the primary navigation. It’s a good idea to highlight news on the homepage of your site.
2. Display all relevant information in a simple-to-navigate newsroom
When journalists are working on deadlines, they may prefer not to reach out to a company contact. Help them complete their stories easily, especially when working on a weekend deadline. Include the following in your corporate newsroom:
- Latest news – keep this current.
- Media coverage – and keep it up to date. If you’re not sharing your team’s media appearances, you’re undercutting the value of your current media efforts.
- High-resolution photos (people, locations, products) and corporate design assets (product shots, logos, screenshots) that are clearly labeled.
- Executive bios and links to their LinkedIn profiles.
- B-roll or other video assets when available
- Corporate background details (history, proposition, management team, customers, funding)
- Direct PR contact details for a named individual: their name, email, and phone contact prominently displayed and easy to find. This is a particular pet peeve for some journalists.
3. Showcase your team’s areas of expertise
In MuckRack’s State of Journalism for 2022, 71% of journalists said that what makes a story shareable is the “subject [of the story is] connected to a trending [topic].” Include executive bios with specific subject matter expertise for which they are available to give comment. Only list specific topics for which this applies. If your team requires additional time to research or prepare a perspective, this will not be useful to journalists on deadline.
Include recent articles so journalists can see your insights in print. These articles highlight the third-party validation provided by other news outlets for your executive team’s expertise. Include upcoming events and webinars so journalists can see how you’re connected to the professional community. MuckRack reports that journalists are less likely to attend corporate-sponsored events in 2022, so packaging this content in a format that can easily be accessed online is ideal.
The newsroom website design should keep content current and up to date. Include a variety of content, not just press releases. Highlight and provide a link to download and reuse owned content. Increasingly, journalists will not write a story about a product or corporate change such as an appointment. Illustrations of trends or market intelligence provide resources journalists can draw from.
4. Categorize your team’s content
Organize your newsroom content by category. Tag content so related information appears with one click. Don’t send visitors on a scavenger hunt to understand the organizational hierarchy. Include a custom search function, and link all content in the newsroom and blog to this search. Include the date of news as a search parameter, so journalists can find relevant and timely updates.
5. Optimize your newsroom for discovery by search engines
Internet search is a huge factor for inbound media requests. If your newsroom is not optimized, you are missing opportunities with your target media on relevant topics.
For discovery by the media, focus on non-branded keywords about topics you can comment on. Most of this will relate to your business’ proposition, and so naturally be part of the SEO program. However, in executive bios, details like ‘expert’ or ‘spokesperson’ can contribute/enhance these search results.
Adding these qualifiers will improve ranking for hotly contested keywords. The volume will be low, but the quality of inbound requests will improve. If there’s a ‘media contact’ form in your newsroom or link to a staffer’s email, you can set up relevant SEO goals, and track conversions. It’s possible a reporter will find you in searching about one subject, but end up discussing another once they’ve learned more.
Maura Lafferty is an influencer relations specialist, with a particular focus on media outreach over social channels. Maura has over 14 years’ experience in public relations, and relationships with media working in national, California, and Silicon Valley newsrooms.