by Michael O'Neill
December 18th, 2013

Although many companies are now actively utilise blogs, Twitter, Facebook to improve online communications with external audiences, it can be a significant drawback if those same companies do not keep their official websites updated.

While it is important to keep up with social media trends, companies need to focus on their ‘owned media’ — official websites and online newsrooms — in order to produce actual business results. With that in mind, here are 10 ways to improve your online newsroom:

1)    Improve search function: Archived by year, topic, or title in a chronological list of announcements is not enough. Searching a newsroom by specific keyword is the fastest way for journalists to access to information they want. Therefore, maximise the accessibility and minimise the time required to find information by adding keyword search and check boxes by topics.

2)    Provide email alerts: Provide email alerts in order to fulfill the needs of journalists for company updates. If you have rich information in your online newsroom, allow journalists to receive your updates in a way most relevant to them — via email alter or subscription option.

3)    Provide content packages: In the same way you would provide a press kit at an offline product lunching event, fulfill the needs of journalists by providing in-depth information packages for a certain products or topics.

4)    Provide rich information: Let journalists perceive that you are playing a leading role in the industry by providing rich and in-depth information about your organisation including award wins, history, company reports, market and trend analysis, and more

5)    Secure the content readability: In general, companies provide information such as foundation dates, headquarter locations and official website information in PDF format. You should also avoid sending messages in dry text-only format, but rather improve readability by adding well-organised charts, high quality images, etc.

6)    Use video: A long description of company in dry text-only can scare readers away, especially those accessing by smartphone. Deliver your story in a visual way through video.

7)    Make it sharable: If you open press releases inside newsrooms, you will often find text-only articles. International companies induce additional exposure of content by adding social share buttons above and below the body.

8)    Use multimedia: There is more to media relations than text and image. Use various multimedia formats such as video, infographic, and motion graphic when delivering your messages.

9)    Show your human side: International companies not only give factual information about their products but also create and actively share rich content in which professionals tell stories about the products via newsrooms. It promotes the human value of the brand that you cannot find in dry text.

10) Track and analyse: ‘If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it’ is the principle of online communications. Track the conditions of newsroom management and visitor patterns. Also, utilise traffic analytics services in order to draw meaning from the data and remember to check on a regular base.

Juny Lee is vice-president, Korea, at Weber Shandwick

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