Eleonora Israele

How to Build an Online Newsroom that Engages Journalists

By: Eleonora Israele | April 18, 2017 | 

How To Build A Mobile Friendly Online Newsroom That Engages JournalistsWe live in the era of viral social media stories and 644 million websites on the internet.

That’s why it’s extremely difficult to get stories out to journalists amidst all the noise.

The Aslib Journal of Information Management highlights that:

Journalists have a need for large volumes of information. They need the information to be relevant and trustworthy. You also need to deliver it quickly. The key problem they face is a shortage of time.

That makes having an engaging and useful online newsroom mandatory.

So, what does your online newsroom look like?

Is it evolving with the advances in technology to cater to the needs of journalists?

Or is it just a bulleted list of recent news releases and a mailto form?

Your online newsroom might need an extreme makeover to help your company’s story stand out.

Here are a few case studies to guide your mobile newsroom’s design and function.

The Importance of Visuals

In a case study by Nadya Khoja, VP of Marketing at Venngage, she explains:

Your brain processes and remembers images 60,000 times faster than words. The simple explanation is images often do a better job of painting a picture—telling a story—than text. Khoja further shares that infographics and original graphics perform the best for about 42 percent of marketers, followed by charts and data visualizations (26 percent), and videos (20 percent).

There are various ways to use visuals in a newsroom.

Infographics translate information that may be difficult to process on its own.

Pictures of an event can trigger an emotional response.

Images of your product or services in use can create an instant connection with the journalist.

The Verizon online newsroom is a great example.

It comes across more as an online magazine rather than a newsroom which draws the reader in.

Verizon online newsroom

Fitt’s Law and Your Online Newsroom

A frequent complaint of journalists is that they cannot quickly and easily find the public relations contacts on a media website. On many sites it takes a minimum of five clicks to get to the public relations contact page, according to PR Newswire

In a case study by Kissmetrics, they found abandon rates increase the more clicks a visitor has to make to find what they’re looking for.

Fitt’s Law states the time required to move your mouse to a target is based on two factors.

Both, distance to target and size of the target must be optimized.

You can increase your clickthrough rate by making your target bigger.

This can mean creating a button instead of a hyperlinked sentence.

You must also place it where users will click on it, meaning where their mouse naturally is.

If you line up all of your buttons, the mouse moves minimally, and clickthrough rate increases.

You can also decrease cancelations by using a smaller button.

SAP wanted to increase trial downloads of their Crystal Reports software.

Their winning design included removing distractions and adding a second clickthrough rate at the bottom of the page.

After the alteration, the download button is clearly differentiated from the rest of the page.


What Does This Mean for Your Online Newsroom?

A lot of your traffic will come from search engine results.

So the journalist may not have landed on your media page.

Make your information easy to find.

This includes an easy to spot tab for journalists that links to your contact information and current reports.

Remove Barriers Between Journalists and Your Data

I hate when I click on a website and it asks for my contact information—I immediately leave.

I can easily find what I’m looking for elsewhere without cluttering my inbox with unwanted email blasts.

While you may want a list of journalists’ emails for future news releases, asking for their information is a definite barrier.

This will either get you a fictitious email or they’ll exit your site.

They most likely don’t have the time to fill out a form and will delete or ignore random emails.

Secondly, I hate it when articles or reports are in PDF format.

Reporters need to cut and paste quotations.

Mark Shapiro, a marketing consultant advises helping journalists use your content:

Do not convert your text content into jpgs and images. Instead, make it easy for journalists to access and ‘borrow’ your content in order to promote your products and services.

It helps your site be more SEO friendly.

Cut the Industry Jargon

You may be using a lot of complicated jargon the average person doesn’t understand.

Think about who you are writing for and where you want your story to get picked up.

This way, you might even be interviewed as an expert for a hot topic in the news.

Ilan Mochari explains in How to Introduce a New (Somewhat Complicated) Product to Consumers how Perfect Fuel, a healthy energy bar, was born.

The challenge was to explain the new snack in a familiar way.

Using the name ‘fuel’ helped customers associate the chocolate bar with a boost of energy, similar to “Five-Hour Energy.”

The same thing applies to news releases.

If you’re in the tech industry you may be sending your story to tech reporters.

However, you shouldn’t limit your audience with complicated wording.

Optimize Your Online Newsroom for Mobile Speed

Slow downloads is an obvious problem.

Sixty-four percent of smartphone users expect a page to load in less than four seconds.

Joel Gross highlights the increasing popularity of Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP).

He states:

AMPs use simplified HTML code that prioritizes page load speed and readability. While the code required to create these pages is leaner—restricts some formatting and design options—the benefits of a faster, easier, and overall better browsing experience cannot be overstated.

By optimizing your mobile site, you elevate the user experience.

Journalist are more likely to report your story and return for future updates.

If you want journalists to share your news, step one is to have a great online newsroom.

Know of an exceptional online newsroom?

Share it in the comments!

About Eleonora Israele

Eleonora Israele is an analyst at Clutch, where she is responsible for research on marketing software and digital agencies. Clutch is a Washington, D.C.-based research, ratings, and reviews platform for B2B services and software.