Thursday, November 17, 2011

3 Keys to Creating a Great Online Newsroom

As promised, here is a follow-up to last month’s post on 3 Reasons Why Your Website Needs a Newsroom. Building on the basics of what a newsroom is, what it isn’t and what it can accomplish, let’s look at three best practices of successful online newsrooms and a client example.

1. Keep it simple: Facilitate easy browsing and discovery.

Make sure the newsroom is easy to find and can be accessed from any page on your website, and vice versa. Done correctly, a newsroom will be one of the most visited pages on your site. Get more out of that traffic and enhance the user experience by linking visitors to other sections of the site. The user experience is more than just site navigation – it also involves strategically planning content. Think like your audience: What are they most interested in? Where will they look first, second?

2. Add more substance: Content equals more than just words.

Use digital media such as videos, images and graphics. Use original photography or develop simple graphics to add visual stimulation and excitement. But, be conscientious about balancing your message and using complicated images or technologies. Many users will view your site on mobile devices and tablets, so don’t be too flashy (literally, don’t use too much Flash video) and make sure all essential elements are easily viewable on different devices.

3. Let them see the real you: Showcase your personality with social feeds and other information.

If you maintain social media channels, bring your newsroom into the mix, housing feeds from Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other networks. These not only provide strong calls-to-action to engage with your company, but they often show more of your company’s personality. Link to related research, educational materials and industry articles, as well as tradeshows you’re attending, events you’re speaking at, awards you’re receiving, etc. If someone wants to start a conversation, let them know what you’re up to.

In general, keep in mind that newsroom visitors are your potential or current customers, employees or media contacts. Make sure they know something more about your company after stopping by.

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