Latest industry views and advice

September 3

Are you maximising how your company or brand is perceived online by the media?

The shift in digital and social media changes how PR professionals and marketers interact with customers, journalists and the citizen journalist. Studies show that most people turn to online research before making contact with any company and that’s the same for the news industry. If a journalist is working on a news story about your company or brand the likely first port of call will be to research you online before making contact, if they contact you at all. So are you making that process easy for them?

According to a recent Public Relations Consultants Association webinar the key to having some control over what information journalists and citizen journalists find online is to have all of it in one place, a.k.a a virtual press office. This should be a location to host your news for the digital age journalist. It needs to be easy to negotiate, have clear information to indicate who’s who in the company and how to get in touch with the press office or communications team. This gives journalists access to correct and up-to-date information in just a few clicks.

So how do you create an effective virtual press office? Here are 10 useful steps:

Reflect brand personality: make sure the press office is presented in the same way you always present the brand – match the colours, keep the same tone of voice you use and any images need to match the brand’s personality

Become a value-added resource: make it easy for journalists to find what they’re looking for so they turn back to you as a resource of valuable information again in the future.

Become a sector and industry resource: don’t just provide information about your brand or client – have the most up to date, relevant information about the sector, using your insight to add even more value to the journalist’s search.

Make it easy to navigate: journalists are busy; they work on 24/7 schedules and will not waste time on a virtual press office that isn’t clear or easy to navigate.

Multimedia: just having news stories and information isn’t enough anymore – journalists need images, videos, and infographics for their multi-platform media outlets so make sure you have a menu of options on offer.

Be copyright generous: be generous with the copyright of your images and let journalists use them if they need to with little or no hassle – remember, long processes that determine how, where and if images can be used in the media will only put journalists off your site.

Be clear about the copyright ownershipit’s not just about being generous with your images, if you have images where the copyright doesn’t belong to you, you must make sure you have that information clearly available for journalists so they know who to reference if they use it.

Encourage following: use logos to clearly show how you can be followed on social media. Also, Really Simple Syndication (RSS) is a great way of putting your brand or client’s news stories out and if journalists follow the RRS feed then they’re notified each and every time you have something new to say.

Be easy to contact: make sure your contact details are easy to find and that journalists don’t have to subscribe or fill out forms just to get in touch. If they can’t get in touch to verify something, then you risk incorrect information being published.

Mobile friendly: mobile friendly websites are now favoured by Google (and mobile unfriendly sites penalised) so make sure your virtual press office is mobile enabled.

Virtual press offices are about keeping up good media relations and making your brand stand out online with journalists and citizen journalists alike. Be a resource of valuable information and you’ll keep the media on your side.

Photo: Clarita

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