In PR, some of the most strategic campaigns are launched around news or product announcements. But, these involve a lot more than just issuing a press release. It often takes months of preparation to establish relationships with members of the media community and get them interested in your client’s business and solutions. This ensures that when the big announcement comes along, they already have some familiarity with the company and interest in its future developments or direction.

One of the most important and strategic elements that can help maximize media relationships and the impact of news announcements is having a corporate online newsroom. Having a page on a company’s website that’s dedicated to press releases and news gives media a kind of one-stop-shop to observe what’s been going on within a company, recent updates and ongoing traction in the industry.

As a PR professional, advising clients on the development of an online newsroom is key, and, this week, TEKGROUP released a report with some helpful tips for establishing a successful online newsroom. The 2012 Online Newsroom Survey Report highlights how journalists work with online newsrooms and, using the insights, may be helpful to shape the development of companies’ dedicated news web pages. Some of the more interesting stats from the survey include the fact that, of the working journalists surveyed:

  • 49 percent agree it’s very important to have an online newsroom available to the press
  • 56 percent think it’s very important to provide access to news releases within an online newsroom
  • 28 percent visit a corporate online newsroom once a week
  • 26 percent visit a corporate online newsroom every day
  • 82 percent agree that using an online newsroom increases their productivity
  • 52 percent think it’s very important to have access to photographs (both web and print ready) in an online newsroom

Having an online newsroom and incorporating these elements makes it easier for journalists to fact-check articles, ensure they are using the appropriate messaging and are up to date on the latest happenings within companies and brands they’ve come to follow.

To further promote a company’s online newsroom – and especially its content – among media, it’s crucial to establish a contact or reference on the web page where journalists can make inquiries and source potential articles. Taking this into consideration, it comes as no surprise to find that 65 percent of journalists surveyed think it’s very important to be able to find PR contact information within an online newsroom. After all, a PR contact is often seen as the gateway to the company for media and news items.

Gone are the days of shipping physical media kits to journalists or passing them out at events. Now, online newsrooms serve as the media kits of the 21st century. What strategies have you recommended to your clients for optimizing their online newsrooms?

This post was first published by Meredith L. Eaton on March Communications’ blog,  PR Nonsense, and may be viewed here.