Do you ever feel like your pitches falling on deaf ears? We will let you in on a little secret: it’s not just you. It’s a frustration shared by many PR pros in the industry. The truth is, journalists feel both overwhelmed and underwhelmed by pitches. According to recent studies, 28% of journalists receive over 100 pitches every week, which mostly end up in spam or trash due to irrelevance. Another study shows that a quarter or less of those pitches actually get turned into stories.
So if journalists are not reading your emails, where do journalists go to find news? They hit the world wide web, just like the rest of us. Given that most journalists are no longer using their inbox as a source, it’s important communications teams redirect their focus on a tool that will help them get their news picked up: an online newsroom.
An online newsroom is a place where your company news lives. It’s where journalists head to discover who you are and what you do. By making your information easy to find, journalists will have everything they need to write your story. Being helpful and empathetic with a journalist’s journey just might make the difference between getting coverage and not. But there are more reasons why your team should invest in an online newsroom.
Online newsrooms can vary for different brands, industries, and budgets. Most of them are composed of key elements like a media kit, a section for press coverage, and contact details. In this article, we gathered 11 examples of powerful online newsrooms and why they work so well.
Doctors without Borders
Artsen Zonder Grenzen (Doctors Without Borders) is one of the most well-known NGOs in the world — recognized internationally for its projects in conflict zones and countries affected by endemic diseases. This organization uses its newsroom to share news about COVID-19, Ebola, their work in the Congo, among others. Their news is nicely segmented, so each journalist can quickly find what they’re looking for. Each topic contains a list of current and past press releases that offer a journalist more context when it comes to writing your story.
Ultimately, you want to make sure everything a journalist might need is just a click away. Artsen Zonder Grenzen’s clean layout and categorization provide journalists easy access to whatever information they might be looking for.
Lynk & Co
One of the most crucial elements in an online newsroom are organized and beautiful media kits. This component of a newsroom is a folder made up of downloadable assets such as photos, videos, data visualizations, among other resources that will complement a story.
Lynk & Co, a Swedish-based global mobility company, proves that in order to be memorable a brand needs to include strong visuals alongside its story. Journalists and users that visit Lynk & Co’s online newsroom will find powerful, high-resolution images and videos in neatly organized media kits. They are free to download the entire folder or pick and choose the image they like best. Facilitating any resources that might enrich a journalist’s story not only allows you to enhance your relationship with the media but also allows you to control what image of you is put out there. A great opportunity, because control over a story is rare in media relations!
Your newsroom is the extension of your brand. Regardless of whether it’s a dedicated section on your own website or it’s hosted on another page, an online newsroom is a place to show your true colors. Not using branding in your PR strategy (by sending out plain PDF releases) is a big miss. Also, consider that your newsroom might be the first point of contact for a journalist and your brand. Make it a memorable experience for them by connecting your story and identity through strong visuals.
When it comes to branding, no one does it better than WeTransfer. Their newsroom is sleek and organized, which visually represents the company’s mission to create intuitive tools that allow ideas to expand. For branding inspiration, we often tend to look at WeTransfer— here is their beautifully branded newsroom:
You can’t safely assume all journalists know who you are. Therefore, every newsroom needs an about section. This section of your newsroom allows you to share your mission, vision, the story of how you got started, and what you believe in. For journalists, this is where they seek greater context on who you are and can offer a quick description of the value you bring to your industry.
Take Shimano as an example. The Japanese manufacturer of cycling accessories uses their About section to tell their company’s story. Through storytelling, they describe how their passion for technology ignited with their desire to bring people closer to nature and inspired the creation of outstanding cycling accessories and attire.
Remember the days when being in a room full of strangers was normal? Seems like a tall tale from ages ago. Although we have managed to fully shift to the digital realm, there are very few things that compare to attending an in-person event. So what comes close? It seems like Dusk Network figured it out - and used their online newsroom to do so.
Dusk Network is a Dutch open-source blockchain for financial applications. They used their online newsroom to host their very own DuskCon, an online conference with the participation of expert speakers and panelists in the blockchain industry who spoke on the future of finance. The online event, which was hosted and streamed in their newsroom, brought users together under a common theme and allowed them to actively participate through a live chatbox and constant updates and highlights.
“Conferences like DuskCon keep you engaged with all parties interested, especially our loyal community, in what you are creating. It is a team effort, a great opportunity for acquaintances and you have to connect all the dots in such a way, everybody sees where you are coming from and where you are going.”
Emanuele Francioni of Dusk Network
Speaking of accommodating useful information in your own newsroom, Twotone Amsterdam knows how to make the most of its online media center. This Amsterdam-based PR agency, which is mainly focused on the cycling industry, shares all of their client’s news in one place. Twotone’s newsroom is centered around a journalist’s experience in the sense that if journalists are searching for one of their client’s news, they might discover other clients and their stories too— thanks to a couple of clicks and smart design.
This newsroom dedicates one specific space for each brand to showcase their latest news, media kits, and spokesperson contact details. A journalist looking for information is likely to find everything they need - and then some.
“The biggest mistake some PR professionals make is that they don't really think about journalists' perspective. You don’t want to waste time in email chains with journalists asking things like “Can I have images? I can't open the release, can you resend it?” It looks bad."
Jon Woodroof, founder of Twotone Amsterdam
Check out their selection of impressive clients and how their news are showcased in an online newsroom:
When brands begin to expand beyond borders, there must be enough space in a newsroom to accompany that growth. Take Harman, for example. They are the company behind JBL and Harman Kadon, which you probably recognize on your laptop, headphones, even car audio system. Today, this organization has more than 30.000 employees across the Americas, Asia, and Europe. This international sound engineering company and manufacturer optimized their newsroom to localize their PR.
Harman has 10 branded newsrooms for different European countries. The branding is consistent, but the news is tailored to each country they are present in. Not only does the language differ between newsrooms, the news and spokesperson contact details also change. And that’s crucial so that local journalists immediately get to the right news and spokesperson.
No matter the size of your company, one of the most important elements in your newsroom are the spokesperson's contact details. It may seem like a no-brainer but you’d be surprised at how many big brands leave their spokesperson contact details out of their newsrooms. This mistake can cost your brand serious coverage. Swapfiets, the world’s first ‘bicycle as a service’ company, divides their press contacts by country or region so that if journalists do reach out, they find the right person to contact.
An essential element in managing media relations is establishing credibility. One way to do so is by delivering consistency every chance you get. You can achieve this by showing journalists what has been written about you in other media outlets.
Ticketmaster, an international ticket selling platform, dedicates a section of their newsroom for clippings and previous coverage. This gives a journalist greater context when it comes to writing your story. It can also give them insight into what has been already written about you and maybe even spark ideas on new angles. Did you know many journalists use clippings to find relevant quotes for their own stories?
Another benefit of having an online newsroom is that it provides an opportunity to enhance your inbound PR strategy. Instead of pushing out messages to journalists, you pull them in through quality content and easy access to your information. EVBox, an Amsterdam-based electric mobility company, uses a special feature in their newsroom to do just that. They allow journalists and bloggers alike to subscribe to their newsroom (through email and RSS) and be the first to receive their brand’s updates. This way, the media can opt-in to automatically receive the news they like at the frequency they prefer. For EVBox, this is an opportunity to cultivate relationships with media contacts that are already engaging with their content.
VanMoof, a Dutch cycling brand, exemplifies how easy it is to make friends with the media by making their job a whole lot easier. Their newsroom includes a powerful search functionality, which lets journalists easily find the content they’re looking for instead of having to dig through their inbox. See it for yourself below:
So, about your newsroom...
As a former department of a news website, we know what blocks media coverage; because we were the media. At pr.co, we create beautiful newsrooms that remove every single blocker a journalist might encounter. As a bonus, we’ve been told they look pretty fly.
If you’re curious to learn more about this PR solution, our team would love to walk you through one and show you how we can help. Drop us a message here.