Last updated: February 2019
While your team might be successful in building an online newsroom in-house, it isn’t the right choice for everyone. When deciding to build or buy, a good understanding of the process will help you make the right choice for your company.
Unsure whether you should build or buy? Here are 9 important factors to consider when weighing up the decision:
Usability, especially for non-technical teams, can be the difference between communications as an afterthought, and a brand-altering strategy. Your team will need the training to get the hang of the platform, and immediate support when something goes wrong. Intuitively designed software will shave days off your workload.
Your ability to effectively collaborate across teams, borders, and projects depends upon your workflow management system. Features like revision history, role delegation, advanced permissions and approvals will bring clarity and control to your PR work.
As your team grows, more voices enter the fray: external agencies, marketers, analysts, teams abroad. More voices require more elaborate tooling. Your ability to invite external parties- without giving them full access to all contacts and content- will make your work more consistent and straightforward.
Supporting multiple languages across teams and borders will help the right people take ownership of your projects, halve the time it takes to produce work, and strengthen your brand voice.
Content gets you to a site, but good design keeps you there. Intuitive design makes news more readable, sparks curiosity, and connects a brand with the stories it tells. If your newsroom is easy to use, journalists will pick up your story.
On top of this, a well-designed and organized newsroom reduces the amount of 'standard' press requests (asking for basic details like contact or product info), saving both you and your media contacts hours of back and forth. If the press can easily find all news and media assets online, they are going to come back.
Your newsroom needs to be ridiculously easy for journalists to find, even if the website is down. In times of crises, your newsroom is where you control the narrative.
When you build your newsroom in-house, it typically comes with a relatively small upfront investment. Over time, however, you will need additional features and customisations. The more time that your developers spend maintaining internal tooling, the less time they will spend on developing customer-facing features. An often overlooked problem is that the costs incurred do not stop after the build.
Your websites, tools, and the technology behind them evolve over time, so you’ll need to make them future-proof to stay effective.
Besides keeping up to date with innovation, ongoing maintenance of both the newsroom, as well as the software that supports it, is key to its success. Bugs happen, and sometimes your team needs new functionalities. You will need ongoing maintenance to keep the engine running.
When you build your websites and platforms in-house, your team may find it difficult to prioritize the work necessary to keep the tool up and running. Engineers may be working on other, customer-facing projects when you need their help. Maintenance burdens can distract engineers from their core focus.
In many smaller teams, the person who builds the tool holds most of the knowledge about how it works. They are the ones who will help you troubleshoot. But what if that person leaves? Your online newsroom will need to be decipherable by whoever is working with it, whether now or in the future.
Your power to produce winning PR is determined by your ability to track results. With the right measurement tools, you can learn from what works (and what doesn’t) and make your messaging more effective. Moreover, integrations with your existing analytics and easy report generation will help you to record your ROI.
Your online newsroom needs to be SEO- friendly. Your rankings in SERPs will depend heavily on features such as load time, bounce rate, UX design, and social media sharing. All of these things should be taken into account so your news can be easily found and you can get more coverage.
Legal compliance and GDPR are at the forefront of many conversations now and with good reason; failing to comply can lead to (very) high fines. The way you set up your contact management and email distribution is therefore very important when setting up your newsroom software. Other technical features like cookies, database encryption, email confirmation, and secure password handling will ensure your website security and save you stress.
My goal is to get as much free media exposure as possible. I make sure information is clear, consistent and sent in good time. I need to be reliable. This is where pr.co really helps.Ben Hillsdon, PR Officer
Last updated: February 2019
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