Buyers guide
  • Intuitive and user-friendly Content Management System (CMS): your team should be able to create a vibrant, interactive space where journalists, investors, potential employees, and members of the public can be introduced to all the most exciting and interesting things your company is working on. A CMS ensures that content is published quickly and easily. The newsroom should also support an array of content formats; newsletters; podcasts; video; infographics and more.
  • Integration and branding: Most large organizations have strict brand guidelines, so you might want to pay special attention to this one. Consistency is crucial and the newsroom should flow seamlessly from the rest of the site and should be visually indistinguishable. A newsroom should look, feel and operate like the rest of the site. This includes everything from navigation to logos, button styles, type sizes, page frame, and all other graphic elements.
  • Adaptability: Producing content for journalists is very different from creating content for customers, end-users, or investors. If you’ve got multiple audiences, make sure that your newsroom adapts to the way they get their information. Navigation should easily allow visitors to access the content most relevant to them.
  • Interactive options: Direct feedback from stakeholders can be extremely useful, so look out for software that offer forms, polls, subscription boxes, and comment sections. Creating a two-way stream of information keeps visitors engaged and can help you stay in touch with them in many different ways.
  • Good UX: UX or User Experience is all about making sure that whatever you’re creating meets the user’s needs with no fuss. In a newsroom, this might also mean a proper categorization or labeling system so that content that fits into a particular topic can easily be found; the chance to create media libraries where people can find images and videos easily; press kits that give a part of your audience everything they need to know about your company; and a well-placed search box.
  • SEO: There are quite a few considerations for Search Engine Optimization (SEO), which informs where your company’s website ranks in Google. An optimized newsroom can help your whole site rank more highly against competitors, and ensure your site is easily found. Your press releases in particular contribute to how easy your content is to find in search results so when looking for a vendor, it’s important to look at the technical side of SEO and how it’s set up in a newsroom platform.
    • Sitemaps: site maps are an overview of the pages on your site. They are particularly helpful with larger sites with lots of content. In a nutshell – make sure the tool you choose automatically generates a sitemap and can update it regularly.
    • Meta information: Adding and editing meta titles or descriptions and defining the URL that best describes your content helps your site gain authority in the “eyes” of search engines. In a lot of content management systems, it’s possible to do this when editing content.
  • Social media: One of the major changes in PR over the last number of years is the move towards channels businesses can control directly. A strong social media presence can hugely amplify the reach of your stories. Easy social sharing and distribution is a must for any newsroom, as are embedded social feeds in some cases.
  • Language support: Many global companies release their biggest news in multiple languages to reach audiences in different parts of the world. Choose PR software that makes it easy to upload content in several languages and allows users to navigate easily to the language of their choice.
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Content creation
  • Email distribution: Good email distribution tools are key to a successful PR software. Most tools will let you create different types of emails, from press releases to newsletters, and design them elegantly. Your emails should be on-brand, so look for something that allows you to work on a template. Text-only campaigns also tend to be less engaging than campaigns that include images, releases, or videos – make sure to choose a tool that lets you embed several content formats. It’s also essential that you abide by international laws on privacy and data protection, and the right software will facilitate that.
  • Contact management: One of the most common things we see is that many people keep their contacts in a spreadsheet. This can result in high bounce rates, lists quickly become outdated as journalists move from one organization to another. A good CRM makes contact management easier by simplifying the upkeep of your lists. This saves an enormous amount of time a PR team might otherwise spend tracking down these contacts and then keeping them up to date on a separate spreadsheet. Make sure that the tool you choose lets you create several lists and segment them based on criteria like sector, location, type of publication so that you can easily reach journalists in your target demographic.
  • Media lists: Unlike newswires, tailored and up-to-date media lists created through your PR software allow you to build a relationship with journalists covering your beat. They allow you to send finance updates to business journalists, product launch press releases to consumer journalists, and your latest recruitment drive to journalists covering local jobs. You'll want to look for a tool that allows you to easily run searches for journalists that are writing about you or your industry. Here's an example of how PR teams can search for over 900,000 media contacts by language, location, keyword, topic, and publication in PressPage.
  • Analytics: Any credible tool should also allow you to monitor the performance of your emails, to check if a particular journalist opens your emails and how they engage with them. This information can inform follow-up calls or emails, allowing you to zero in on those who have shown an interest. Analytics play a fundamental role in justifying PR budgets and demonstrating the success of campaigns. Baseline metrics show senior management how much time people spend looking at the company’s emails and newsroom, giving them a dto measure email campaign performance are open and click rate, but it’s also interesting to look at bounces, unsubscribes and if you have more than one hyperlink or call to action, the % of clicks per hyperlink might also be interesting.
  • Visitors
  • New vs returning visitors
  • Most popular/viewed content
  • Keywords
  • Referral websites
  • Downloaded, viewed images
  • Downloaded documents
  • Editorial coverage stats
  • Quality support: When your team is adapting to a new tool, it’s normal to have questions or run into teething problems. You should be able to ask for help and receive swift and accurate answers to your questions so your team can do their jobs with as few hiccups as possible.
  • Onboarding and training: Using a new tool or platform can be overwhelming at first, so invest in a tool that offers comprehensive onboarding and training - this is a good way to make sure you get the most out of it.
  • User accounts and permission levels: For bigger organizations with large PR teams, it’s good practice to have a hierarchy of user accounts and permission levels. Certain features might be made available only to managers and above, to ensure the content has gone through the proper approval channels before release.
  • Secure login: Cyber security is an absolutely crucial consideration as hackers are constantly looking for vulnerabilities in large companies through which they can pose a threat. Look for features that ensure that your account will stay safe no matter where you work from – single sign-on and multi-factor authentication are considered standard.
  • SSL certificate: These digital security certificates let users know they’re not on a bogus site. They ensure encrypted connections between the browser or user’s device and the server or website they’re connecting to.
  • Accessibility and compliance: Many organizations are required to have an accessible website by law (including their newsroom) and the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines are the best place to see which requirements this entails and determine whether your provider will be able to fulfill them. The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) ensures that code is built according to a set of quality standards, and they are also concerned with accessibility.
  • Browser compatibility: Most people have preferred browsers, so it’s important to check that your tool will work just as well in Chrome and Mozilla Firefox as it would on Safari, Opera or even Microsoft Edge.
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