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The main mistakes of brand newsrooms and how to avoid them

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At its very core, brand newsrooms are a communications channel where organizations can talk to a wide variety of stakeholders, from journalists and editors to investors, regulators, and even candidates considering joining the organization. They have all the potential to drive brand affinity by delivering relevant, timely and engaging stories related to an organization. 

Yet, many newsrooms haven’t tapped into it – press releases uploaded as PDFs, infrequent updates or static content are some of the holdbacks for PR teams when it comes to their newsrooms. Most often than not, PR professionals have limited time and perhaps too many priorities; it’s crucial that the newsroom works in an agile way, fits your brand, and works simply and effectively for the team. 

Here are a few of the challenges we’ve noticed PR professionals have to deal with:

Messy publication processes

Many PR teams operate something like this: a list of media contacts is kept in an old Excel file, press releases are written in Word, there’s a folder somewhere on the server with the company’s logos and brand images, and impact is measured through Google Analytics. Different tools are used to post to the website and to communicate by email, and the two systems don’t talk to each other.

In short, it’s a mess. 

It’s inefficient, time-consuming and frustrating for all involved – and it increases the possibility that mistakes will be made somewhere along the way. A multitude of tools is required for what could be a simple, straightforward process.

*Enter PR software*

Having a dedicated PR tool that integrates into your website hands control back to PR Managers. With complete autonomy over your newsroom, you’re able to respond quickly to breaking news at the company, which could prove crucial during major announcements or times of crisis.

Leaving SEO to Marketing

Traditionally, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) falls under the role of marketers, but as more and more people turn to “googling” to find products and information, a holistic approach to SEO is more crucial than ever. 

In some cases, the two departments might work in silos; in others, PR professionals may be too focused on building and keeping relationships with journalists and other stakeholders to think about different (but also valuable) audiences that get to their content through browser searches. Basic SEO knowledge can get you a long way in the optimization of content and design elements of your newsroom or corporate blog, helping secure earned media. 

When looking into getting started with SEO for PR, consider the following: 

Develop a list of keywords for each content piece. It’s common practice to use them in the title and a few times across the piece. 

Think about where people read the content, is your newsroom optimized for mobile, tablet, and desktop users alike? 

Social media plugins help people who like your content to share it with their networks and improve your page’s presence. 

Get comfortable with rich content. Blockquotes, good quality photos, videos, and infographics will be essential to get a higher search ranking.

Looking for an in-depth guide to getting started with SEO? Download our free ebook on the role of SEO in PR.

Old content and poor user experience

We’ve all been frustrated by outdated content, broken hyperlinks, impossible navigation, and text-heavy websites. Make it easy for people visiting your newsroom to find the information they need (this means no 404s, working links, clear navigation and easy to digest content). Keeping the user experience smooth will help to keep them engaged with your content. 

If you go through a brand refresh, for example, you may need to change the logos on your releases, update the imagery to reflect new guidelines or update links to a new format so that they still work. Likewise, imagine your PR Manager is going on maternity leave for a year. Every press release you’ve issued for the last three years has her name, email and phone number attached. Anyone who contacts her during that period will get an auto-reply to their email – not the best first impression for journalists trying to contact your company.

Read: How to successfully manage a global newsroom

In short...

A central spot with features specifically designed for PR teams is bound to be a welcome change for overworked PR teams who desperately need a simple workflow to get their carefully-honed messages out into the world. By allowing you to create, implement and monitor your campaigns in one platform, you can save time and energy and focus it all on winning earned media. Centralizing your PR workflow in one platform means that PR departments can focus on what they do best: improving your organization’s reputation and brand.

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