When people seek official news about your company or organization, a media or investor relations room is often an important stop.
Your company website is probably static—its content doesn’t update or change often, except your blog. A microsite dedicated to press releases, financial information, and other details about your company is important to keep audiences up-to-date about your brand.
Chris Antoline, director of customer engagement at PR Newswire and a subject matter expert on media rooms, believes companies should make automation their top goal when they choose a media- or investor-room vendor.
“At the very least, companies should allow their online newsrooms to work on their behalf by automating the posting of their releases from the wire and sending automated, timely email notifications to key audiences,” Antoline says. “Automation is the cornerstone of a well-kept communications website.”
Automation ensures your press releases simultaneously hit all disclosure points needed for compliance. It not only saves time, but also eliminates human error for seamless distribution. (For more on IR-room automation, read Bradley H. Smith on PR Newswire’s Building Shareholder Compliance blog.)
What else does a media room need? Here are eight essentials:
1. Matched branding: Even if you outsource your room, it should look like it is YOURS-not like it’s owned by your vendor. Choose a customizable design that lets you control its look and feel to match your brand’s main website. Design-matching is great for user experience.
2. Responsive design: All content on the Web should be optimized for all platforms. If your website design isn’t responsive, your room won’t be-nor should it be, as that would create an inconsistent user experience. All is not lost! Ask your vendor if your content is optimized for mobile, even if you don’t have a responsive design. (Don’t know if your site is responsive? Test its mobile friendliness.)
3. Multimedia, multimedia, multimedia: No story is complete without compelling visuals, so use multimedia content every chance you get-from the room’s homepage banner image and digital press kits to multimedia galleries with high-resolution downloads and streaming videos.
4. Social media integration: Add social bookmarking and sharing tools to your room. They will help users share your content on popular networks, increasing your message’s visibility and reach. Include social media aggregators to your room to display content from your own social media accounts. IR rooms also benefit from StockTwits or SlideShare integration. Pull your activity from these two into your IR room to give visitors a complete view of your company.
5. Reporting and analytics: Prove ROI with site statistics such as page views, unique visits, geographic location of your audience, and the devices visitors use. Incorporate IP tracking to guide investors toward a position. IP tracking data can identify institutions, banks, funds and major media, making it easy to schedule follow-up meetings, validate communication reach and further publicize investor-relations messages.
6. Crisis management: Real-time updates of your media room let you stay on top of a crisis, keeping you on message. Some rooms come equipped with a crisis feature enabled when needed. When the crisis ends, deactivate the feature.
7. Password protection for sensitive and embargoed content: Want to make certain information available to select users? A password-protected part of the newsroom allows you to control who sees non-public or embargoed content. Members of the media can see your content as they plan their stories about your brand.
8. Interactive financial displays: If your company is publicly traded, you should showcase financial information for easy access and analysis by all audiences. Build a share-price display that includes your stock quote, an interactive chart, or an investment calculator. These will make your room valuable to anyone researching your company.
A media or IR room can do many things for your company, and these features will make yours successful.