8 reasons a contemporary digital newsroom improves your coverage

By upgrading your newsroom and supporting a brand journalism effort, you can improve your own messaging—and even interest more news outlets.

The benefits of a mobile newsroom

When Amazon Go opened a futuristic grocery store, the technology was interesting enough for The New York Times to write it up.

Customers bag their groceries without ever lining up to pay for them, and Amazon digitally charges them.

“There are no cashiers or registers anywhere,” the Times reported. “Shoppers leave the store … without pausing to pull out a credit card. Their Amazon account automatically gets charged for what they take out the door.”

There was just one problem, from the perspective of computing giant Cisco: The story never mentions that Cisco helped provide the network infrastructure to help make the store a reality. So Cisco used its brand journalism newsroom to feature its technological contribution to the futuristic marketplace.

With the new year approaching, it’s a good time to assess your online newsroom. Is it still just a mishmash of press releases and rah-rah corporate jargon?

That might please control-freak executives, but, ironically, it can cost you coverage. Treating your newsroom as a journalism-style publishing platform gives you greater control of your narrative.

Here’s why:

1. You can tell your preferred story through brand journalism.

Executives and managers in retail stores know how hard their associates work during the post-Thanksgiving Black Friday shopping frenzy. Reporters, however, may be more inclined to cover consumer angles.

So a communications writer went behind the scenes at a Walmart Supercenter in Secaucus, New Jersey, to cover the story. The writer captured glimpses—in both words and pictures—of what outsiders might not give much thought to: the logistical effort involved in the transition from stocking Thanksgiving foods to preparing for a rush of electronics shoppers.

2. Curating news increases your credibility.

It clearly carries more weight to have others praise you than to beat your own drum. Thus, the Curaçao Tourist Board surely was delighted when The New York Times featured the island—part of the Lesser Antilles, near Venezuela—as a tourist destination. The board linked to and published the first three paragraphs of the Times story.

Similarly, the board also highlighted a story in Forbes on top diving destinations which mentioned Curaçao, again linking to the rest of the story.

“Even those of you out there that just aren’t that into scuba diving (mountain people, gasp!), even you can’t deny just how beautiful this tiny Caribbean island’s water is,” the writer gushed.

Similarly, the Cary, North Carolina, business analytics company SAS linked from its newsroom to a story written by one of its internal experts for Information Week, spreading his message and establishing his leadership in the industry.

Your newsroom can become a go-to destination for information on your industry or subject matter. Reporters will love you for it; after all, you’re sending readers their way. You, in turn, will have a channel for disseminating news on the topics that matter to your organization.

3. Cover your own organization, and journalists are more likely to cover you.

Perhaps you’ve had the experience of pitching a great story, only to have a reporter not quite get it and impatiently dismiss you. Even when reporters are interested, they often don’t have time to cover an issue, given the shrinking resources of newsrooms.

By contrast, when you publish your information on your website, it’s often easier to show reporters that your topic is worth covering.

Intel recently published a story explaining how its drone technology helped inspectors check out the safety of one bridge in Minnesota and another connecting Ohio and Kentucky. Engineering.com, Minnesota Daily and others followed up with a story.

“Both bridges carry heavy traffic, making them inconvenient to shut down and therefore prime candidates for a drone-based aerial inspection,” Engineering.com reported.

Fast Company reported exactly the angle that Intel seemed to be looking for, headlining the story, “Inspecting bridges is hard and dangerous. Send in the drones.”

The piece even mentioned Intel in the secondary headline: “A new project from Intel used drones to map every inch of a bridge–without having to shut down traffic or send workers rappelling off the sides.”

4. You’ll increase your readership.

Organizations that upgrade their newsrooms from an old-fashioned collection of press releases to a modern, brand-journalism-oriented site report a jump in readership.

OhioHealth, for example, increased its newsroom visitors by nearly 900 percent, from 11,588 to 114,697 visits, after it launched a digital newsroom. Reader visits quadrupled on the news site of Shepherd Center, an Atlanta hospital specializing in brain and spinal cord injuries. Visits from there to the rest of the website have also gone up. Also, the center’s Facebook page has grown by 16 percent, with a 52 percent increase in reach.

5. Blogs and websites will run your copy.

The University of Manchester recently reported in its newsroom that the Saint Bernard dog was bred in that English Midlands city during Victorian times and “bears very little resemblance to the rescue dogs of the Swiss monks who lived on the St Bernard Pass, from which they are said to be descended.”

The story ran unchanged in the Italian website Agenparl, making use of research by the university. “The leading champion of the new St Bernard, defining its physical form after introducing them to Britain, was John Cumming Macdona, the colourful vicar of Mossley and then Cheadle, both now in Greater Manchester,” the university reported.

As for the Intel reporting on the bridge inspections, the Northern Kentucky Tribune simply published the company’s story and video.

6. Journalists can find video, photographs and executive bios.

Tired of running around on deadline when a news outlet requests a photo of that major project of yours, or of your chief marketing officer? Are you tearing your hair out about that careless reporter who keeps drawing on inaccurate biographical information from Wikipedia?

A contemporary digital newsroom can ensure that the press has all the necessary information about your CEO, or senior vice president of operations or other senior leaders. Cisco, for example, offers bios and downloadable, high-quality headshots of its senior leaders in its newsroom, allowing reporters to grab the information or images they need on the run.

7. Get the right facts about your organization in the hands of customers and reporters.

Reporters in a rush often rely on old stories in their publication—or on other external descriptions of your organization. This means a proliferation of errors, or just descriptions that don’t quite capture what you’re about.

A newsroom allows you to surface your own information at the top of searches. For example, stories, the Danish company Veleux’s own facts and figures pages comes at the top of Google searches, giving reporters access to a summary stating that it is headquartered north of Copenhagen, has 17 manufacturing companies in nine countries, and employs 10,200 people.

8. You get out the news when it’s relevant.

If communications has control of its posts and updates, you can get out a quick statement or publish photos from an event while the news is still hot. No more waiting for IT to update your site. In today’s rapid-fire news environment, that’s crucial.

Building a great newsroom for your brand stories shouldn’t be complicated. PressPage is an online newsroom software that makes building and running your newsroom a quick and painless process, so you can focus on telling the stories that matter to you. See how PressPage empowers public relations professionals to do their best work every day.

COMMENT

Ragan.com Daily Headlines

Sign up to receive the latest articles from Ragan.com directly in your inbox.