They say good news travels fast and bad news travels faster. Today it can travel almost instantaneously, and if a crisis occurs involving your company, you can expect the media to come calling (or with the current popularity of Twitter, tweeting). What this means is: prompt response during a crisis and to the resulting attention it brings is more critical than ever.
When a crisis breaks and information is scarce, the Internet becomes a primary source for a reporter looking for facts. A quick Web search will reveal past stories and issues about an organization. It will also lead to the company’s Web site where reporters look for factual information about the company’s key executives, FAQs, products and services. They’ll also look for an online newsroom. They’re on a deadline, so make it easy to find and navigate.
Another important tool for the online newsroom is a crisis microsite designed to be activated at a moments notice. A crisis microsite is developed in advance of an occurrence, using much of the same information that is in your online newsroom. Other information could include a media hotline number, company media contacts, the vetted press release and prepared statements. The microsite allows the flexibility to post specific information in the event of an incident, maintaining the integrity of the primary website and positioning the facts in a streamlined format.
So, how do you streamline access to your online press room and what information should you provide reporters in your offering? Here’s our top ten tips:
Tip # 1
An online newsroom should be easy to find, so give it a prominent position on your landing page reached by just one click. The same applies for company media contacts. One click should allow reporters access to names, numbers and e-mail addresses.
Tip # 2
Prepare a crisis microsite in advance of an occurrence to direct media to event specific information, and test it with your crisis team. When a crisis hits, you will not have the time to develop communication tools.
Tip # 3
Optimize your company’s presence on the web by building key words into your news page architecture; use terms to attract search engines like “media” or “press” in conjunction with your company’s and CEO’s name.
Tip # 4
Leverage online tools like RSS feed options to keep reporters updated on company news or crisis updates as they occur.
Tip # 5
Make your online newsroom interesting. Use video to tell or enhance your story.
Tip # 6
Multi-media offerings are necessary in today’s news environment. Provide photos in a variety of formats and sizes and include b-roll (stock video of facilities and executives).
Tip # 7
Likewise, providing graphics and charts (in a variety of formats) are key to illustrating important stories and also helpful for reporters under deadline.
Tip # 8
Reach out in advance to media in your industry before they need the information. Let them know about your newly-designed newsroom.
Tip # 9
If you want to reach outside your industry to mainstream business reporters, try Reporting On; Help a Reporter Out (HARO) or PitchEngine.
Tip # 10
Remember other than for the convenience of the media, the number one reason you have an online newsroom is to provide a way to keep company information current and front and center of key stakeholders. Optimize to your advantage!