Creating meaningful change in healthcare is difficult. It is an industry which moves slowly and cautiously. Similarly, creating positive change in the public relations infrastructure within health systems and hospitals can be just as challenging. In this article, we outline steps your team can take to build a successful healthcare PR newsroom.
When it comes to Healthcare public relations, storytelling is key. News in healthcare– a major development in a vaccine, for example– is difficult to communicate to the general public. PR practitioners face pressure to abide by regulatory practices, forcing them to use highly technical medical language in press releases, often at the expense of broader comprehension.
It does not help that healthcare is one of the most politicized and polarizing topics in our society. PR pros must think about the social, religious and political ramifications of their content; ensuring they promote truth and integrity, while aligning with the values of their organization and their diverse audiences. .
As a result, the work of healthcare communicators is bound by red tape. Their audience becomes incredibly narrow–journalists or members of the public that can understand the jargon and see its impact on everyday life. Ultimately the return on such efforts is hard to justify.
Yet there are viable solutions to these problems that healthcare communicators would be well advised to consider.
Healthcare is a field where a single question can have a thousand different answers. People first seek answers to health concerns through a simple Google Search such as “Why does my chest hurt?” Yet the information isn’t always backed by the scientific rigour we’ve come to expect in healthcare. In the age of social media and blogging, where anyone and everyone can pose as an expert, and misinformation is rife, casual Googling of health issues can lead to frustrating and often dangerous consequences. The popular healthcare website WebMD for example, has become a meme for providing poor healthcare advice.
There is an opportunity for Healthcare communicators to fill this vacuum by leveraging internal expertise to provide reasoned, practical healthcare advice for individuals looking for it.
Cook Children’s Hospital successfully does this through their ‘Checkup Newsroom.’ By providing advice on topics such as ‘Let's Learn About ... Heart Murmurs,’ Cook Children’s PR team is able to successfully combat misinformation in healthcare, while positioning themselves as experts in adolescent medicine.
Another effective way of public communication is by tying this form of content to stories in the news cycle. When the Zika Virus broke out in 2016, OhioHealth published a backgrounder on ‘The Zika Virus: What central Ohioans need to know’. The article provides a great resource specifically for members of the public (in Ohio) looking to understand what Zika is and its impacts.
Perhaps the most effective form of content that PR professionals can use to supplement their press releases is storytelling.
A sign of our times is that important information is often diluted within a sea of non-stories dressed up as breaking news. People tend to view overly optimistic articles that claim some major breakthrough in cancer research as 'too good to be true.' So when a real breakthrough in medicine is achieved, let’s say a new revolutionary vaccine, people are often skeptical.
By humanizing stories and revealing the real-life impact of treatments on ordinary people, healthcare PR professionals can effectively show the impact of their organization’s work.
Shepherd Center is an Atlanta based hospital that uses storytelling to communicate the treatments of patients rehabilitating from spinal cord and brain trauma.
Their story 'Families From Across the Nation Travel to Shepherd Center for Specialized Care' is a prime example of how storytelling can become a powerful way to talk about your brand without coming across as inauthentic or salesy. By focusing on the experiences of the people they work with, Shepherd effectively signals their brand mission and values, while centering themselves as the foremost experts on spinal and brain trauma.
The biggest asset a healthcare organization has is its employees. One way PR professionals can build a newsroom that resonates in the healthcare community is by tapping into the goldmine that exists within their organization.
There are two key reasons this mindset can benefit your newsroom and your organization:
1. As stated above, seeking the expertise of physicians is a great way of providing further reach for their knowledge. While a conference may provide them with an audience of a thousand, a well-written piece by a physician can be read tens or hundreds of thousands of times.
This reach isn’t merely academic– it can have real-life impacts too. In 2015, Dr. Paul Thornton at Cook Children’s Hospital was interviewed for an article on their newsroom about a new set of guidelines his team had created for screening uncontrolled hypoglycemia, a rare and severe disorder in children.
In 2016, CheckUp newsroom wrote an article about a family, who having discovered Dr. Thornton’s article on Checkup Newsroom via Google Search, sought out the doctor and traveled across the country to save their child’s life.`
2. Some of the best content on healthcare newsrooms is often about employees – not just physicians, but nurses, other medical and administrative staff. Two great examples are this Checkup Newsroom story about a nurse that volunteered during Hurricane Harvey relief efforts or this OhioHealth story of a nurse who adopted a dog from recovering patients.
This type of content is an excellent tool to communicate your organizational values, including things like care, compassion, and a commitment to go above and beyond for your community.
More importantly, stories about your employees are a great way to promote interorganizational pride. As the OhioHealth team explains, by sharing these stories they are able to promote their culture both internally and externally. Employees feel a sense of pride working for OhioHealth and are excited to share stories about themselves or their colleagues on social media, giving it a kind of viral effect.
Another tip for building a robust healthcare newsroom to figure out how you will keep the content on your newsroom fresh.
Publishing a diverse range of content on a regular basis, including press releases, internal news, blog posts, featured stories, and healthcare industry news, is vital. As your healthcare newsroom grows, aim to publish 1-2 pieces of content per week at a minimum to keep your newsroom fresh and your audiences engaged.
Ensuring that the content is timely and newsworthy is also something to consider. Quite often, healthcare communicators become so hyper-focused on what’s happening within their own organization, they aren’t able to successfully leverage opportunities based on what their audiences are actually talking about.
Populating a newsroom with a mixture of stories about your brand as well as commentary on current affairs in healthcare is an excellent strategy.
Organizations that do this well often start by forming a 'content council'. Content councils are designed to break organizational silos and bring together various communications teams including PR, Marketing, Social, Video and brand etc. Discussing what each team is building for content, discussing what is in the news that particular week, and how content and resources can be shared and allocated is enables you to keep your content calendar full and fresh. Content councils also allow teams to discuss current events and consider how older stories could be repurposed for the current news cycle.
The previous example of OhioHealth’s Zika story is a good example of this. Understanding that their audience was looking to them for relevant expertise on the Zika Virus, OhioHealth maintained a featured release with the Zika story at the top of their newsroom for weeks. When the issue around Zika re-emerged months later, OhioHealth was ready to revive the article on their homepage.
There are many ways of keeping on top of healthcare news. Social media sites like Twitter are excellent, particularly if you search out lists of Twitter influencers in the healthcare space. Healthcare news aggregator sites, as well as healthcare blogs, are an excellent source of current news (Feedspot has an excellent list of healthcare blogs to follow).
For all organizations, rebranding can be a daunting experience. Poorly executed rebrands have the potential to alienate loyal customers and members – just look at the stir caused by IHOP’s (fake, as it turns out) name change to IHOB.
But Sourcewell’s decision was backed by years of research that demonstrated they had outgrown their old name, and a new name would be required to usher in a new chapter for the organization. This would be tricky for the PR team – the name NJPA had built up a certain level of social and institutional credit over the years.
But Chelsea Ornelas, Public Relations Specialist at Sourcewell, explains that it was a vital undertaking in order to “stand out in a sea sameness” that plagued their field.
The rebrand has allowed the Sourcewell PR team to adopt a new approach to how they relate to their community.
Under the name NJPA, the Sourcewell team found it difficult to communicate the service-oriented nature of their organization. Their members consist largely of public entities, including education institutions, cities, counties, states, and other government associations. With such a broad purview, relating to members on a personal level was becoming increasingly important.
“I think Sourcewell is more personable, and more relatable. And that’s the tone we have been taking with our social media and our content. Not that we changed our voice a ton, but we are definitely trying to focus on telling the stories and successes of our members, being more personable, speaking in plain language and terms that people understand and can understand what we do and how we can serve them.”
A major part of the organization’s rebrand included redesigning their digital presence, including their online newsroom, which is powered by the PressPage platform.
Once the plans were locked in place, Chelsea says she approached Heather, her Customer Success Manager at PressPage, to discuss options for redesigning their existing NJPA newsroom.
“I spoke to Heather two months before our go live and she said, ‘No worries. Our team can definitely do that.’ And it was technical stuff, so I was able to connect the techies and then back away. From what I understand, it was very smooth.”
“Our new site wasn’t live until June 6, but as we were building it, we were able to share pieces and framing with PressPage, and they matched our new website and made it happen. I think one of the first pieces that was done and ready, that our website team felt good about, was our newsroom.”
Alongside the public facing newsroom, PressPage has enabled the Sourcewell team to adopt a modern, agile PR workflow.
Chelsea describes the laborious publication process she endured when she was first hired.
“It was a pretty clunky process. We were writing our press releases in Word, turning them into PDFs, and uploading them to our site. So not very shareable or engaging. And if I found an error, it was a whole 5-10 minute process of fixing the error in the PDF. It was clunky and cumbersome, and it wasn’t image friendly and obviously had nothing for video.”
With PressPage, the Sourcewell PR team is now able to manage their content directly within the platform. “I just log in, fix the error and it’s all done in real time.”
The original decision to move to PressPage was done after months of careful planning and research. From sales to the onboarding, Chelsea recalls a positive experience moving her newsroom to PressPage in 2017.
“When we started looking for an interactive user-friendly solution, PressPage floated to the top of options for us. My initial contact was great, and the sales rep that I spoke with asked questions and listened to what I had in mind. He showed me example pages of other PressPage clients, and really listened to what we were looking for and got to know our organization and our needs.”
Once signed, the onboarding matched the promise of the early sales process for Sourcewell. “The training was great– it was quick. I think that first initial training was an hour on the platform. It was so intuitive and easy for me to figure out. And in those first few weeks, if I had a question or if it wasn't looking the way I wanted it to, PressPage was very responsive to my emails and phone calls.”
For Sourcewell’s PR team, working with the PressPage solution has certainly improved their PR workflow and overall results.
On the workflow side, the Sourcewell team has become more agile.
“One of the things we did recently was share a video of a town that was in jeopardy of losing its clinic. Through working with us, they were able to save that clinic and save their citizens from having to drive an hour to get healthcare. The video was done, and it was so quick to upload it and put together the story on our newsroom.”
“And that’s just one example. I think we’ve had about a dozen pieces of content that we’ve posted in the last month and it’s just quick and easy.”
The results of the newsroom speak for themselves. As Chelsea highlights:
“We’ve moved our newsroom location to a more prominent place within our website, so we’ve seen a huge increase in traffic. And we’ve seen a big uptick in people finding us through Google.”
Chelsea explains that Sourcewell’s organizational rebrand has re-energized their PR team. “We see the potential, and we get excited about the different avenues it can take us. We already have great feedback from our members, our vendors and partner organizations. We’re re-energized, and we’re excited to see where this takes us.”
For Sourcewell’s team, the newsroom rebrand certainly reflects their new identity. “Cleaner, modern, a simpler look was what we were after and what was achieved. I think everything from the colors to the fonts, spacing… it just turned out beautifully, and it really reflects the change and rebrand that we were going for.”
Most brands that produce and publish content or news incorporate an online newsroom into their website, driving traffic from Internet searches and social media to the external communications hub. There, press releases and articles appear in organized columns by topic and date, making getting to know the brand easy and fast for media contacts and consumers alike. From major technology companies and massive health systems to small liberal arts colleges and even startups, the newsroom is the website’s hub for communication, but it can be so much more.
Brand storytelling has the potential to build awareness, interest, and engagement for organizations of all sizes. It combines content marketing strategy, brand journalism, and public relations efforts to consistently tell the story of the brand through imagery and content across multiple platforms.
In short, a brand story isn’t so much what organizations share with their audiences but rather, it’s what audiences believe because of the information shared by the brand. The brand story incapsulates all of the facts (announcements, articles, and news coverage) as well as perception and sentiment regarding the brand by itself, its customers, its community, and the public.
To begin shaping target audiences’ as well as the general public’s perception of a brand, there are several pieces to the story that must come together in one centralized information hub.
First and foremost, the brand must introduce who it is and what it does. Think of this as a continuation of the “About Us” section of a website. It’s the eight-second elevator pitch employees rattle off at professional networking events. And, it should be consistently incorporated into every company announcement and press release again and again.
Second, the brand should discuss and demonstrate how it solves problems or overcomes challenges for its customers. This can be achieved through published case studies, videos with actual clients, and how-to guides from the brand on its products and services.
Next, the brand needs to showcase the value it provides to its customers. Whether it’s a running shoe company or a hospital, the brand should highlight how it betters the lives of others. Testimonials, ratings and reviews, and videos with actual clients are just a few examples of how brands can convey the value they bring to the table day after day.
Finally, brands must engage and contribute with their audiences. From responding to social media posts to answering fan mail via YouTube, brands have a tremendous opportunity today that didn’t exist 20 years ago: the ability to engage with customers anywhere at any time via numerous channels. Brands that respond, engage, and support their customers when their customers need them the most earn more trust and build a better, more compelling story.
With each of the brand’s story elements (i.e., commercials, social media posts, ratings and reviews, articles, announcements, case studies, etc.) scattered across multiple platforms and media, there needs to be one easy-to-find hub of information that makes finding these pieces fast and convenient for all audiences.
The online newsroom is the ideal digital hub of a brand’s story as it’s already home to the news and articles that share who the brand is, what it does, and what problem it solves for its customers. By incorporating more diverse content, such as social media feeds or access points, testimonials, and case studies, brands can drive traffic to the newsroom where people learn more about the brand and begin to develop their perception or understanding of the brand’s story.
You’d love to get that major publication or TV network to cover your event, embed your video or quote your chief executive in an economic forecast story.
The last thing you want is for reporters to delete your press release the moment the email notification pops up on their screens.
Surely everyone knows by now that stuffy, old-style press releases don’t cut it when reporters are busier than ever and newspapers want multimedia assets for their online editions. Yet ill-considered pitches keep flooding the inboxes of the dwindling number of journalists.
How to stand out? Here are a few tips:
Getting a journalist to open your email is the first step in earning coverage. Write a snappy subject line for your email, says Elise Copps of Hamilton Health Sciences.
Oh, you’ve got tons to say about your new robotic cat massager/cow milker. It’s going to change the world. But if you gush on for pages, reporters won’t read your release.
“Ideally no more than one page of copy,” says says Caroline Niven, vice president of external communications at Mastercard.
It’s a good idea to paste your text in the email, rather than an attachment, so if a reporter is on a mobile devices can scroll and read it quickly, she says.
Reporters look at press releases for facts, says Orly Telisman of Orly Telisman Public Relations. They gloss over boastful and praise-ridden quotes from CEOs, partners and others.
Use active voice, not passive. Avoid Ciceronian sentences and Faulknerian flamboyance.
“Keep it simple,” Telisman says. “If your sentences are a whole paragraph, they’re too long. Cut it down into digestible chunks of information.”
One pitchman used to send me press releases that showed up as Greek letters. I don’t know what font he was using, but it was unreadable.
“If the reporter doesn’t have your font, you don’t know how it will show up on their screen,” Niven says. “Better to use something generic.”
Include photos and videos in your release as links instead of attachments so you can share high-quality files without overloading your recipient’s inbox, Copps says. Another option, Niven says, is to embed a low-resolution image in the release and link to a place where a high-resolution can be downloaded.
Be explicit about how media outlets can use them in their coverage, Copps adds. That is, make sure they know how the files can be used and whether credit is required. If you don’t want files to be altered, mention that.
“Encourage video embedding so views count towards your metrics, not theirs,” Copps says. “There’s no guarantee that media will comply, but by making the ‘ask’ clear, you improve your chances.”
Don’t dump everything on journalists the day of the release. Plan ahead.
Give the one reason why there is something press worthy, and stick to that for the entire document, Telisman says. If you have two things to announce, space them out over a few weeks’ time. “That way you keep the drumbeat going on your company or product—and your innovativeness,” she says.
The simplest points sometimes need restating: Write the boilerplate description of your company as if for somebody who has never heard of your business. Although random reporters might admire your creative writing workshop brilliance, they’re going to turn to Wikipedia for a straightforward rundown of your business if you don’t provide it.
An astonishing number of press releases provide no contact information, forcing reporters to scour the company website for a phone number or email address.
As a Pulitzer Prize-winning former colleague once put it to me, Do organizations think we’ll just print a press release verbatim? Not only does this slow down interested journalists, but they might drop the story altogether in frustration. A lack of contact information lends unreliability to your entire press release.
While emails remain a way to catch some reporters’ attention, there are huge advantages to creating news release landing page. Unlike email, web pages are indexable on search engines, driving traffic to your site. This is likely to draw journalists to other work, information and expertise on your site.
People also are more likely to share links, quotes and other information from webpages than than from emails. Sometimes reporters can be influential this way, spreading your message even if they don’t intend to cover your news in a story. Yet they must have something to link to.
Whether your clients are internal or external, teach them how releases are used today, Telisman says. Resist the pressure to write long dispatches or to announce meaningless, incremental developments that only clog journalists’ inboxes.
A global healthcare business, Bupa currently employs over 78,000 people, principally in the UK, Australia, Spain, Poland, Chile, New Zealand, Hong Kong, the USA, Brazil, the Middle East and Ireland, and many more through associate businesses in Saudi Arabia and India. It has over 15.5 million health insurance customers, provides healthcare to around 14.5 million people in clinics and hospitals, and looks after over 23,300 aged care residents.
The organisation first adopted PressPage’s newsroom technology for their Australian market.
The launch of their UK newsroom shows that their UK and corporate teams has been impressed with the platform’s easy workflow and effectiveness.
Case templates: To better manage the Cases, you can now flag a case that is a template when you create a new case or by updating it in the ‘Case Information’ section.
Multiple Safenames: You can add multiple URL identifiers (safenames) to releases. This means that a release can be found via multiple URLs. This is especially useful if a spelling mistake was found after a case has been shared across Social channels, as well as for creating short SEO optimized urls.
Media Kit: By enabling the Media kit Module, you can allow visitors to view or download all media assets from a release at once.
Advanced module options
For certain modules we have implemented advanced settings to improve flexibility. The advanced settings consist of:
Modules that have one or multiple of the above options are: Custom module, News carousel, Headlines module, Button module. We will roll out the advanced settings to more modules in the coming period.
Delete Email templates: Within PressPage Mail, admin users now also have the option to delete Email templates.
Want to stay on top of the latest developments? Be sure to check the roadmap in the main PressPage Manager menu (top-right corner) for upcoming functionalities!
The origin of Pirelli dates back to 1872, the year Giovanni Battista Pirelli founded a limited partnership in Milan to produce elastic rubber items.
Although in the past the company has also launched fashion projects and engaged in sustainable energy, today, Pirelli is a pure tyre manufacturing company. Since 1907, Pirelli has also been a key sponsor in sports competitions.
Their newsroom is a most informative web destination covering Formula 1, governance, financial, and sustainability news with insightful and fun infographics, videos and more.
As more and more global brands see the benefit of a purpose-built PR platform to drive their digital PR campaigns, Pirelli's switch to PressPage can be compared to today's ever-faster tyre changes at Formula 1 races.
Modern technology allows a seamless integration with design and navigation. Furthermore, PressPage's service level includes a detailed migration plan, training and consultancy. Everything is in place to transition clients efficiently.
With newspapers and TV stations shrinking their staffs these days, how does an organization get attention for its events and accomplishments?
And if there’s ever an emergency such as a hurricane or—God forbid—a gunman on campus, how do you get the news out on all your digital channels immediately?
These are some of the questions that led officials at Del Mar College in Corpus Christi, Texas, to launch an online newsroom through PressPage. Del Mar College is the first higher education institution to subscribe to PressPage in Texas.
Del Mar has 12,000 students, making it as large as a mid-size university. That means it’s a hub of academic activity as well as a resource for a community that is both a tourist attraction and center of industry on the Gulf Coast, Eddleman says.
Del Mar hosts musical events featuring faculty, students or visiting artists, as well as theatrical productions, art exhibits and other cultural programs.
An information hub
The college has been featured in important news stories, and Del Mar officials naturally wish to trumpet the news. PressPage is a cloud-based newsroom that allows easy posting by communications professionals. The software also enables users to post readily to social media, extending the reach of Viking News, as Del Mar’s site is called.
“It’s a great hub to get things out,” Eddleman says.
Since the site went up late last year, it has received more than 8,800 visits. PressPage has provided in-depth statistics to the college compared with what was previously available, such as new and repeat visitors.
Eddleman says, “I feel these numbers are very impressive, since our Viking Newsroom has been live for less than six months.”
Tropical storms pose a significant threat along the Gulf of Mexico. Hurricane Harvey hit about 15 miles north of the college. In such an emergency, the college can change the number of stories rotating in the carousel.
Another advantage of the platform is that it makes it easy to upload stories, photos and video, and to attach captions to visual assets. This allows the college to make its content compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act; a blind person scanning the site with a special device would know what photos are posted. Also, the college’s Del Mar TV provides closed captioning, a capability that didn’t exist before it used PressPage, Eddleman says.
Under the heading “Latest News,” it touts its industry partners and highlights their support of the college, Eddleman says. Stories mention a $100,000 donation to the Safety Institute and a $54,000 scholarship award for 17 process technology majors, a department that also received a $1 million gift.
The front page has an “In the Media” section that enables the college to note stories about its programs or where its staff are quoted. Quick Takes enables users to post notable matters they wouldn’t pitch to news outlets, due to lack of local column space or airtime.
Eddleman’s team has four people, part of a college relations office of 15. She believes PressPage would work just as well for small, rural colleges where communicators often have dual roles.
Even in Corpus Christi, the site has become a resource for the community at large, as well as those interested in the college.
“You might have Mom and Dad researching, or a potential student researching your institution,” Eddleman says, “and they come across the news and—‘Oh, OK’—they see all the different things that we do.”
Every corporate online newsroom has “musts”—the essential areas that are most visited by reporters and other key users.
At other times, the essentials have a narrower audience, as when Mayo Clinic posts a b-roll interview with a medical expert.
Either way, the two top newsrooms from widely divergent organizations offer lessons that every communicator should consider. Above all, know your business, your industry and the news media well enough to anticipate what will draw reporters and others.
Here are a few areas every online newsroom should offer:
Whenever possible, Mayo produces multimedia content, because journalists like to share information in ways that offer consumers a richer experience, Petrovich says. Similarly, visitors are more like to share multimedia content on Facebook and Twitter.
B-roll is in high demand with reporters at downsizing news outlets that are stretched thin, Petrovich says. TV reporters now must handle social media, and newspaper reporters have to shoot video.
A story on the clinic’s first face transplant story was a prime example of media outlets using b-roll that Mayo produced. To protect the patient’s privacy, the clinic recorded interviews with him and made those available, along with interviews with physicians.
Recognizing that viewers often access video where they can’t play the sound, Mayo has taken to adding captions on all its video stories. This isn’t for journalists, who get captionless video, but for consumers who might have muted their devices when they auto-play.
“We realize that not every story can be heard at all times,” Petrovich says.
At Nissan, “the bread-and-butter stuff is the stories,” says Brad Nevin, editor-in-chief for its global communications website platforms.
Nevin used to work at Car and Driver magazine, so he is familiar with the needs of automotive journalists. They want to get on Nissan’s site, get the information they seek and get off. They prefer straightforward navigation that makes clear how to find the assets they are seeking.
“Sites get into trouble when they try to be too fancy and too designed, where there are all sorts of bells and whistles that aren’t helpful to finding information."
Have you made it easy to find the news that reporters most often seek from your site, such as executive bios or content supporting major product launches?
When reporters are slamming out a story on quarterly results, they don’t have time to scour your site looking for scattered data, pictures, YouTube streams or transcripts of the speech the CEO delivered when announcing the results. Corral all these assets in one location.
“It’s putting everything in place on one page,” Nevin says. “You get everything you want very easily and quickly.”
In addition to announcements of results, Nissan also posts transcripts of speeches at significant venues, such as the Detroit Auto Show. Reporters will love you for transcripts. Cutting and pasting from transcripts reduces reporting time—and the likelihood of transcription errors by the journalist.
Speaking of auto shows, Nissan creates event pages where fans and journalists can find the content.
With major industry events, offer press releases, videos and other assets, as Nissan did for this year’s Beijing Auto Show. Also, when you anticipate a spike in viewers because of an event, give IT a heads-up in advance, Nevin advises.
“We know that at Detroit auto show, those views are much higher than they usually are,” Nevin says.
Mayo has 4,000 experts in medical science who have all kinds of information at their fingertips, Petrovich says. What makes for compelling newsroom content, however, is the intersection of such science and conversational storytelling.
As an 80-year-old company, Nissan has a heritage page that offers resources for fans and journalists looking for former iterations of its cars. This can be useful for automotive writers who wish to discuss changes in a model over the years. Such sites can be hits with fans, as well.
Nissan offers interesting oddities such as 1935 footage of its manufacturing process and a short film titled “Beauty that is the envy of Hollywood.” The latter was shot in 1937, “when it was still rare for even Hollywood movies to be in full color,” Nissan states.
“I think of myself as the librarian for all our assets in our company,” Nevin says, “and it’s all organized on the menus.”
Mobile use is going up, and journalists—like everybody else—frequently access organizations’ sites from their smartphones.
Nissan has moved away from an app is designing its web newsroom to be mobile-responsive, adjusting to the size of the viewers’ screen. Nevin doubts that journalists are doing their major work on a tiny handheld device, but they still use smartphones to view content from the organizations they cover.
This revised article has been published before on PRdaily.com on May 30, 2018.
Become a what? A “Brand Journalist”? What’s that you say? It’s part of the communication fabric of the here and now and future.
First, us traditional PR pros at branded companies pitched stories to journalists so that they could have sources and information to write their stories. Now, they’re the journalists too.
What changed? Well, for starters, the Internet went platinum. All of a sudden anyone could use a platform to publish their own content, then images, and then videos. Now, brands can use a combined set of tools to bring their press rooms to life.
Here are some ideas on how to become a brand journalist:
In formulating a press room, most companies will go to the basics. “Let’s include our latest press releases, media coverage, logos, press contact, and more!” Not so much with a branded journalistic press room. The idea is to bring people in. To teach them. To inspire them. The branded press room is more about positioning and differentiation than it is about promotion. To be the thought leader, you have to lead with content that is thought-provoking, authentic, builds trust, and that readers want to read.
While the content of your press room will cover topics close to your brand, there’s not always the need to mention your products, if at all. Those links can live above your branded press room in the nav bar. What you’re going for in the branded press room is a deeper dive into why it really matters why you’re focused as a business on these topics, who’s behind the topics, where did they originate, by whom, and what’s the future.
It’s important that the people behind your words are identifiable as leaders in your sector or business. By leveraging the people in your organization, you’re giving credibility to your press room, its message, and your brand. Just having any person write your content won’t fly as you will need to put a face to your marketing. Those authors can also go offline and become part of a speaker tour or be quoted in articles on related subjects. Build your brand!
Go beyond the traditional press room and include video and audio clips. Even slate in social media so that your readers can tweet from within your content. Use a lot of images to engage the readers too.
Optimize your content for search on page and behind it. Your branded press room will have so much natural content that it will be a goldmine for search. Make sure to categorize your videos, blog posts, and audio files. Add search phrases to content and hashtag when sharing on social.
I would think that this would be the hardest part. How do you convince others to share your branded content? Invite them to contribute, mention their companies/people, speak at their conferences or invite them to speak at yours. Or, just tap your stakeholders to share your content. Simply just tweeting out the latest blog post isn’t enough. There needs to be a sound strategy that helps get the message out to the right people at the right time.
See, there’s a lot more that can be done to a press room if you’re a brand journalist.
In this article, 7 Public Relations professionals reveal their secrets about how to write a press release and capturing a journalist’s attention in today's vibrant media landscape.
Their advice covers a broad range of topics from optimizing your headlines and quotes, leveraging social media, to maintaining key relationships with the press. Read their top 5 tips on how to write a press release:
Still curious about best practices for writing press releases? Read out our article on examples of press releases for some inspiration.
Today, the brand combines its legendary and classy style with a hip lifestyle image. The watchmaker’s recent and unique collaboration with motorcycle company Indian is a great example of how they captured an iconic spirit into a series of three one-of-a-kind timepieces.
Baume & Mercier puts a lot of effort in making its timepieces appealing to a younger crowd. With its Clifton Sports collection, the brand brings it classic and legendary style to a new generation of users.
PressPage is proud to serve Baume & Mercier with their online newsroom.
PR meets social selling
The concept of social selling is being widely adopted by sales organizations. It is based on leveraging your commercial team’s social network in finding the right prospects, build trusted relationships, and ultimately, convert these relationships to sales goals. PR-generated content will allow your sales force to convey your organization’s added vlaue and establish their individual expert profiles to the benefit of these commercial goals.
Key webinar takeaways
This webinar discusses how comms-generated content enables your sales force to embrace social selling. Learn how to align content with the bottlenecks of your sales funnel and elevate your PR department from a cost center to a profit center.
Jock Breitweiser is an experienced communications veteran having held several positions as PR lead, including TriNet. In this webinar, Jock will explain the basics of the social selling concept, why it is gaining such momentum, and how PR can support this process to actively and achieve bottom-line results.
In this webinar you will learn:
Why should PR support sales team with comms-generated content
How to identify and understand key bottlenecks in your sales process
How to align PR activities with the sales funnel and obtain sales’ buy-in
How to develop the professional profile of your sales team’s members
How to develop their social network
How to provide sales with the right digital content to enable their commercial processes
And… How to show the ROI of comms in the commercial process
You can register now to save your seat. After registration you will receive a confirmation email with your own personal link to attend the webinar. Can't attend live? You should still register! We'll be sending out the recording to all registrants after the webinar.
The team’s cyclists work hard to manage their diabetes in combination with their lives as professional bike racers. The team reflects this on its website, which showcases all of their racing activities, inspirational stories and qualitative and educational activities.
Although the site provides a continuous stream of great content that is a tremendous source of information for fans, and an inspiration for people living with diabetes, the team’s public relations efforts were eager to incorporate a more media savvy strategy into their website.
PressPage’s purpose-built PR platform provides the team with the ultimate workflow to create and distribute their media releases and analyze readership and editorial conversion.
“In addition to racing, media is very important to Team Novo Nordisk. Our goal is to reach everyone in the world affected by diabetes, give them role models and inspire them to chase their own dreams,” said Team Novo Nordisk Senior Director of Public Relations Fitzalan Crowe.
Peapod, an Ahold Delhaize USA company, is America's leading online grocer with over 40 million orders delivered to date. The company stands out in the increasingly competitive online grocery shopping market with its intuitive, inspiring website and award-winning mobile app; allowing customers to shop faster and smarter as well as save time and money with each order.
Peapod offers delivery to both homes and businesses and has over 200 pick-up locations across the United States.
GDPR stands for the General Data Protection Regulation. It is a new European legislation that is designed to harmonise data protection rules across Europe, creating consistency in how organisations must deal with personal data. In the Netherlands, our existing data protection law is quite strong, but in some other European countries it was relatively weak. GDPR creates a ‘level playing field’ across Europe.
In essence, GDPR is all about getting organisations to give due respect to the personal data that they process. It’s not about stopping companies from processing personal data, but ensuring it is looked after properly, kept accurate and not abused. By creating a clear set of rules across Europe, the hope is that this will help organisations provide better products and services and add value to the economy, without breaching the rights of individuals.
If you think GDPR is strictly related to PR (since it is in the name), you are wrong. GDPR is a legislation that affects all organizations, regardless of what industry they are in. Everyone needs to be aware of what it entails, how it affects them and how you can prepare for it. However it is interesting to see what effect it has on public relations.
There are a few areas within GDPR that have a direct influence on PR, namely Accountability, Transparency and Consent.
There is no doubt that GDPR affects how organizations collect, process and transfer personal data. It is important that organizations not only comply with GDPR, but also demonstrate this compliance. This means creating a culture in which all relevant elements of the organization comply to the GDPR, including a good awareness about this within the whole team.
Being transparent about how you cope with data is another aspect that is important, but the first step here is knowing what personal data you store, why you store this, what you do with it, where you store it and who it is stored by. Is this data that you really need to store? The more information you store, the bigger the risk. So make a good evaluation of what information you need to store and how to make sure you keep this safe.
And last, but not least: Consent. The aspect that got at least a lot of Sales and Marketing people to freak out, because they were afraid that they could not do their job the same way they were doing it before. Well...that is maybe not completely true, however, the fines that could be associated with not being compliant can really make you nervous.
All aspects mentioned are directly related to Sales and Marketing, but they also affect PR professionals directly. Think about sending press releases unsolicited to journalists. That is not an option anymore after 25 May. From the moment GDPR is being applied, you will need to start with a personal e-mail to the journalist that you contact for the first time in which you ask if you can send them press releases in the future. The journalists that you want to add to your press list, can only be added if they have given their consent.
Outsource Communications also has 5 more GDPR tips for PR:
As of May 25, 2018, every company doing business in Europe will need to be GDPR compliant. Although it is fast approaching, organisations still have time to work on their compliance.
The PressPage platform is also affected by GDPR, and so we have been busy on ensuring it’s alignment with the new regulations. It is key for us to ensure our clients are GDPR compliant when using our services. For this we are doing numerous things, like:
Ensuring all personal data in the PressPage Mail databases is encrypted at rest and in transit.
Making sure that the right processor agreements are in place so that all transparency with regards to the processing of personal data is provided.
We have also worked hard on updating protocols and procedures surrounding PressPage’s GDPR readiness.
And finally, we have had multiple internal meetings and have enabled our team to be fully aware of the implications of GDPR.
In general, many fear the implications of GDPR. There are many aspects that an organisation needs to address, which inevitably means more work.
Christa Hemelaar’s, PressPage’s Marketing Manager, the first reaction was certainly not one of joy when hearing about GDPR. Sales and marketing tend to look at GDPR as a restraint on how they go about their business, especially when considering than non-compliance can lead to fines.
However, after studying the regulations and understanding its reasoning, she did conclude it could have some positive effects. Christa indicates that “on the other hand, the ones that provide consent should be seen as a very relevant audience for us and will only receive the information that is relevant to them.”
Christa’s view is concluded by the social impact GDPR will hopefully have in light of recent data and privacy breaches. When keeping the recent Facebook leaks in mind, Christa believes this law comes at a perfect time to ensure that the privacy of individuals is protected in our society; in her view a plus for both sides.
The first official press release was sent out in 1906, but now more than 100 years later both time and technology have changed the way we do PR. However, a traditional press release is still an important element of the majority of PR campaigns. One of the biggest differences we do see is in the audience. Previously, it was the press covering their stories for the newspapers, radio and later, television. A wider range of channels are now used for distributing news, with the website playing a more important role, in addition to the towering impact of social media.
These changes have had a big impact on how PR professionals did their job in the past and how they are doing it right now. Where they focused on just reaching the right journalists they knew before, now they try to push their message to a wider audience on more channels. It is not just about the media anymore, but bloggers, vloggers and other influencers. For the cultural sector these changes have created lots of opportunities, but it also means a shift in how they do PR.
Perhaps a no-brainer, but one of the biggest challenges for museums and other organizations in the cultural sector is to get more visitors with limited resources. So how do you reach new audiences and more importantly, how do you make sure you engage with them? Where do you start?
It is important to create and share content to reach your audience. However if content is king, technology is queen. Having a central place where people can find both information about the location and find inspiring content in all shapes and sizes, is essential. By sending out your news via email, social media (paid & organic), you reach the media, such as newspapers, authority sites or review sites, and your target audience. However when interested in the content, journalists shared it within their networks as well which allows you to reach an even bigger audience. So it allows you to also reach the people that you don’t know yet, but are interested in you.
Having others to tell and spread your story can have a big effect. Think about influencers such as bloggers and vloggers. They are seen as experts or leaders for their own group of followers– connecting with influencers can help to reach a bigger audience because they create content themselves about you. You do need to put effort in getting the most out of influencer marketing. Find out how the Museum of Contemporary Art in Australia set up their social media influencer campaign and how that worked out. Or check out these other cases in the article “The art of influencer marketing: influencers in museums”.
PR can be done in many different ways. For each sector there are specific elements to point out. According to the PR experts the Guardian spoke to, here are some tips for those working in Arts or cultural PR:
Think beyond the role: PR is intended to mean ‘the person who is responsible for press’, when in reality the term ‘public relations’ implies something much wider than that. Try to play a more central role in the organization.
Use a press release as the start of the process, not the end: It is not just about sending out information– you need good relationships with journalists. It’s all about building communication in from the start of any project.
Use social media and encourage others to pass on the message for you: PR companies that recognise the power of word of mouth are doing their clients a big favor. Twitter hashtags used to aggregate tweets about a specific event or show can be a great way of showing people who else is talking about something they're interested in, and building a mini-community around it.
Include the right images with any press release: If it is a gallery of a museum, include a wide-angle photo of the venue itself next to a selection of images of the objects and people that are involved. It will generate more publication needs.
As indicated before, having the technology in place is beneficial if not even essential to ensure your PR efforts to be optimal. Step away from just sending out the PDF press release, but create an online environment where your audience can find all the information they want. One place where the journalists can find details and images for their story, but also where your visitors can find out more about the new expo that is coming up.
These days, every company must be a publisher.
As traditional news outlets shrink, organizations are learning to tell their stories in a journalistic fashion through text, photographs, infographics, videos and other means.
Yet in pursuing that mandate, organizations mustn’t overlook a related task: to ease the job of journalists and bloggers by making newsrooms as reporter-friendly as possible.
“They have to, because there are fewer and fewer reporters are out there, fewer people that can tell their story for them,” says Tom Foremski, a former Financial Times journalist who publishes the influential Silicon Valley Watcher blog.
There’s a lot of information out there, and if you don’t provide what reporters, bloggers or others need, they are likely to snag non-corporate images or pull videos from YouTube, says David Erickson, vice president of online marketing for the Minneapolis public relations agency Karwoski & Courage.
Here are some ways to do that:
Many communicators—perhaps most—have experience in journalism. Give your site a look-over with the eyes of a harried reporter on deadline. These days journalists have even tighter deadlines than in the past, and some produce as many as five or six stories or updates a day.
“If you have a newsroom that’s a mess, they’re not going to spend very much time looking around for what they need,” Foremski says.
Foremski has long called for organizations to “deconstruct the press release into special sections and tag the information,” so that writers can pre-assemble some of news story and make the information useful.
Can an industry blogger quickly find boilerplate about your company? Do you provide financial information in many different formats for that business reporter? Do you offer publishable graphics and photographs of your products? Are names and photos of your officers and experts available?
By contrast, are your press releases in a PDF that prevent writers from cutting and pasting quotes and figures? That slows the writer and increases the likelihood of inaccuracies.
Is information updated and are names spelled correctly? Few things bother a reporter more than getting a phone call from an organization requesting a correction on information taken from the official website.
At Nissan Motor Corp., newsroom staffers strive to post interesting assets that news media outlets can use, says Brad Nevin, editor-in-chief for global communications website platforms. The challenge is to give it editorial integrity and not have it look like a glossy marketing brochure that journalists and bloggers might not wish to use.
At the same time, images and video must be dynamic. If Nevin just slapped up text and staid photographs, “I think it would put a lot of people to sleep,” he says.
A recent story noted that Nissan will become the first Japanese carmaker to compete in the all-electric ABB FIA Formula E racing championship. The story included interviews, behind-the-scenes video, and cinemagraphs, or images with motion that plays in a loop.
The approach, Nevin says, is, “How can we make our stories rich and colorful? We use the video. We use the cinemagraph. We use the sound files. We use the social media video. We use the Instagram series of images.” Nissan encourages industry publications to grab and use what they like.
People won’t visit your newsroom if you haven’t posted since last August. Besides, search engines will decide you aren’t a player in your field if you don’t update regularly.
“Google loves active pages,” Foremski says. “They’re not going to index your pages if you update it every two months.”
There’s a reason: How often posts are uploaded can tell you about how active a company is, he says. Regular updates also help you build a readership that’s interested in your industry.
“It’s good to keep the frequency going,” Nevin says, “and then that trains people to come back and see what’s new.”
When a company as significant as Google announces quarterly results, journalists and bloggers around the world write up the news. Often they search newsrooms and archives looking for different angles or color they can add, Foremski says.
Corporate newsrooms often have a search engine that scans the entire website, rather than searching a narrower field relevant to journalists, such as the newsroom assets, says Erickson.
When writing a press release, think multimedia, he adds. Offer audio clips of quotes from your spokespersons for podcasters, video for other media, he suggests.
For organizations doing business internationally, the added complexity of a globalizing economy and the need to communicate with different audiences in different geographical locations, time zones, and languages makes it a challenge of serious proportions.
This ebook is an introduction to the basics for running a newsroom for international audiences. The 4 chapters reflect the impact of technology and the growing influence of social media on modern PR and media relations strategies.
PressPage provides the global newsrooms for Toyota, CBRE, Velux, Logitech, Mercedes, EPSON and many more. In talking to our clients, we have selected four interesting topics:
Part 1 - Searching for El Dorado
Making your newsroom findable and accessible for international audiences.
Part 2 - Showcase your global media contacts
Getting personal will set you apart from the crowd when building better media relations.
Part 3 - When it comes to content… Go local!
Why your global newsroom should localize content as much as possible.
Part 4 - 'Mobilizing' your newsroom
An essential part for a smooth running global newsroom is optimizing it for mobile visitors.