Making News Online in the 21st Century


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The importance of press releases, online newsrooms, Google news, SEO and content marketing for public relations professionals in the digital world. Presented at Jason Falls' Content Marketing Summit, IABC & SMC Louisville, September 21, 2010

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  • Background in corporate comms at Lockheed and GEStarted at rM in January – got my job via Social MediaPR background and MBA
  • They have to do more with less.They rely even more now on press releases and content from PR people. They want things that are quick, easy to package, drive page views, and engage audiences.They have to develop news for a variety of channels.
  • The stuff that people talk about on social networks doesn’t come from nowhere. Much of it originates in traditional media. And much of that comes from public relations.Facebook wall is the new refrigerator!The things people share and talk about comes from traditional media
  • Why I don’t subscribe to the SMNR school of thought:Journos don’t want to have to put back together a story again. They are busy.Press releases still very important to traditional media.Less so to bloggers, in that they aren’t going to pull your release and republish verbatim,But they will look for your releases online to link to as an authoritative source.Blogger: 1-2 sentence pitch and link to release.
  • Headline is great for search – “Man Cave”Story is written in an engaging way, as if you were reading a news article. Grabs you.Photos attached for more context, suggested captions given at end of releaseContact infoLink back to NYS IG siteEasy to print, email, embed, or share to social networksIndexed to Google news almost immediatelySent directly to journalists statewideCoverage in NY Times, Albany TU, Huffington Post, CNN, Gawker, NY Post, regional papers, local TV across state
  • General news stories. Stories about people are hyperlocal: promotions, new jobs, awardsLook at the outputs of your organization and think about how you can turn them into content: databases, lists, photo montages, maps, visualizationsUse employees to help come up with story ideasCreate an editorial calendarTrump up what may seem mundane and find the hook (calligrapher story from Staunton)Look at the variety of ways you can tell a story, who you can get involved
  • Lost her PIO position in December. Were getting occasional mentions in calendar section of newspaper, nothing else.Cram 20 events into one press release. Running list on the web siteSwitched to a story based approach. Found the nugget about each event. White House Calligrapher. Ducks in the pond. City horticulturist.Wrote press releases. Installed news widget on site. Fed content to Facebook and Twitter pages.Started shooting YouTube videos at events. Saw 10x local media pickup. Sold out classes. Feature stories. TV news coverage. Drove people to their web site. Saved from budget cuts.
  • They were slow to adapt and adopt. Didn’t move online soon enough.Tied to a revenue model of ad subsidation that didn’t translate well onlnie and doesn’t work now
  • Making News Online in the 21st Century

    1. 1. Making news online in the 21st Century<br />Content Marketing Summit - IABC/SMC Louisville<br />September 21, 2010<br />Amy Mengel<br />
    2. 2. Hello!<br />Amy Mengel<br />readMedia<br /><br /><br />@amymengel<br /><br />
    3. 3. History of the press release<br />
    4. 4. Truth: Media rely on press releases<br />Local, state, regional: Most news comes from government, schools, small businesses. Ultimate source: the organizations themselves!<br />“More commonly than in the past…press releases from politicians, government agencies and companies were rewritten quickly by multiple outlets and posted on the Web with no additional reporting.”<br />—Pew Research Center<br />2010 ‘How News Happens’ Study<br />How many of us spend our time on celebrity publicity? Nuts-and-bolts news is different.<br />
    5. 5. Newsroom pain:<br />Newspaper print circulation has dropped 25.6% percent since 2000.<br />All traditional media sectors saw decreases in ad revenue from 2008 to 2009.<br />Roughly 1/3 of newsroom jobs in 2001 are now gone.<br />Network news staffs at half of what they were at peak in 1980s.<br />“News hole” continues to grow, with content required for main publication plus online, blogs, social media<br />Source: Pew Project for Excellence in Journalism<br />
    6. 6. Traditional media still drives online news!<br />Blogs rely heavily on traditional press for topics.<br />At local level, most news is repetitive. Traditional media still leads in breaking “new” information about a story.<br />Traditional media is now producing more than one third of stories via new platforms<br />Less local and hyperlocal news is available online, vs. regional or national<br />Stories with positive headlines shared 30 percent more than average on Facebook<br />Source: Pew Research Center: New Media, Old Media and How News Happens ; Wall Street Journal Digits blog<br />
    7. 7. Press releases are content marketing!<br />
    8. 8. It’s content marketing you control<br />
    9. 9. The “new” press release<br />Double-duty: provides print-ready content for media and searchable news content for direct audience<br />Shareable: easy for people to post to social networks, embed on their sites, email to friends<br />Multimedia: enhanced with photo, video, slides, documents<br />Headlines as email subjects – must be enticing!<br />Relevant links included<br />Make it easy to get to other news from your organization<br />Get it to the media, onto Google, and on your website<br />
    10. 10.
    11. 11. Creating a flow of content<br />Finding unique stories<br />Transmedia storytelling<br />Web, social, traditional<br />Video, photo, words<br />Balancing publication with pitching<br />Push, pull, prod<br />
    12. 12. Identifying stories in your organization<br />Create an editorial calendar<br />Routine/mundane activities can be interesting to outsiders<br />Use employees to help generate ideas<br />Find ways to turn outputs of your organization into content: databases, lists, maps, visualizations, research<br />Look at the variety of ways to tell a story and repurpose<br />Create many stories out of one by personalizing and localizing them: promotions, new jobs, awards<br />
    13. 13. Case Study: Staunton, Va.<br /><ul><li>Media coverage increased tenfold
    14. 14. Classes sold out
    15. 15. Info readily available via Google
    16. 16. Increased awareness of initiatives in the community</li></li></ul><li>SEO for online news<br />Each article/press release must have a unique, permanent URL<br />Headlines should be between 2-22 words<br />Plain text HTML is best. Google can’t find articles in drop-down boxes, Flash embeds or graphics<br />Google News doesn’t crawl PDF articles<br />Keep keywords in mind when developing content<br />Encode press release links to help track traffic<br />
    17. 17. Features to include:<br />Basic company facts & bios<br />Media contact information<br />Press releases, with RSS feeds and subscription options<br />Multimedia: YouTube videos, Flickrphotostream, Podcast files<br />Downloadable files (logos, e.g.)<br />Facebook and Twitter widgets<br />RSS feed of industry news and organization’s news coverage<br />Related links/Quick links<br />Speaker/interview request form<br />The modern online newsroom<br />
    18. 18. Walgreens<br /><ul><li>Searchable
    19. 19. Featured/latest release
    20. 20. Photos, fact sheets, reports, videos bios up front
    21. 21. Buried media contact info
    22. 22. Not very social
    23. 23. Nested navigation</li></li></ul><li>CME Group<br /><ul><li>Email Sign-up/RSS options
    24. 24. Integrated Twitter feed
    25. 25. Industry news/research
    26. 26. Quick Links section
    27. 27. Would like to see embedded video on landing page
    28. 28. LinkedIn reporter community?</li></li></ul><li>CDC<br /><ul><li>Huge variety of resources, channels and audiences
    29. 29. Site map helps to navigate
    30. 30. Sidebar story/PSA
    31. 31. Social media links from home page are lost
    32. 32. Can be overwhelming</li></li></ul><li>Wrapping it up<br />Press releases are far from dead<br />Traditional media is still important: find ways to make their jobs easier and identify interesting stories<br />Include press releases as a tool in your content marketing kit<br />You control the content: links, multimedia, messaging<br />Don’t forget about SEO and the importance of syndication<br />Make your online newsroom a one-stop-shop for content, info<br />
    33. 33. Questions?<br />
    34. 34. Photo Credits<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
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