How the newsroom went from press release repository to full communications hub

How the newsroom went from press release repository to full communications hub

Miriam Van Ommeren

Miriam Van Ommeren

There is an unmistakable transformation going on in the current media landscape: it is shrinking on one end and expanding on the other - traditional media is going through very rough times, while digital and social platforms are quickly picking up speed.

There was always more to PR than simply “getting your brand name in the newspaper” or maintaining traditional media relations, but these days it needs to step up its game even more. PR agencies as well as corporate comms professionals are well aware of the need to adapt to a changing media landscape.

In the old days, organisations would put press releases up on a page on their website – often in non search-friendly PDF format – and it would be left there for journalists to discover. More often than not, these pages would just gather dust. Some companies started to improve them and they become ‘newsrooms’, by adding photo libraries and company backgrounders, but they were still fairly bland.

What changed?

The main catalyst for people to start to re-evaluate  newsrooms was the birth and growth of social media. Suddenly there was two-way communications through services such as Twitter and Facebook. PR departments and agencies started to invest in more varied content to tell stories, such as videos and infographics. The decline of print media and growth of online sources removed many of the previous barriers to publishing content. Most of all, the speed of communications increased – we don’t work to a daily, weekly and monthly newscycle any more, but now work around the clock.

Organisations’ PR teams today find themselves serving many more audiences – in addition to journalists, bloggers, customers, analysts and employees want to know what’s going on. Subsequently, the press release isn’t necessarily the best or only tool for communications. As Firefly’s Phil Szomszor pointed out in June: the traditional press release is a dying breed.

Different brands have different stories to tell and different ways of telling them; and although the demands can vary, they always come down to content and the strategy that comes with it. This varies from the wish to make sure news is as 'Googleable' as possible, to the desire to engage more with readers and journalists, or enable them to 'take away' the content they like. And of course, integrating social media channels in the whole strategy is high on everyone's list.

Content must not only be good quality: it should also be easy to create, easy to share and even easier to access. And ideally all this must take place in one central hub, on one’s own website. The newsroom has become critical and central to many modern communications strategies. Earlier this year Firefly updated its newsroom offering: combining the most powerful aspects of social and search worlds, as highlighted in Fiona Hughes’ blog post last month. Firefly clients have seen great results from their newsrooms, giving journalists a one-stop-shop for these businesses’ news and information.

At PressPage, we love to see users make the most of what our own newsroom technology has to offer: telling their stories through words, videos, whitepapers and the like; sending and sharing them in every way possible.

The future of PR is hard to predict: will the lines between traditional media and PR be blurred even more? Who will vanish; who will survive? Whatever happens, providing customers and partners with easy access to content will continue to be central to getting a brand’s message across.

Miriam van Ommeren is Marketing & Communications Manager at PressPage.

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