How to improve your online press room

publication date: Jul 18, 2011
To capture a journalist's attention and answer her questions, a collection of press releases plus some bios and head shots just aren't enough, says marketing and communications expert Nancy Schwartz. You need material that engages journalists and provokes a request for a conversation.

Here are some of Schwartz' tips for helping journalists realize your organization is truly newsworthy.

Online press room and media kit

What's the difference between an online press room and an online media kit? A media kit is part of an online press room, but certainly not the only element. Schwartz says both must be set up to help deadline-racing journalists find the information that they want, fast.

A press room, she says, is the area on your site expressly for the media, although other audiences may be interested in the content. The content here should describe the organization and its mission, rather than highlighting a single program, service, location or event.

A media kit, by contrast, can be about your organization or anything you want to highlight: a program, product, leader, service or event. Either way, it's a downloadable collection of essential, easy-to-use information.

Elements for your online press room

  • Your latest news. Consider organizing it by topic and by date.
  • Downloadable photos and graphics to accompany stories, several versions of your logo with terms of use and specs - all available in high, medium and low resolution.
  • A directory of your organization's experts,  searchable by name and topic.
  • Succinct, specific, relevant backgrounders and fact sheets.
  • Frequently updated calendars and timelines.
  • Guidelines on writing about your organization's key topics or issue areas, with etiquette and language tips if necessary for describing the population you serve.
  • Audio and/or video clips with transcripts.
  • Awards and recognition.
  • Recent clips (make sure these are kept up-to-date).
  • An RSS feed for press room updates.

Elements for your media kit
  • All of the above except awards.
  • Milestones.
  • History.
  • Relevant statistics (a program's impact or the change generated).
Make sure that content is current, Schwartz emphasizes. You should update media kits at least weekly, even daily for a fast-moving project.

Other tactics to make your online press room even more useful include:

  • Prominent links to your press room on every page of your site, and highlighted links on your home page for press kits on current topics and programs.
  • Clear contact information for your primary media contact and the backup person.
  • Brief bios of your organization's leaders and experts to give a context for quotes or other coverage.

Read more from Nancy Schwartz at

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