12 Best Practices in Online Newsrooms for Financial InstitutionsPosted: November 1, 2012
If you have read recent business news, you will find out that big financial institutions such as Wells Fargo and Bank of American, even the giant in investment banking – Goldman Sachs, have been suffering from corporate reputation crisis. Wells Fargo was accused of fraudulently approving tens of thousands of home loans just to turn a quick profit. Bank of America was faced with a $1 billion lawsuit that its former Countrywide unit concocted a mortgage scheme. Greg Smith’s op-ed in which he resigns from Goldman Sachs due to “toxic and destructive environment where the interests of the client continue to be sidelined.”
After reading all these negative news, I believe the investors, business partners, customers, employees, media will be more eager to know the backstory and official announcements than I am. Under such circumstances, the PR people should make full use their client’s online newsroom as a vibrant news portal for the financial institutions that need it more now than ever.
As I found this article from the Financial Brand, it immediately caught my eyes. Online newsrooms, with its high presence, are one of the alternatives to typical newsrooms and media centers. It provides banks a neutral news channel to help regain trust and confidence from stakeholders. How to have a fully functioning online newsroom? The 12 best practices in this article give us some insightful information.
1. Vital Statistics
· Incorporate basic facts, background information, history and milestones, scale of business, number of employees and geographic markets into online press centers.
· Publish stats that touch on today’s economic hot buttons
2. Multimedia/Image Library
· Use visually appealing elements to enhance your stories, such as photos, videos, logos, etc.
· Make sure he hotlinks are valid for journalists to find relevant artwork, visuals or support files.
3. Bios for Key Staff
· Create more detailed bios for the top management.
· Link any relevant and important achievement to their bios.
4. Showcase Your Online Initiatives
· Make it easy for journalists to find you on social networks by providing links to your corporate Twitter, Facebook, Flickr and YouTube accounts, along with any microsites and other online marketing initiatives.
5. RSS Feeds
· Provide personalized RSS feed to journalists to receive your press releases as they are published.
· Offer more than one RSS feed, each with its own unique stream of information.
6. Sign Me Up
· Give people the option to sign up for email updates.
7. Pour a Spotlight on Your Good Citizenship
· Share more benevolent aspects of your organization may temper a journalist’s slant.
· Community banks and credit unions should definitely use their online newsrooms to celebrate the ways in which they are involved locally.
8. Contact Information
· Provide the name, personal email, direct phone number, Twitter and LinkedIn for your primary media people.
· When a journalist emails or calls, you should be able to respond within 24 hours or less.
9. Structured & Organized Press Releases
· All press releases should be organized.
· Allow people to sort press releases by date, or browse by topic/keyword.
· Don’t post only PDFs of your press releases.
10. In The News
· Include a list of 3-5 recent media stories about your organization in reverse-chronological order, along with a link to a more exhaustive library.
· For each news item, try to limit yourself to one or two stories from the biggest, most reputable media outlets that covered the story.
11. Update Often
· update your online newsroom frequently
12. Easy Architecture
· Make the online press room easy for journalists and reporters to find. Put a link to your “Online Press Room” as a section underneath your “About Us” tab, and/or add it to your footer as a text link.
In the digital era, it is necessary for the PR people to know what a virtual media center looks like and how to ultimately use it to generate publicity. I found this 12 best practices not only be helpful in the financial PR, but also can be applied to non-financial companies.