October 18, 2011
New Survey Reveals Obstacles to Managing an Online Newsroom — Lack of Control, Resources and Social Media Integration Top ChallengesBy Ibrey Woodall, VP of Web Communications Services, Business Wire
It's common knowledge that communications professionals rarely have enough manpower to implement public relations tactics and strategies. According to the 2011 Communicators Online Newsroom Practices Survey by Business Wire and Bulldog Reporter, the same holds true when managing an online newsroom.
The online newsroom is headquarters for all of an organization's news and information including press releases, multimedia, press kits, executive biographies and more. While multiple audiences visit the news center today, almost 90 percent of public relations professionals surveyed still consider media to be the primary target. Consumers, bloggers and influencers are next in line, while investors are usually supplied financial information via an investor center.
Lack of resources is indeed the largest challenge faced in keeping company news and information online, up to date, and interesting. Although several communicators who responded to the survey spend five hours or less a week managing their online newsroom, nearly 70 percent update their online newsroom once a week or more frequently. Understandably so, since posting new content regularly is beneficial for search engine optimization.
The second largest obstacle is not having the control to self publish new content when desired. This handicap was the genesis for the creation of online newsroom content management systems years ago. Public relations professionals had to rely on the schedule and mood of someone in their internal technical department to get a press release posted to the website.
Fortunately, over half of the survey respondents are able to edit content and manage other functions within their online newsroom. Frustrations still prevail though since most of the respondents have had to rely on their IT department to develop their online newsroom. When possible, PR practitioners, and companies with more than 1,000 employees, are more likely to use an online newsroom provider.
Social media integration is normally a standard feature within an online newsroom, so I was surprised when the third greatest challenge was the inability to simultaneously feed Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and LinkedIn postings into the online newsroom. Sadly so, 50 percent of respondents are also unable to generate tweets and postings to Facebook and LinkedIn from the online newsroom interface. This indicates a lack of efficiency in workflow.
More than half of the respondents currently have an online newsroom, and 13 percent indicate plans to create one in the future. Less than 1 percent surveyed believed their online newsroom is too expensive. Of those that were actually aware of their online newsroom budget, their annual costs were $10,000 or less.
The intent of the 2011 Communicators Online Newsroom Practices Survey was to show the everyday problems that communicators face when creating and maintaining on online newsroom, more so than what components should be available within it. With that said, press releases are accessed the most within online newsrooms of those surveyed. Regrettably, some respondents still have to manually input press releases instead of benefitting from automatic posting.