Your Nonprofit’s Online Press Room: Six Things You Really Need

By on Tuesday, July 31, 2012
In a 2012 survey of 200 journalists, 91% said that they want easy access to backgrounders, bios and supporting information for press release. To engage the press, your nonprofit organization needs a robust online press room.
There are vendors out there who will sell you an online press room application that includes uploading your facebook, twitter and everything else into it via live-stream. That may work for some, but for nonprofits communicating with people they help, donors, volunteers and the press – an automated full conglomeration of their social media and news work could be a messy mis-targeted messaging disaster.
What is really needed is a well-organized and curated web page that is easy to find on your nonprofit’s website. Here’s what should be in your online press room:
(1) News releases – order them with the most current release at the top of the page, so journalists can easily see what is most current. If you issue a lot of releases, try to archive older information but keep it accessible.
(2) Background materials on the issue your organization is passionate about – these reports and statistics can be a gold mine for journalists and give you brownie points for being helpful. It’s important to include information that localizes the situation to your community. If you work on hunger issues – have links to relevant reports. Offer statistics and data about hunger in your community or profiles of people and neighborhoods impacted by hunger.
(3) Biographies with photos for key staff members – having biographies and information available online for key staff members presents a public face for your nonprofit. It often helps journalists if they can get background information on a key staff person before an interview. Sometimes I find nonprofit agencies where there is reluctance to do this – either because people are “too busy” doing good to do something that they see as ego-building, or because they are frankly, shy. You wouldn’t hide in an office if someone came in and wanted to meet the director for the program – you would go out and meet them – the same thing goes online – key staff should have at least a one paragraph bio, preferably with a photo.
(4) Links for downloadable photo and video footage – Many journalists today want links to downloadable photos and video footage that can be re-used. Make sure you include caption information and how you want the materials attributed.
(5) Links to news coverage you’ve already achieved – seeing other stories your organization is featured in can build interest from other reporters because it makes your organization appear credible.
(6) Direct contact information – a phone number and email address should be listed for journalists to contact. These numbers and email addresses should really route directly to the people who can assist the journalist.
Ami Neiberger-Miller is a public relations strategist and writer. She is the founder of Steppingstone LLC, a virtual and independent public relations practice near Washington, D.C. that provides public relations counsel, social media advice, writing services, and creative design work for publications and websites (portfolio). Ami blogs frequently about media relations, social media, public relations and other issues. She also reviews books on her blog about public relations, nonprofit life, work-family balance and social media practice. Follow her on Twitter @AmazingPRMaven.

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