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Press Room Review: The American Heart Association & American Stroke Association

By on Thursday, April 1, 2021

We are doing an intermittent survey of online press rooms, and are calling out the things we see that work that others can learn from. Today, we are looking at the American Heart Association & American Stroke Association’s comprehensive and well-stocked press room and highlighting some of its key features. The American Heart Association  is a national voluntary health agency to help reduce disability and death from cardiovascular diseases and stroke.

Makes it clear how journalists can reach staff. Their contact information for media relations staff is very comprehensive, and they also clarify who to contact for what type of information. One of the best things here are all of the phone numbers provided along with the email addresses. Not listing phone numbers in online press rooms is often a pet peeve of journalists. They also clarify on this page how to reach local chapters for information and where to go if you don’t need the communications staff and are not a journalist. This helpfulness surely assists people in finding the right contact.

Offers photos, audio and video. The American Heart Association & American Stroke Association’s press area does a nice job with photos, showing you a variety of images organized by topic, and they also offer audio and video. When you download an image, they also ask users to agree to the terms of use for the images, which is a great way to spell out how you expect for the images you offer to be used and ensure that they are used correctly. In case you are curious about their terms of use for images, here they are: ” Images, audio and videos from this newsroom site are protected by copyright. Permission to use this multimedia is granted to credentialed news media for non-commercial editorial purposes only. Any other use is strictly prohibited without prior written authorization from the Association. These images may be cropped and include the American Heart Association courtesy. Audio/video may be edited however AHA/ASA copyrighted animation may not be altered in order to retain accuracy.” They also have a great linking policy that makes it clear what the rules are for linking to their sites.

Makes it easy to find current news. There’s a latest news area on the press room home page, and then an option for more news, where you find all the different categories of news.

Provides an option for journalists to sign up to get on the embargoed news distribution list. Because the association issues comments or news under embargo, their press room has a section where journalists can sign up to receive embargoed press releases. I like this option for organizations that issue embargoed news regularly, as it levels the playing field for journalists. Association staff are not making guesses in a large media list about which reporters are the best to send embargoed information to and if reporters aren’t on their list, they aren’t put in the position of having to cast around and get the release from another journalist or organization that might have received it. You don’t see this type of feature often in nonprofit press rooms unless they deal with a lot of scientific news, so this is a great one to see. If you have questions about how embargoes and exclusives work, see my blog post.

Clarifies how information is used and distributed. This association distributes a tremendous volume of information. There are statistics updates on heart disease, the main issue the AHA works on, as well as lots of supporting fact sheets and materials for different populations. Because the association publishes medical guidelines and scientific statements on various cardiovascular disease and stroke topics, there is a lot of background information offered and available, including pocket cards for quick referencing.

Offers organizational tools for sorting information. Because they issue so much news, it’s key for this press room to have sorting capabilities. This is done with a content tagging system. At the time of this writing, it offers 1,305 news releases, information for 25 different conferences and meetings, and 4.731 pieces of multimedia. See this search page for a rundown on the voluminous variety of content available.

Links to social media. There’s a link to the association’s social media hub on the home page for the news room, allowing journalists to easily see what the association is sharing in real-time.

Ami Neiberger-Miller is a public relations strategist and writer. She is the founder of Steppingstone LLC, an independent PR practice near Washington, D.C. that provides public relations counsel, social media engagement, writing services, and creative design for publications and websites (contact to discuss your projectreview our portfoliosign up for our e-newsletter). She blogs about media relations, social media, public relations, and work-family balance. Follow her on Twitter @AmazingPRMaven

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