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Online Newsrooms and Brand Journalism: Survey Shows Media Acceptance of Corporate Storytelling in Press Centers


August 1, 2014

Early on, media relations professionals had to rely upon their technical team to post a list of press releases to the company website.
 
With the advent of the content management system, corporate communicators were enabled to add and edit additional content such as executive biographies, events and multimedia, as well as update fact sheets and press kits and then distribute email alerts. Technology allowed the simple press release archive to evolve into a complete online newsroom that served as a central communications headquarters for all of the company’s press materials. Soon thereafter, blogs and social media content were also integrated into the media center.

Today’s technology transformed the simple press release archive into a complete online newsroom that served as a central communications headquarters for all of the company’s press materials. Then, companies also integrated blogs and social media content  into the media center.

Digital communications has expanded to incorporate articles that an organization writes and publishes, with the intentions of telling the company’s story, creating loyalty and engaging consumers.

Depending on the goal of the organization, it can post branded content as either a separate section of the online newsroom itself or in a stand-alone website. Coca-Cola, Red Bull, Adidas Group and Merck are leading examples of companies that leverage brand journalism online to varying degrees.

Today’s online newsroom

Results from the 2014 BusinessWire Media Survey show that the online newsroom is still the foremost destination for journalists, after the organization’s main website.

More than 60 percent of the 300 participating North American journalists are receptive to brand-written articles interspersed alongside editorial content in online newsrooms, the study found. A few naysayers (7 percent) still feel that branded articles do not belong in the media center, and 24 percent state that they don’t care about articles or stories that the organization writes.

The greatest areas of interest for branded content include industry trends, products and services, events, financial, customer-related and executive-related articles.

The media survey also indicated interest in brand stories that relate to their individual beat (32 percent) or to the company’s business (28 percent).

Popular press releases

Even though journalists now accept brand articles, nearly 90 percent of the media surveyed still select the press release as the most desired type of content in the online newsroom.

More than half of the media surveyed preferred that companies provide the press release in an HTML/text format instead of a PDF. And while nearly a third of the group favored access to the complete historical archive of press releases, more than half are satisfied with at least one to five years of past press releases made available.

Following press releases as the most sought-after type of content within an online newsroom are: breaking news items (87 percent), media relations contact information (80 percent), fact sheets (69 percent), images (63 percent), press kits (53 percent) and executive biographies (52 percent).

To learn more about the latest insights on press releases and online newsrooms, download the 2014 BusinessWire Media Survey.

Ibrey Woodall As vice president of Web communications services, Ibrey Woodall is responsible for BusinessWire’s NewsHQ Online Newsroom and InvestorHQ Investor Center products. She has been involved in launching online newsrooms and investor centers for Fortune 500 companies. Contact her via email: at Ibrey.Woodall@BusinessWire.com, or on Twitter: @IbreyWoodall.



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