The Online Newsroom Debate: Combine or Split Out Financial Data

September 12, 2014

In this piece by Ibrey Woodall, Business Wire’s VP of web communication services, we take a closer look at the various ways public companies present their company news to reporters, analysts and other parties.

IR-site-or-online-newsroom

Some online newsrooms combine public relations, branded content and investor information on one single landing page. While this allows all interested parties access to a wide range of content, many experts have noted that the experience these newsrooms present are not customized enough to produce significant results.

The other option is to decouple company and branded content from investor information by creating two sites, an online newsroom and an IR site that link to each other as needed. Since each audience has such differing goals when visiting the company’s site, this allows each section of the website to be tailored enough to the visitor that it drives higher rates of adoption of content and alignment with the company message itself.

What type of corporate online newsroom does your company have?  And why should you care?  (Hint –over 70 percent of reporters access the company’s news page when writing a story).  Read more here to find out which set up works best for you and your goals.


Brand Journalism and the Evolution of Online Newsrooms

August 6, 2014

In the August 2014 issue of PRSA Tactics, Business Wire’s VP of Web Communications Ibrey Woodall reflects on how the online newsroom has matured from a basic press release archive to a central communications headquarters complete with brand articles. Although a very few journalists (only 7 percent) still believe that company-written articles do not belong in the news center, results from the 2014 Business Wire Media Survey illustrate that more than 60 percent of reporters are receptive to brand journalism.

Brand Article Types of Interest to ReportersRead the article “Online Newsrooms and Brand Journalism: Survey Shows Media Acceptance of Corporate Storytelling in Press Centers” to learn more about how organizations can create special content sections within their online newsroom. Content that helps relay a company’s history and industry focus, enhancing both brand loyalty and search engine optimization.


Critical Content for an IR Site: Press Releases Most Viewed Within Investor Centers

January 13, 2014
Ibrey Woodall, VP, Web Communication Services

Ibrey Woodall, VP, Web Communication Services

By Ibrey Woodall, VP, Web Communications Services

We’ve heard from naysayers for years now that the press release is dead, especially within the financial industry. The statistical truth, however, is that the press release is, by far, the most accessed type of content within an investor relations center, or IR site.

At Business Wire, we work with thousands of publicly traded companies to disseminate press releases containing important financial data. Many of those organizations have also partnered with Business Wire to host their IR site. As we monitored these sites, we noted that the most popular content ranked as follows for 2013:

  1. Press Releases
  2. Events and presentations
  3. Executive biographies
  4. Annual reports and other financial documents
  5. Analyst coverage

With hundreds of thousands of views, the press release reigns supreme as it is viewed almost seven times more than events and presentations, the second most preferred content type. Views for all content types increased from 2012 to 2013. Interestingly enough, executive biographies grew over 300 percent, passing annual reports by a level.

I’ve always championed the frequently asked questions or FAQ section, particularly for the IR site, and it is next in line after the top five content types above. Financial communications can be complex at times, and investors, analysts and financial reporters have a lot of questions they need answered quickly. It makes it straightforward for all parties if the most common questions are provided with the most current answers.

Due to the demand for press releases, it is vital that they post simultaneously and directly to the IR site as they are distributed via the newswire. Categorizing releases not only by date, but also by subject matter, will make them easier to review and manage.


KISS an Online Newsroom

August 8, 2012
By Ibrey Woodall, VP, Web Communications Services, Business Wire
Ibrey Woodall

Ibrey Woodall, VP, Web Communication Services


“What I’m hearing is KISS — Keep it Simple, Stupid — correct?” exclaimed one of the 70+ attendees during Business Wire’s “Meet the Media” luncheon. The discussion for this Atlanta-based session covered how the media uses online newsrooms. As moderator of this session, I turned and looked at the panelists to answer this outburst. All three replied with vigorous, affirmative nods.

The panel consisted of Anita Sharpe, Bureau Chief, Editor-at-Large for Bloomberg News; Jeremiah McWillams, Business Reporter at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution; and Stephen Brown,EVP/Managing Director, Cohn & Wolfe-Atlanta. Each panelist shared their personal insights about challenges and usage of online newsrooms by the media. This included keeping the online newsroom simple and straightforward with easy access to news specifically about the organization.

For many years, I’ve surveyed journalists on what they want in an online newsroom. I’ve also surveyed communicators on how they manage their online newsroom. I use this valuable feedback to make sure that Business Wire’s NewsHQ product contains the best features and functionality. I enjoy listening to the horror stories, and seeing journalists get worked up about obstacles in some of the online newsrooms that they visit.

Atlanta "Online Newsrooms" media panel

(L-R) Jeremiah McWilliams, Atlanta Journal-Constitution; Anita Sharpe, Bloomberg News; Stephen Brown, Cohn & Wolfe-Atlanta and Ibrey Woodall, Business Wire discuss how media use online newsrooms.

Although all agreed that an online newsroom is a necessity for any organization, below are simple points that have caused frustration for these particular panelists.

  • Excessive clicks from the corporate site to the newsroom
  • Complicated navigation and design
  • Uncategorized press releases
  • Absence of press releases distributed via wire services
  • Dearth of historical press releases
  • Press releases in PDF format only
  • Omission of dates in press releases
  • Lack of fact sheets
  • Insufficient birth dates for executives
  • Missing subject matter experts
  • Unavailability of email alerts
  • Forced registration/password-protected content
  • Inadequate updates during a crisis situation
  • Failure to provide media contact phone numbers and email addresses

All of these frustrations are easy to avoid with a proper online newsroom. There was one request made; however, that I’m not sure will ever be available in an online newsroom – cell phone numbers for chief executive officers.


PRWeek Takes a Look at Business Wire’s NewsHQ

July 31, 2012


Since its debut nearly two years ago, NewsHQ (and its IR counterpart, InvestorHQ) has made quite an impact, with dozens of companies adopting our versatile, dynamic online newsroom solution.

Today, PRWeek takes a look at NewsHQ, through a Q&A with Tonia Elrod, associate director of global communications, digital and e-commerce for Procter & Gamble. An excerpt:

How does it serve your business needs?

It helps us communicate to the news media and other influencers more efficiently. We now have one place they can go to get all the information they need. We didn’t have newsrooms before this. We’d have to email or call them with information.

Media or influencers can sign up for alerts so we can send out alerts to everyone at the same time now. This has helped us reach media and influencers who we know want to receive information, versus guessing who wants to receive it.

Overall, it’s more efficient for P&G and more real-time for the news media.

Click through to read more on how P&G is using NewsHQ to streamline their global media relations operations globally (and a few nice words about Business Wire as well!).


Online Newsroom or Investor Center – Your Message Must be Mobile

May 21, 2012
by Ibrey Woodall, VP, Web Communications Services
Ibrey Woodall

Ibrey Woodall, VP, Web Communications Services

I have weekly, often daily, conversations with communicators at Fortune 500 companies. These discussions focus on online newsrooms and investor centers. More and more, I see these top-notch professionals realize that their communications center should be optimized for mobile access.

Whether your message is for investors and analysts or journalists and bloggers, you cannot ignore the fact that your audience is a moving target. And that moving target has a smartphone.

Two years ago, only 18 percent of U.S. mobile subscribers owned a smart phone device. Today, it is 44 percent according to Nielsen. If you need more statistics to convince you of the mobile momentum, the Pew Research Center reports that a third (34%) of all desktop/laptop news consumers also use their smartphone to access news.

So the question isn’t whether you need your online newsroom or investor center optimized for mobile devices, it is how quickly you can make it happen. Other points to consider include which platforms your mobile-optimized online newsroom or investor center will support; how investors, analysts, or journalists will find your mobile site; if your mobile site is legible; if you will be able to view mobile site statistics; and whether you need a mobile application or a mobile website.

Luckily, mobile-optimized sites should be clean and uncomplicated since we are talking about a very small screen. Therefore, the mobile-optimized version of your online newsroom or investor center should take no longer than two weeks to launch. All major platforms (iPhone, BlackBerry, Android) should be supported, and when a member of your target audience visits your online newsroom or investor center, their smartphone should automatically redirect to the mobile version for better viewing.

Simple design is the key to a good user experience when it comes to mobile sites. Shy away from use of graphics that carry a large file size, and keep the code clean. As with any other site, you should have access to analytics so that you will know the number of page views and unique users garnered by your mobile online newsroom or investor center.

Although there are very good reasons to create a mobile application, Business Wire offers the mobile-optimized version. It’s faster and less expensive to provide to communicators with deadline concerns and budget limitations. It’s also searchable via Google so target audiences have a greater chance of finding company news, information and other content types including press kits, stock quotes, and contacts. And, as we’ve seen, web browsers will continue to gain speed, while an individual platform may not necessarily have an indefinite lifespan.

If you have questions concerning NewsHQ Mobile online newsrooms or InvestorHQ Mobile investor centers, contact your local Business Wire representative.


InvestorHQ and NewsHQ Now Available

September 14, 2010

We teased you with them a couple of months ago — now they’re finally available. InvestorHQ and NewsHQ, our new online investor center and online newsroom products, are here for your company to build and better your web presence.

Take a look at today’s press release, and view the two slideshows below that outline some of the terrific features to be found in NewsHQ and InvestorHQ.

To learn more about the NewsHQ online newsroom and InvestorHQ investor center, please email HQ@businesswire.com.


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