Online newsrooms are a staple of most corporate websites and include everything from press releases to contact information for media relations staff to background information that journalists find useful when preparing articles.
But what does an association news center – or news room – look like? And why should an association invest time and resources into creating and maintaining a news center?
The good news is that most associations already have the content to form the foundation of a robust news center. Using a combination of articles produced for the magazine, legislative updates, conference information and traditional press releases enables an association to create and continually update a news center that is quick and easy to access.
The Virginia Asphalt Association’s News Center is a good example of the use of existing content to create a dynamic, continually-updated source of information for members, potential members, general community, journalists and anyone else seeking information about the industry.
Although many associations offer online versions of their magazines via digital flipbooks or pdfs that can be downloaded, there are limitations on how easily the content can be found by members, general public, potential members or journalists. Content in flipbook or pdf formats is not searchable and won’t appear in the results of an online search.
By taking content created for a magazine or other association publication and turning it into individual blog articles on the news center, the information will pop up in a google search for those topics. Over time, Google and other search engines will recognize the association’s news center as an expert on the industry and on specific topics, which boosts search rankings higher.
A few best practices to consider when setting up an online news center include:
- Make it easy to find with a direct link to it from the home page or a link in the “About Us” section
- Organize it by categories that make sense for your organization, such as latest, training, technical, advocacy or research
- Promote events, meetings or upcoming training on the page, with links to other pages for more information
- Keep items brief – photo with intro and link to full article
- Use photographs and graphics for visual interest
- Include contact information for public relations, membership or another appropriate person for journalists or members who want to reach out for more information
- Update the news center frequently because fresh content ensures repeat visitors and enhances search results