Online Newsrooms: Transforming Social Media

Posts Tagged ‘Facebook

When we think about online newsrooms, we think about companies such as Ford, Toyota, Apple, Dell, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t other companies out there that have successfully mastered the art that is an effective online newsroom.

Facebook is one of those companies. Friend requests, groups, tagged photos, personal profiles; are all concepts that are very familiar to the 200 million plus current users of the most popular social network that is Facebook.  It is in the forefront of new social media and has changed the way people interact online forever, so, it is only natural that Facebook has an easy to use, yet very informative press room that follows many of the guidelines we have already discussed in previous posts. Here we will analyze Facebook’s press room, pointing out the positives and negatives.

We will begin with the positives:

Password Protect?

In creating the best newsroom possible – part 1, I talk about how Toyota found it helpful to not password protect any part of their online newsroom because they wanted everyone to have equal access to all their information. Facebook’s press room is also completely open for anyone visiting their site, going along with the fact that online newsrooms are meant to provide the public with information.

Readability

In creating the best newsroom possible – part 2, I talk about how essential the overall look of your online newsroom’s site is to people visiting and looking for information. Facebook’s press room’s home page utilizes white space effectively, drawing your attention to the important information on the page. It also has easy to read sections that are introduced with bold headlines and followed by links to the various categories. Jeremy Porter also agrees with the overall appearance of the press room in his article, “How to Build a Better Online Newsroom.” Porter analyzes four online newsrooms; Facebook being the second on the list. He comments on how Facebook’s press room looks like it is a part of Facebook, replicating the same structure, colors, font, as every other Facebook page. This repetition appeals to the target audience, since there’s a very large chance that the people viewing the press room have their own Facebook page as well and are comfortable with the set up.

Keywords

Facebook has always been smart when it comes to using keywords to promote their site and its features. For example, if you do a Google search for “Facebook statistics,” Facebook’s press room will be the first result, bringing you right to that area of their press room site.

Content

I was personally very impressed with the amount and variety of information available on Facebook’s press room site. They offer fact sheets regarding every aspect of the company; they have bios of both the current executives and the founders; they even have b-roll videos that further discuss certain topics. Porter talks about how impressed he is with the sections that give the opportunity for a viewer to request a speaker or an interview. Facebook also positively adds to its content by placing a boilerplate at the top of the main page of the press room site. It explains what Facebook actually is, and what they are hoping to accomplish with their site.

Consumer Contribution

Social media is all about getting the consumer involved, and since online newsrooms are a huge part of social media, it is important that companies give the consumer the opportunity to provide feedback and get engaged on the newsroom site. Facebook does this effectively by providing the opportunity for users to share and read unique stories about using Facebook in a Facebook Stories section. This makes Facebook’s users feel like they are involved, and gives them the sense that their thoughts and feelings really are important to Facebook.

Creating a flawless online newsroom is nearly impossible and more often than not, many companies have to work to keep up with the changing online environment and continuously add improvements to remain current. So, it is only natural that Facebook’s online press room also has some negative aspects, which are equally important to discuss.

Media Contacts

In part 1, I talk about the importance of providing media contacts in a prominent, easy to find location. Marcia Yudkin wrote in her article, “Media Friendly Online Newsrooms – Components and Best Practices“, that journalists are usually working on deadlines which means that they need accurate information quickly, and don’t want to waste time searching for the correct person(s) to contact.  Facebook’s press room does have an entire section labeled “Contacts,” so you might be wondering why I’m including this is the negatives section. The answer to that has to do with the unfortunate fact that there is not a single name, phone number, e-mail, etc., present at all in this section. The truth is I couldn’t find a single means of contacting anyone via Facebook’s online press room, which I would definitely consider a negative.

Navigation

Navigation is tricky component to master when it comes to online newsrooms. There are a few aspects that need to be considered. The first would involve the process of actually navigating people to your company’s press room. Rachel Foster wrote in her article, “Boost Your Business with an Online Newsroom- Even if You Don’t Have Any ‘Real’ News,” that either your company’s home page or primary navigation menu should have a link to their online newsroom. Facebook falls a bit short when it comes to this; there is no link to the press room on Facebook’s home page, www.facebook.com. Instead, I had to perform a Google search, in which Facebook’s press room did pop up first, but still would be more effective if was linked on their home page. The second aspect to navigation involves a search bar on the actual press room site. This helps the viewer search archives on the site, allowing them to find what they are looking for quickly and efficiently; this function is particularly important for journalists on a deadline. Unfortunately, Facebook’s press room does not have a search bar. While these are both significant issues, Facebook hasn’t completely failed when it comes to its’ press room’s navigation. They do a good job presenting links to the different pages of the press room in an easy to locate, straightforward style.

The process of analyzing and critiquing an online newsroom could inevitably go on forever. There are so many different components and guidelines that are ever-changing, that it makes it difficult to keep up with the “correct” way to manage your online newsroom. The best thing a company can do is conduct the proper research, keep up with the latest trends, and learn from their mistakes. Facebook’s press room is a prime example of a company that is doing just that.