In the past decade, fewer industries have shifted as dramatically as the media landscape. From the rise of self-publishing to the digitization of pretty much everything, volatility and technology has completely changed how journalism is concepted and executed.

Is your company positioned to serve the ever-shifting needs of digital media?

At the beginning of April, PRESSfeed and the Society for New Communication Research released its 2015 report on media trends and how corporate online newsrooms are keeping up with all these changes.

In the report, PRESSfeed president and PR extraordinaire Sally Falkow shared 5 major trends driving the landscape:

  • There have been massive decreases in media resources due to layoffs, budget cuts, mergers, etc., which opens the door for companies providing industry news and branded content to media.
  • Search is the now most trusted mechanism for finding news and business information according to the 2015 Edelman Trust Barometer, which indicates the need for companies to create multiple, highly optimized discovery paths.
  • There is a growing demand for visual content across all publishing, but due to scarce production resources media is leaning on brands more and more to source and produce this content.
  • Due to time constraints, there is a legitimate need for a centralized digital content hub (aka newsroom) where the dwindling number of reporters can find everything they might need.
  • Data and analytics provide unprecedented insights into content performance and are a huge factor driving strategies, which means PR must use both to determine where newsroom visitors come from, what content is preferred, and what paths they take while in the newsroom.

These current trends present tremendous opportunities for brands and organizations. How the media communicates, what their needs are, and where they find news is drastically different; this places PR squarely in the media relations driver seat.

Falkow's advice: "Take advantage of all this low hanging fruit by optimizing an oft-overlooked company asset: your newsroom aka your press page."

Below are 8 elements every modern newsroom should have that will turn it into a major brand asset capable of paying out media (and customer) dividends.

1. Direct Contact for Press Inquires

One of the most frequent complaints from journalists is that company newsrooms do not provide explicit contact information for media opportunities. Clearly state the best person for media to connect and how to reach that individual. If you have various contacts for specific PR offerings, list each person's contact info along with what area they own.

2. Industry Trends and Story Idea Generator

Nothing is more helpful than a thoughtfully curated list of industry news, topics, and trends. By offering stimulating editorial ideas, you automatically position your company as an entity that sees the bigger picture. When you become a trusted source for content inspiration or story angles, you can rest assured journalists will tap you time and time again for contributions.

3. Expert Database

Journalists are constantly seeking authoritative comments, quotes, and guest content. Provide a list of your thought leaders along with their areas of expertise, so media knows who to tap and what topics they can speak intelligently about. Your newsroom is the perfect place to show off your prowess and plant the seeds for potential media opportunities.

4. Video and Image Gallery

Everyone agrees that visual content is a major media trend that will continue to have prominence. Your newsroom should boast original images, infographics, company videos, and any other image driven assets your brand owns. These may not result in direct propagation, but it will demonstrate your understanding of the power of imagery and your ability to create it.

5. Featured Owned Media

Are you a content producing powerhouse? Show off your best stuff that touts your killer writing ability, but encourages any visitor to dig in deeper.

6. Company Design Assets

This seems like a no brainer, but it is amazing how many sites don't offer bios or high resolution headshots for their senior leadership team. Don't make media search for the basics. Host everything in one place to minimize asks via email. Additionally, make sure your company logo and any other design assets are readily available, both for print or digital purposes.

7. Recent Press

#Duh. It is a press page, after all.

8. Upcoming Events

Got a panel coming up that you're moderating? Are you the keynote speaker at a conference in a few months? Let people know when and where they can find you and your company beyond the four walls of your office.

At the end of the day, your newsroom should pique interest and encourage outreach because of the inherent value you are providing. When properly "stocked" with all the essentials, this piece of your site becomes a media opportunity generator, a lead generation tool, and a discovery path for potential customers.

Be sure all changes you enact are looked at through a user experience lens. Think about how key constituents like to consume and investigate, than choose your layout accordingly.

A modern-day brand newsroom provides validation of your wide-ranging reach while extending the network effect of all your hard work. If you're looking to truly serve the needs of the shifting media industry aim for your newsroom to be helpful, organized, and informative.

Published on: Apr 17, 2015
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.