An online press or media center is an area of a website devoted to the needs of the media. It’s important to bear in mind that although media should be considered the primary audience, they’ll hardly be the only one (see “User Base”). Given that close to 100% of working journalists research companies and executives they cover online, this is the ground zero areas of your site to serve the media.
Content includes media contact information (phone numbers and email addresses), archived press releases, downloadable press kits, executive bios and headshots, backgrounders and fact sheets, events and timelines, awards and recognitions, an “in the news” section of recent media citations, company history, and opportunities to subscribe to RSS feeds of company news and to opt in to the organization’s media email list.
Heifer International, a global charity, offers an excellent online press room. (Though “media” room is a far more appropriate name for it these days.) Contact information is front and center, so are opportunities to subscribe to news and easily access multimedia digital assets so journalists can embellish stories with images and video
Few organizations don’t seek media coverage. The purpose of a communications or public relations division is to make journalist queries, research, and requests for information easy and accessible. A digital media center serves exactly that purpose, with the added advantage of accessibility to the public, investors, or others seeking that same information. Transparency and easy access to information are in high demand and foundational to any marketing effort. That should be both the purpose and the goal of any online media center.
Designing an online media center with SEO principles in mind will also help ensure that those researching an organization via search engines will have a better chance of finding information straight from the source. Options such as mailing lists and really simple syndication (RSS) feeds can help you stay in touch and engaged with those tracking you or your industry.
The American Cancer Society understands the value of not waiting for visitors to their media pages, but making a variety of feeds available to interested users
In addition to committing time and resources into building an online media center, such an initiative obviously requires ongoing maintenance and updating
As mentioned already, an online media center is primarily for the media: members of the working press, broadcast journalists, and of course, increasingly bloggers and others who track and report company or industry news and information. Given that most organizations with a media center include them as part of their overall website (or corporate site), the content is publicly accessible and available to anyone.