By Jeff Kline

Blog

Increase Membership With The New Online Media Room

Thursday, June 21, 2012

"…An online media room can move your buyers into and through the sales process, resulting in more business…and contributing to meeting your organization’s real goals of revenue and customer retention."

- David Meerman Scott, The New Rules of Marketing and PR

An online media room is what was once called the “News” section of your website. Traditionally, a media room is built specifically for the journalists who will (hopefully) write a story about your organization. 

BUT, as many aspects of marketing and web development evolve, new ideas about the use of an online media room have emerged. Today’s media room is significantly enhanced with rich mediums such as video, blogs, podcasts and images to engage a wider array of visitors.

 

THE NEW ONLINE MEDIA ROOM

Design your online media room for your buyers.

That’s the bold idea David Meerman Scott presents in his book The New Rules of Marketing & PR.

According to Scott, the online media room has evolved into a resource for consumers (in your chamber’s case, current members, prospective members and local citizens) in addition to journalists. 

Consider this – when prospective members are researching your chamber, there’s a good chance they’ll be digging around in your online media room. Now is the time to begin leveraging your chamber’s online media room as a valuable tool for membership marketing.

You might be worried about alienating journalists, but don’t fret! Filling your online media room with consumer-focused content will also benefit journalists by providing them with the kind of information their audience wants to read.

Now that you understand the strategy, the next step is to determine the right information to share in your chamber’s media room.

 

THE “NEEDS ANALYSIS”

Before you begin to fill your online media room with content, perform a needs analysis. Simply ask consumers and journalists point blank – “What information do you need?” 

Questions for consumers (members, prospects and local citizens):

  • Do you prefer to read news articles or watch videos?
  • What benefits are you looking for in a chamber membership?
  • Are you more interested in business education or public policy?

Questions for journalists: 

  • What is your favorite subject matter? 
  • Do you prefer graphics or photographs to embellish your stories?
  • What day of the week do you publish articles?

Performing a consumer needs analysis could be as simple as posting a poll on your website or Facebook page. As for journalists, a quick phone call and a few simple questions should work. (Most journalists will be appreciative of your efforts to make their jobs easier!)

 

10 ONLINE MEDIA ROOM MUST-HAVES:

Now that you know what information is most valuable to both audiences, you can begin to fill your online media room with the proper content. Make sure your media room leverages several different mediums.

1) Online press kit  –  Provide your chamber’s background information (history, executive biographies, department factsheets, etc.) in a downloadable press kit. This will give journalists all the tiny details they need, and will act as a great takeaway for prospective members.

2) News releases  –  Be sure your chamber’s news archives are up-to-date, searchable and easy to browse.

3) Blog posts  –  Extend the reach of blog posts by republishing them in your online media room.

4) Third-party news  –  News and blog posts written by outside sources increase your chamber’s credibility.

5) Contact information  –  Provide the name and phone number of your public relations director and other department heads. Journalists will want to set up interviews, and prospective members might have some questions of their own.

6) Images  –  Provide images to accompany news stories – preferably original photography and graphics. Stock images lack authenticity, and journalists and prospects are interested only in the truth.

7) Video  –  Journalists will love having dynamic multimedia content to add to their stories, and video allows prospects to see your chamber in action.

8) Podcasts  –  Store all of your chamber’s audio-recorded speaking events in one location.

9) RSS  –  Provide visitors with the option of receiving chamber updates in their inboxes.

10) Guidelines and policies  –  Clarify the proper use of chamber terminology, image copyright policies and any other concerns you might have about sharing your chamber’s media.

CHAMBER SPOTLIGHT:

The Georgia Chamber website features a robust media room (which they call the “Press Room”). The main media room page provides contact information and a list of news article links. Subpages within the media room are organized in a dropdown menu and a side navigation bar. These subpages include news, newsletter archives, annual reports and videos. On the right sidebar, upcoming events are updated automatically. And multiple RSS feeds allow visitors to subscribe to updates on specific topics.

Georgia Chamber of Commerce website - online media room

When building your own media room, consider mimicking the Georgia Chamber’s use of a simple navigation and a variety of mediums.  

***

I know today's post was a long one, but that's how important I believe these “New Rules” to be for chamber websites. I think the new online media room is such a smart strategy for engaging prospective members and journalists. So if you only take away one lesson from today's post, let it be this:

Build your media room for existing and prospective members.

 

YOUR THOUGHTS

  • What’s the most interesting media room feature you’ve encountered? Has anything like a terrific portfolio, video series or cleverly-designed archive made your research easier?
  • What are your opinions on David Meerman Scott’s “New Rules?” Do you agree or disagree?

Share your thoughts in an email or comment!

 

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