Nine Must-Haves for the Social Media Newsroom of My Dreams

by Shannon Paul on July 28, 2009

[tweetmeme source=”@shannonpaul”]
After more than a year of visualizing, planning, dreaming, wishing and writing about this for a variety of projects, I’m happy to inform you that my dream of building a social media newsroom will come true very soon.

I can’t divulge the details quite yet, but after more than a year of dreaming and planning for a variety of past projects, one will finally come to fruition very soon under my direction with the help of a fantastic team.

Basically, a social media newsroom can be built on a blog platform, or one that functions similar to a blog platform with the ability to tag and sort content, an archive, the ability to have search queries within the site with posted items in reverse-chronological order.

In case you don’t know, Todd Defren at SHIFT Communications was the first to create a template for this sort of thing and if you haven’t heard of it or him, you should definitely check out both.

In a social media newsroom, press releases (or other items of interest) are posted like blog entries in reverse chronological order. They can also contain multimedia elements like video and images. This way press releases can be served up to visitors on the site as part of an entire meal – text, images, video, etc. or  ala carte.

Beyond that, here is a list of nine additional must-haves for the social media newsroom of my dreams:

  1. Every item in a social media newsroom should have its own URL – this is a prerequisite to having portable content that can be embedded and shared in other social networks.
  2. Every item should be embeddable and shareable – don’t make people consume your content at your place – there are much better ways to get people to opt in other than coercion and withholding.
  3. Screen shots of your website tagged and properly indexed for search – there are lots of possibilities with this one depending on what kind of business you have and how much is conducted online
  4. Logos – shareable, embeddable (not just downloadable) logos for others to use when they write about you
  5. Bios of executive leadership and others – bios complete with links to social profiles and headshots that are embeddable and properly tagged for search.
  6. The opportunity to include hyperlinked attribution to every piece of content to make sure your site gets the SEO benefits as well as the opportunity to attract new visitors
  7. Embeddable slide decks with visuals to accompany press materials and serve your growing customer base with eBooks and helpful graphics.
  8. A calendar with executive appearances, and other relevant events
  9. The ability to comment on everything and submit feedback

Am I missing anything?

If you could create the social media newsroom of your dreams, how would you use it to facilitate word of mouth and attract interest from customers and members of the media? If you’re a journalist, would you find something like this helpful?

Please share your ideas here in the comments — I’m interested to see where we can take this.

Photo by freebird4
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{ 33 comments… read them below or add one }

July 28, 2009 Aden Davies 1

What a fantastic list. The first social media newsroom in our organisation only has a few of these items. I will send on this link and see if they can add the rest…

As for dream newsroom I think you have everything covered…assuming this newsroom will be beautifully designed and the most usable site ever ;)


July 28, 2009 Shannon Paul 2


Usability is key. I can’t imagine many things more usable than blogs for delivering content- even I can find my way around a blog. :-)


July 28, 2009 esagor 3

Great list! Seems to me that a very similar list would apply to nonprofit education and outreach organizations, and I like the “newsroom” concept.

We’re currently building a lot of this into a new Extension website. Our feature list is at (scroll down to “what this all means for the rebuild).

As in your newsroom concept, we want to make content easy to search, easy for others to embed, with clear attribution and links. Personal profiles of contributors is important too, and we also hope to build in and encourage Ning-style profiles for readers to use the site not just as a one-way delivery platform but a place to gather and build knowledge.

Thanks for the distilling this into a list and sharing the newsroom concept! I’ll check Todd’s links for more.


July 28, 2009 Shannon Paul 4


Definitely! I would love to see the site when it’s finished. It sounds like you’re trying to build a community – that’s a great goal. Please keep me posted, or feel free to reach out. Also, Francois Gossieaux (@fgossieaux on Twitter) is a fantastic resource for businesses seeking to build online communities as is Amber Naslund (@ambercadabra on Twittter) and Connie Bensen (@cbensen).


July 28, 2009 tom martin 5


Congrats. Would love to see this as soon as it goes live… doing a SocMe preso to media types on Aug 13 and would love to reference. LMK


July 28, 2009 Shannon Paul 6

Thanks, Tom.

Will do – I’ll ping you when it’s up and running.


July 28, 2009 Stuart 7

Awesome. Seeing Todd’s example when it first came out was revolutionary to me. It demonstrated how old and new media could mix effectively. However, it looks antiquated by today’s standards (the networks, practices and a variety of other things needed to be updated). Now that it has been? Sweet. Love selling this.


July 28, 2009 Shannon Paul 8


Honestly, the antiquated part is helpful. Blogging, for me, has been like Internet school. I think people like us often take for granted the steps and processes involved in working with those less steeped in using this technology to communicate. The only thing that seems out of place to me at this point is the emphasis on Technorati, but Technorati is still relevant in some ways. However, the ideas are still revolutionary to most of the business world.


July 28, 2009 Dominic Litten 9

We built our pressroom template in WordPress last year and are currently working on a new version for the fall.

Here it is in action:

As you can see, some of those items you referenced are included (though some aren’t). While I certainly don’t agree with your entire wishlist (commenting for everything?), at least you know what you want.


July 28, 2009 Shannon Paul 10


Comments show engagement and interactivity – also pingbacks and trackbacks have SEO benefits as well as show indication of linked contact to newer visitors. I also think showing entire posts rather than simply listing headlines out of context boosts user experience and has search benefits as well. I certainly don’t think every business has to use the same model, but the spirit behind sharing content and boosting SEO value for the business’ domain has alot of value beyond traditional PR.


July 30, 2009 Dominic Litten 11

I agree, comments do show interactivity and there is value in traffic/caching in trackbacks and pingbacks. But comments on everything (like calendars) may be pushing it.

As for search value for posting entire articles one page, give me headlines and new pages any day of the week. Wouldn’t you think five pages with unique titles/metas, unique content, optimized URL, internal linking, etc. would be more SEO-friendly than one really long page?


July 28, 2009 Mike Billeter 12

To reflect the sentiments of the other commenters, this list is great and should be shared with anyone in an organization responsible for a PR/Social Media newsroom. Even the little things like having logos available is a step that is so easy to overlook, but would definitely make my efforts easier as a writer and blogger when referring to other people’s work.

Needless to say, I’ll be taking my own advice and utilizing these thoughts in order to soup up our SM Newsroom. And, to at least answer one of your questions, as a former journalist, sites that used this list certainly would’ve made my efforts much, much easier. Great post, Shannon.


July 28, 2009 Shannon Paul 13


Thanks for the feedback – as a peer and a former journalist, your validation speaks volumes. I’d love to see what you cook up for your newsroom. These are my favorite things!


July 28, 2009 Chris Bechtel 14

Hey Shannon -

Congrats on getting the social media newsroom of your dreams – too bad it took so long. Why is that? Technology challenges, budget challenges, time challenges, approval and exec. management challenges?

@ipressroom (disclosure, I work for iPressroom, a firm who licenses CMS software for PR to deploy online newsrooms, podcast sites and microsites), we can roll out new online newsrooms in just a few weeks and they have all the social media tools (as well as years of best practices) for managing content already built-in.

The challenge for most clients is more related to organizational support and actual content development – who is going to produce the content and who will manage all of these “conversations”? iPressroom clients can enable comments on almost any piece of content – but most don’t because they lack organizational support, policies in place, and the resources to manage direct conversations with the public.

As far as other newsroom features to consider – I’d add:

- fully branded and integrated with the main corporate website (to increase credibility).
- part of the main corporate domain so that inbound links to the newsroom boost the overall linkweight of the main site
- surveys and polls
- event registration and management (online or offline events)
- possible password protected area or high-resolution image download
- Automated Email alerts (old school I know) by content category
- RSS Feeds (of course) by content category and type
- Social media sharing built into every content piece
- Video in an integrated flash HD capable media player (on your site and on YouTube, MetCafe, etc.)
- Regular live web events and sign-up
- Pre-approved crisis content configured and ready to publish to your newsroom homepage.

So, I applaud you in the great content you produce and your ability to get organizational support to do it. I am sure your newsroom will be really successful because you are producer of high-quality (relevant and engaging) content.

Look forward to seeing it!


July 28, 2009 Shannon Paul 15


Thanks for adding to the list and for all the compliments. Although, truth be told, I think there’s a good deal of duplication in most of what you added. A lot of the additional features listed are things that basic blog platforms already do with little to no work- email alerts (not old school at all), RSS, sharing, surveys and polls, as well as having any other platform integrated into the business’ domain.

Disclosure – I’m skeptical of any press room platform’s ability to outpace WordPress when it comes to things like resolving duplicate content from an SEO standpoint, and ease of use. I understand a lot of businesses may want to have someone set up the technology and have access to technical support. But, when you compare any white label solution to the capabilities of a free, open-source solution with an entire community of some of the world’s best developers devoted to making it do just about anything, I can’t help but be skeptical.

Also, if you knew me better you might know that I’m new to my current position and this has been more than a year in the making because of other companies I’ve worked for — one that included an agency where I helped plan a number of projects I wasn’t able to stick around to see to fruition. You might also know how I feel about comment marketing in general and comments-disguised-as-pitches.


July 29, 2009 Claire Celsi 16

I was thinking the same thing as I was reading his comment and it made me smile. Then I read your comment and it made me laugh. :~)


July 29, 2009 Shannon Paul 17

Thanks, Claire — good to know *someone* enjoys my occasional snark :-)


November 10, 2009 mark 18

nice reply shannon. thankfully chris’s pitch, err post probably made more people laugh at what a d-bag post that was than click through to his website :)


August 28, 2009 Dee Rambeau 19

Hey Shannon,
good stuff here. The point that Chris is making is that the “technology” for making these wonderful newsrooms has been around for years. Wordpress is just one of the dozens of good CMS options for making a quality microsite…newsroom…product launch site…trade show site…crisis site…etc. Your affection for Wordpress is great but WP is truly only one option among many…and there are many like iPressroom, MediaRoom, etc. that have specific social media newsroom features and a significant “tested” user base.

As a SME in the space, I wanted to log in…Chris’s pitch is valid. We have been evangelizing quality newsrooms together for years…even as competitors. Your “wish list” is something we’ve been “pitching” for many, many years. The strategy that you lay out is the key…the “tool” has been available.


July 28, 2009 Rex Riepe 20

Looking forward to what you’re cooking up.

When you say embeddable images, do you mean including the HTML code, or did you have something different in mind (like Flickr)?


July 29, 2009 Shannon Paul 21


Great question!

I think both work well for the intended purposes, but having the images on your own domain (if you have server space) gives you the added SEO benefit. To make them embeddable on your own site, you don’t necessarily need to provide code — you just need to have the image stored with its own URL. That way all people have to do is right click on the image and copy the link location to plug the image into their own online content.

On the other hand, using a service like Flickr means that you’re keeping your images in a place where people specifically go to look for usable images. It really comes down to choosing the best option for your business — if server space and security are issues for you, Flickr might be the best option. If getting every little bit of extra online traffic helps you meet your business goals, figuring out a way to store them on your domain might work best.

Some choose to do both, but it really comes down to knowing your own internal capabilities and identifying what method of sharing will help you achieve the overall business goals.

Sheesh — I could do an entire post on this. Thanks for asking!


July 29, 2009 Nancy Loo 22

love it! but too busy in my traditional newsroom right now to provide much input here at this moment…


July 29, 2009 Albert 23

It’s probably implied but deserves to be called out. Use the format and medium most powerful and appropriate for the story. that means video to show human condition or make a personal connection. Audio if the topic and personalities do not demand visual attention. Why? because it is more convenient for the user of the content. More convenience means more likely to be consumed.


July 29, 2009 Claire Celsi 24

Congratulations on your soon-to-be-completed social media newsroom! Can’t wait to see it. Also, one point that I think is missing: Social media newsrooms are not really for the “media” per se. It’s very helpful for sneaking right by the media and leaving a trail of information for your consumer to discover herself.


July 29, 2009 Shannon Paul 25

Good point. Social media newsrooms are for everyone. :-)


July 29, 2009 Lisa Thorell 26

Great list. Now if your visual presentation could approach what Scania did (see )
this will be amazing!


July 29, 2009 Ellen Porter 27

We have had a virtual newsroom as you describe it since 2007.


July 30, 2009 Philippe Borremans 28

Hi Shannon,

Great list and I still can’t understand why PROs within companies (and agencies for that matter) take so long to “upgrade” their newsroom…

I have been convinced from the start that a blogging platform like WordPress would be a good one to make this easy and user friendly for most of us communications types with no IT/Web background.

So what is your solution ? A specific WordPress template you had developed ?

If so, please share it with us and I would be interested in the contact details of the developers as well, even though I am using now…


July 30, 2009 Shannon Paul 29


I will definitely update everyone with the details very soon. Although I can definitely recommend Thesis (developed by Chris Pearson). I’ve just started digging into that and (when I get around to it) plan to migrate my existing blog into a self-hosted WordPress account using Thesis as my template. Here is a link to purchase the template:


July 30, 2009 roula 30

When your newsroom launches, e-mail me. would love to do a story on it.



July 30, 2009 Shannon Paul 31

Roula -
Definitely! I can’t wait to send you the link!


July 13, 2010 Robert Goetze, twago 32

Thanks for the tips. I think some people – or experts – exaggerate the whole social media newsroom thing. Those tips are realistic and doable.


July 27, 2010 Richard A. Lewis 33

I like the part about “hyperlinked attribution” that is essential. Thank you for the article.


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