Today HSBC announced the launch of their social media newsroom:

It features press releases with sharing icons, a module for the latest releases (overkill?), videos, photos, and their Twitter feed.

Social media newrooms are starting to be the ‘in’ thing in UK financial services by the look of it. It started with those lovely ladies from First Direct a couple of years ago:

The target audience of these newrooms are journalists (and I guess any consumers who might be interested) and featured their latest content including press releases, videos, photos, and podcasts. I think what’s great about this model is that it emphasises the importance of ‘juicy’ content like videos etc. Content like this is attractive to both journalists and the public, and promotes First Direct as a forward-thinking brand.

Other brands have tended to use variations on a pretty standard press release centre model, often called ‘media centres’ but there’s so much that could be improved. Here are some press release areas on other banking sites:

RBS | Nationwide | Lloyds Banking Group | Metro Bank

Press releases can be very important to brands, they want publicity, but at the same time there are some releases that need to be written but need a more limited audience. For journalists there are lots of factors that influence what they can publish. But the presentation can affect what journalists and bloggers pick up on.

So from the perspective of a journo/brand rep here’s my ultimate newsroom design:

My thoughts are that there’s no point in having a nice shiny ‘social’ press page without it being helpful. So I’d make the contact details very clear for a start. Links to the companies social profiles help as does a proper search function. Journalists need to be able to search releases by keywords and dates not just through a few tags.

From a brand perspective, the more people we can connect with the better, so an email sign-up for a press release email would be a must for me. I’d also want to be able to prioritise my most interesting content (as long as it was still relevant). The the latest content could descend down the page. No need to repeat ourselves with a ‘latest’ article feed. Also, why not put all types of content in the feed? Surely there’s no need to segregate everything.

Each release should be dated for obvious reasons and contain photos and interesting and original visual content if possible (no stock images). It should also allow the user to email it straight to their email at the touch of a button ‘READ LATER’. I’m not sure it helps to have Facebook and Twitter sharing icons because surely press releases have the most impact when published off site?

Perhaps a bit contraversial but instead of a Twitter feed, why not share other people’s opinions? A feed of comments about the brand will allow the journalists to see what people think about this news. Though it should be emphasised that the information should be treated carefully, and to copy the opinions they will need to ask the individuals involved. And if you really felt that you needed to edit the feed, it could of course be done manually.

Not on my doodle:

It should also be easy for journalists to find content they need to create a story. It should be clear how journalists can download photos, videos and obtain a quote and the rules behind using that information.

In this day and age how about a Google alerts option next to the RSS feed? If an editor is interested in your brand, help them keep on top of the latest news!

Anyone else got any thoughts on their ideal news/media room? There are some great examples by non-financial brands which I might look into another time.

4 responses »

  1. Amanda Brown, PR Manager at first direct says:

    Hi Charlotte – thanks for the link and comment. We’re always looking to improve our newsroom to make it as useful as possible for journalists and bloggers – we do this through providing rich, easily accessible and shareable content, with functions that allow people to interact and use it however they wish.

    Your ‘ultimate newsroom’ design and journalistic insight is interesting- we’ve already been looking at implementing new features over the coming months and I’d be happy to discuss these further with you!


    • Charlotte Clark says:

      Great to hear Amanda. I’ve always admired FD’s approach. I’d love to chat about it, feel free to email me:


      Sent from my iPhone

  2. […] I’m happy to say that my blog post about social media newsrooms was picked up by none other than the fab people at First Direct, great that they’re listening […]

  3. […] most memorable example of an opinion barometer in my opinion, and I’ve often mentioned mentioned them in the past, is First Direct, who collected positive and negative thoughts from their customers in a lovely […]

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