Despite popular belief and the continual espousal of the nightly network talk shows, not all news is “breaking news”. Furthermore, not everyone is interested in reading only breaking news. Sure it is nice to know the latest happenings, but more often than not, journalists, bloggers and even potential customers are doing research or searching for older stories and news releases as a means of learning more about your company. Providing a wealth of information about your organization is only half the battle. Giving users an easy-to-use path to finding that content is the other half. This falls into what is commonly known as, Search. According to a 2018 Online Newsroom Survey 96% of journalists say that Search is an important feature of an online newsroom or news website. Below are three reasons why search is such an important consideration for your news:
Not Everything Is Breaking News
As mentioned above, a significant amount of your newsroom traffic is not coming to see only today’s news release, but researching something that might be weeks or months old. Providing a powerful search function across your news that allows site visitors to find information by date range, subject matter, type of content (news, video, image) delivers an effective and lasting resource for journalists and other researchers. Giving access to an archive of photos, videos, news releases, blog posts, etc. ensures that you are creating usefulness to anyone wishing to find more information. The Toyota online newsroom is a great example of providing a detailed search engine across their entire network of videos, photos, images, logos, news releases, feature stories, and press kits. Visitors can search by keyword, product, date range, tag and type of content so that they can quickly find exactly what they are seeking.
Back in the early days of the Internet, website interface designers established an unwritten rule that the best interfaces allowed users to find any content with only “two clicks”. This holds true today as well. By leveraging “nested navigation” techniques as well as a robust search function on every page, you can ensure that users can find your content quickly. Some companies create pre-formatted or “canned” searches for popular terms such as “New Products” or a famous CEO . This allows people to quickly scan and see a popular search topic and so are only one-click from getting those results.
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As content is being created in your publishing system, ensure that you have the ability to “tag” the content with a set of pre-discussed, pre-approved keywords that match your corporate marketing program. If possible, try to standardize your tags, across the entire organization, so that you can easily cluster and group them together allowing for cohesiveness. Using a “tag cloud” is an efficient way to use search results as navigation. The tag cloud generally shows the most popular items as a bolder, larger font so that you can quickly see what is popular or most frequently being searched and clicked on.
Obviously SEO and Google Search are important parts to your overall marketing strategy. But optimizing your own internal news search engine can go a long way in providing an active and reusable resource for journalists, bloggers, researchers and potential customers who are looking to find out more about your company. Ensuring that they can search by keyword, date range and category as well as providing canned searches and tag clouds as additional interfaces will help make your site a go-to asset for those looking for more information on your industry.