Launching NC Headlines - A News Release Site for NC Businesses
As an agency, we’ve also kept tabs on local, North Carolina news. Along with social media and local news outlets, we also subscribe to a few local news release sites. One of our favorites was Carolina Newswire. When they stopped adding releases a few months ago it seemed like an excellent chance for us to build a site that could fill that void, particularly since we work with several advertising and PR firms and could provide them with another resource for promoting their client’s news. So, after a few weeks of work we're happy to officially launch NC Headlines.
When we started to build the site, we looked at what we liked about similar sites and also areas that we could improve.
One of the first things that jumped out to us was Search Engine Optimization. Many online news release websites were missing the mark with some fairly basic best practices, such as search-friendly URLs and properly coded page structures. SEO is a big part of why companies distribute these releases and it’s not uncommon for them to appear on the front page of Google search results for a company's name.
A second area was social media – connecting with customers via social media is all but required these days, and a standard press release boilerplate just doesn't cut it anymore. In our releases, we added prominent links to the company's website and blog and automatically pull in recent activity from their social media accounts when available. Together, these connections provide much better live context to an individual release. We also made it easy to embed video and multimedia along with the standard text of a release to give the release a more visual and interactive feel.
A final area we took a close look at was distribution and automation. We wanted to build a site that could operate without a lot of day-to-day interaction on our end – we’re in the web business and didn’t want to become full-time editors. Using HiFi, our website content management system, we built the site to accept online submissions without any need for sign-ups or account creation. Once a release is submitted, we can give it a quick review and then publish it to the site. Once on the site, the releases are automatically shared via Twitter, RSS and in a daily email digest to subscribers. We also took steps to make the process simple for repeat submissions by storing company data in our databases, which in turn creates a catalog of releases for each company.
We really hope NC Headlines serves as a resource for local businesses. It will always be free to use and we will continue to develop and improve it over time. If you have a suggestion or comment, we’d love to hear your thoughts and feedback below!