When I joined Masdar Institute, their online news was buried a few level deep on their main university website. Their focus had been primarily on print press releases for media coverage. I saw this as a missed opportunity. The University had excellent material to base their stories on, and a great team to develop eye-catching stories.
Additionally, research has shown that 89% of journalists use blogs to find stories, and 91% use search engines. So, a great news website not only helps to reach audiences directly – it also helps in increasing traditional print and digital coverage through existing media outlets.
To leverage their strengths and carry the Institute’s communications into the digital age, I led the development of a dedicated news website. I also set up a dedicated editorial team to lead the customization of press releases for the news website and the development of a much more diverse range of digital-only content.
The news website has been a great success. The site is far more visual and intuitive than the manner in which the news was previously displayed. Our audience feedback has been excellent, and the news itself is better indexed by search engines and more share-friendly.
Additionally, alongside the news website, we launched a monthly newsletter to highlight these news stories to our email subscriber list. Our stakeholders have show great interest in receiving our news this way, and we are currently exploring the launch of additional ‘editions’ of the newsletter (for alumni, students, etc).