The Vanguard View: Insight for Association Websites

Association Web Design and Considerations for News Coverage

Posted by Ray van Hilst on Tue, Feb 19, 2013


We already know your association website is a destination for members. But if your mission includes “promoting the industry,” are you considering the most important audience in promoting that story?  What about journalists and the media?

We wanted to explore how association websites support public relations efforts and how organizations can tap into their website to generate news coverage. So we sat down with David Harrison from Harrison Communications to chat about using your association website to generate news coverage.

Check out our discussion below.



A few takeaways from this discussion

Publish newsworthy content.  Reporters look for content that is valuable to them and helps them write their story. Publish web content such as industry trends, reports, market data, and late breaking news.

Be a helpful resource.  Reporters look for information they can’t get anywhere else.  For example, reporters need industry experts to interview for a story. Be sure to include a list on your website identifying your experts, what their role is and what they are available to speak on. Route the contact through your PR or communications teams so they can coordinate and follow-up.

Be your own media outlet.  Publish news and newsworthy content to your website and make it prominent. Be sure to leverage all online channels such as Twitter (you are following the reporters that cover your industry, right?), YouTube, LinkedIn, Google+ and so on.

Some traditional rules still apply. Social media seems to be all anyone talks about in public relations these days. However, David points out traditional PR tactics such as distributing your press release through a newswire or having relationships with reporters so you can directly pitch your stories still matter.


David mentioned an example from his work with Corenet Global. Here is the original press release linked from their website and here is the link to the story in the Wall Street Journal (subscription required).

As David points out, associations are in a unique position to be a valuable source for journalists and the media. Reporters appreciate the quality and unbiased nature of the content coming from the association.

Your association website can be that valuable resource for reporters looking for trustworthy information and access. The next time you undertake a web design or site update, consider how this valuable audience is going to use the site. And make sure you have the right content and information they need to tell your story. 


Topics: public relations, news, association website design

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