Our ‘Secret Shopper’ Exposes Ups and Downs of Brand Newsrooms

Few things are more frustrating to reporters on deadline than a fruitless search for basic company information or a media contact. Another 'favorite' of journalists: Heading to a brand newsroom, filling out and submitting a 'Contact Us' or query form and receiving no response. It's as if the form disappeared into the ether. Sometimes the result is that the planned story, which possibly was favorable to your company, also disappears.

Surely that's no way to run a railroad or a brand newsroom.

To make sense of this we did some secret window shopping this past holiday season. Our goal was to survey the efficiency of company and PR agency brand newsrooms and sites.

For our experiment, we completed contact forms and emailed media contacts listed on sites in November and December 2021. When an online form requested a topic, we were transparent. We responded that our inquiry was for a PRNEWS story examining best practices for brand newsrooms.

While we looked at just 14 sites, our informal survey offers a view into how several Fortune 10 brands and a couple of smaller companies—as well as a few PR agencies (large and boutique)—handle media inquiries.

In short, we found a mixed bag.


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