PRSA goes RSS. Improvements needed :)

Surprise, suprise: PRSA has a new media room, and it has an RSS feed!

Here’s a snippet from the press release announcing the event:

I love RSS button“Our objective was to post our news faster, especially when we are responding to a breaking story,??? said Catherine Bolton, PRSA’s COO and executive director. “And to use the latest technology to alert press and members as that happens. Incorporating the RSS function into the site allows us to do just that.??? […] The PRSA online Media Room has many new innovative features:

  • RSS reader functionality, to allow for notification of newly posted news releases. […]
  • Podcasts and other audio/video capability.

Very nice, guys. Now, here’s what I’d like to suggest:

  • please stop using ALL CAPS in headlines; it’s hard to read. (And RSS is more about whispering than shouting.)
  • headlines only for RSS = not cool (see the Geico ad). Add a blurb to the RSS headline.
  • add separate RSS for the media room’s sections. Not everybody wants to read everything; allow people to pick what they want to read.
  • since you just started adding feeds, how about RSS for PR Tactics and The PR Strategist?
  • don’t hide the RSS feed at the bottom of the page; make it visible — add it to the left side menu. Also, add a button on the homepage.
  • link to a page that will explain a little bit what RSS is (here’s why; here’s a comprehensive tutorial)
  • include in that page a couple of links to (free) RSS readers and online tutorials (how to use Bloglines, RSS “how-to” screencast). This will help people who want to use RSS, but don’t know how.
  • change the text that explains how to use the RSS feed. Right now it says:

    Click the RSS icon and then cut and paste the URL into your RSS reader.

    Why should people click on the RSS icon? It will just expose them to some XML code, and it’s not pretty. Better:

    Click the icon with the right button of your mouse, select “copy link address” from the menu, then paste the address into your RSS reader.”

    Even better: implement a one-click subscription mechanism with quickSub or USM. Then everybody will say: RSS? It’s so easy to use, a cavemen could do it (Geico, again).

  • add an explanation on how people can use your feed to show your media room headlines on their websites/ weblogs (it could be useful for chapters’ webmasters). This will bring even more visitors to PRSA’s website.
  • if you want some stats about the use of your feeds, consider burning your RSS through Feedburner.

That’s it.

So, when is the first oficial PRSA blog launching, anyway? :)


  1. Pingback: On Message from Wagner Communications

  2. It’s also really stupid that you have to login with a username and a password to download documents or to sign up for email notifications…

  3. The great thing about the blogosphere is that bias is transparent. For those of you who don’t know, Dee has a company that competes with the guys who built the PRSA media room. My company, iPressroom is another competitor in the internet news room management services business. And while I agree with Dee that the features of this online media center are pretty basic, I tip my hat to my these guys for getting it done.

    In response to John Wagner’s comment on whether or not a diversity section belongs in the press room, it is not at all uncommon for organizations to include a social or corporate responsibilty section in their internet press room. If achieving diversity happens to be a major part of that organizations philanthropic program — rather than ethics, which may or may not be more needed (I’ll stay out of that one) — I think it is entirely appropriate to put this section in a company news room. How will the world know about your positive contributions unless you tell them what you’ve done?

    Thanks Constantin, for hosting this discussion.

  4. Agree with you Eric…kudos to Aubrey and her gang for pulling off the PRSA MR site. I transparently disagree with the concept of forcing users to login to receive information from a site…it goes against the open nature of the concept. Many journalists will shy away from registration and so do I in many cases. Why would a professional organization that is promoting the industry in general force a member or a journalist to sign up to receive content that might help further promote the org?

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