Journalists shouldn’t have to hunt around your website for information they can use to write about you. You need to make it easy for them.
A good media section on your website shows the media that you are a serious player. And it increases their goodwill towards you, because you’re making their lives easier. Having a confused press section or worse, no press section at all, can make you look like small-fry.
Fixing it is easy. Follow this eight-step process and get the media on your side.
1. Ask yourself if you really need a press section
In the world’s drive to become more content-driven, social and marketing automation-y with their website re-designs, the old faithful press page doesn’t always come through alive. I think that’s a shame for the companies involved. If you don’t have a useful media section on your website, you are telling the journalist world that you don’t care about them.
Look at the grown-up technology companies you might admire like Apple and Cisco. Do they have a media section? Of course they do. They’re amazing resources for the media. Look at all the cool, start-up tech companies you might want to emulate. Do they have a media section? Often not. They have a blog. It might be a great blog. But if they’re still here and doing well in five years’ time, you can guarantee they will have a media section, when they realize the importance of treating the media like the distinct and special group of people that they are.
By the way, we don’t have a news section on our website. We’re a B2B technology PR and content marketing agency. For us, a blog is perfectly adequate. It’s very different for the tech companies we represent, which often have a vast and sophisticated set of media to appeal to.
2. If you can, put the press page on your top navigation bar
There are millions of website designs, but if you can afford the website real estate, put a link to your press page on the top-level navigation of your website. Put yourselves in the shoes of the journalist. They get to your page, they look across the top for “media”, “press”, “newsroom” or “news”. Nothing there. They scroll to the grayed-out bar with 30 links at the bottom. Nope, nothing there. Go back to the top, try “About us”. Bingo, a “news” sub-navigation. Be kind to them if you can. They’re really busy and they’re always on deadline. Make it easy for them to find.
3. Put a press releases section on your website press page
Some people say the press release is dead. They’re wrong. Some of our media brethren, like TechCrunch, don’t like them and prefer to get individual, exclusive pitches. Sure, who wouldn’t? And some journalists are increasingly turning to social media to get the pulse of what’s happening. Sure, I do the same, but it doesn’t mean I don’t use email anymore.
In our world of B2B technology, press releases are alive and kicking and delivering results every day. They just need to be good press releases. So, what I’m getting to is, include a press release section on your website. Depending on your navigation, you can make the press release section the media “home” page, with a sidebar navigation to the other elements you need to include (more below).
4. Separate out your “In the news” section from your press releases
Something I see all the time, which must be very frustrating for journalists – is a combined press releases and articles section. Meaning, when you browse through, you can’t immediately work out what is a press release and what is a third-party article about you. You’re not necessarily impressing journalists that all their rivals have written about you, you’re slowing them down. They’re looking for what you’ve announced, the press releases.
5. Make your “In the news” section impressive or don’t do it
The impression that you want to convey here is “wow, these guys get a lot of press, they must be important”. Load up this section with the articles featuring you and your spokespeople.
Now, if you don’t get a lot of press, probably because you don’t have a good technology PR agency or person in place, don’t put an “In the news section” in at all. If you load up automated press release pick-ups, you start to look desperate. Real editorial articles only.
And do make it neat. You’re conveying how important and worthy of stories you are. If you’re going to put the publication logo in, do it neatly. There are some horror-shows of logo abuse on some websites. The stretched logo. The so-low-res-that-it-looks-pixellated-logo. Even if you don’t have a graphic designer, use something like canva.com to give images a professional edge.
6. Include a real media contact
When media peruse your website, they want to quickly find information about you and they want a real person to contact if they need something extra. Give the journalist what they need – a clearly defined contact, on its own page or clearly labelled on a sidebar.
Do not give them a firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com email address. It gives very little assurance that anyone will actually answer their email. It has to be a real person. When I see this, it immediately springs to my mind that there isn’t a real PR or Marketing Manager or agency behind it. If a journalist wants to find sources for an article, they are unlikely to send their time-critical (they are always time-critical) request in the vague hope of getting an answer in time.
And although there are good reasons for tracking inquiries using a contact form, give the media a break – do not use a contact form here. Real person, please. With email and phone number.
7. Do a separate section for events
Declutter. Keep your technology events section separate in some way. There’s not too much to say here. The main thing you need to do is to ensure that you have highlighted some way that a prospect or journalist can use to meet you at the show.
8. Give them some digital assets
Think about what a journalist might want, that you can provide without them asking for it.
Image-wise, if you’ve got products, give them some product imagery, some against a white background and some of the product in use. If you’ve got visible spokespeople, provide head and shoulders shots of them. And include logos – it’s much better to give them a quality image, rather than them copying and pasting something less suitable from elsewhere on your website. And for all your imagery, best practice is to provide hi-res (300dpi) and low-res (72dpi) versions of each.
Beyond imagery, think about what else you can provide them, based on what you have available. Do you have videos of your product or videos of your spokespeople discussing industry issues well? Include them here.
Journalists are your friends. Treat them like that. Make the whole experience on your website easy and frictionless and they will be grateful. Don’t expect a handwritten note expressing their gratitude, but you can expect more and better media coverage as a result.