Building a Media Friendly Press Room

Reporter/Internet publicity pioneer Eric Ward tells how to help the media cover you with a great press room on your website.


Editors, writers, reporters, site reviewers, etc., that may have a need to visit your site for information, press releases, bios, logos, history, etc. Do they find what they need when they visit?

Since I write about and review Web sites for several publications, I visit hundreds of Web sites a week. I find it useful to look through the site's press release archive to identify key executives, launch dates, partners, etc. And I am not alone. Any writer covering your company has probably been to your site. So ask yourself, what do they find there to help them?

The overwhelming majority of Web sites I look at each week do not provide the proper kinds of information for members of the press/media. A company that does not have have a fully stocked press area is wasting golden opportunities. You need to build an online press area on your site that provides comprehensive and timely information to members of the media. If you do, your chances of receiving good coverage improve greatly.

So what are the must-haves for a press friendly media area?

- Every press release your company has ever released publicly should be available both by searching and browsing chronologically. Don't give me search results from the rest of your site when I'm searching your press release area. And for good measure keep the most recent press releases available quickly, since most writers are likely looking for your most recent news first. If I want to know when your CEO was made CEO, I should be able to find that within 20 seconds just by searching your press release archive by his name or the letters CEO.

- All company press releases and print materials intended for use off-line should be available in both as text only and PDF format. PDF makes easier for you replicate your printed literature exactly, and for some press types is the format of choice. This means all logos, brochures, etc. And to really be utilitarian, have them available in multiple resolutions suitable for use in printed publications. That means 72 dots per inch, 600 dpi and 1200 dpi.

- Opt-in press email list. Let me sign up to receive your press releases and other alerts or materials directly from you rather than through a national distribution wire service. Many writers and reporters cover the same company as part of their beat, so make it easy for them to have a direct pipeline from you to receive information. And, if a reporter needs to order certain video or still images, provide the order forms online.

- A company Email address masthead, searchable by name or title, as well as browsable. Specific to PR inquiries, provide the name, address, phone, fax and email of all PR staff.

- All public records related to any legal issues the company has been involved in.

- Outbound off site links to any helpful information sources If your company just merged, give me links to the other company. If your company has had an unfortunate incident, like a toxic spill or product recall, give me links to relevant helpful online sources for more data. Help those that can help you. If I am on deadline and need to verify something for my story about you, I'm far more apt to start my search at your site than anywhere else. While it may seem like like a lot of work, once built, your press area wont be any more work to maintain than any other section of your site, and much of it can be automated.

If you'd like to see examples of companies that are doing a better job than most, take a look at:

Lycos - http://www.lycos.com/lycosinc/invest.html
TVA - http://www.tva.com/news/index.htm
Verizon - http://newscenter.verizon.com/index.vtml

About Eric Ward
http://www.ericward.com/
http://www.urlwire.com/
Eric Ward founded (and still runs) the Web's first service for announcing and linking Web sites back in 1994. Ward is behind the original linking campaigns for Amazon.com Books, The Link Exchange, Microsoft.com, Rodney Dangerfield, WarnerBros, The Discovery Channel, the AMA, and The Weather Channel. His services won the 1995 Tenagra Award For Internet Marketing Excellence, and he was selected as one of the Web's 100 most influential people by Websight magazine in 1997. Eric also writes the Link Building column for ClickZ, the NetSense column for Ad Age magazine, and is a 4-star speaker for iWORLD, Fawcette, and CNet.





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