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
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
- 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
- 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
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,