Any business serious about its PR strategy will need a presence online, and as part of that a ‘press room’ or ‘media centre’ element to its website.
But where do you start? Here, I’ve outlined ten tips designed to make the process less daunting:
- Think about the overall aim of your press room. This is generally to support PR activity – the pitching and selling in of stories about your business. So the press room is an area where journalists can go for easy access to relevant information about your business and what makes it unique, in order to enable them to research and to write articles to deadline. It also makes it easier for you to share and pitch news online via Twitter.
- Remember that this project is not a one-hit wonder; a press room needs to be regularly updated with content, so ensure that you have someone within your business who is responsible for keeping materials fresh and contact details up-to-date.
- Always consider SEO when writing the copy for your press room. This area of your site is a great way to boost traffic, but needs to be fully optimised.
- Don’t think about the press room in isolation: It needs to link easily to other elements of your website and to other information such as pages about events your company may be hosting, plus wider social media elements such as your Twitter feed, Facebook or LinkedIn presence. If you have a newsletter, include a sign-up facility within the press room area to increase the subscriber base and to keep the media engaged.
- Be aware that journalists are seeking validation of a company’s credibility through case studies with proven results and previous press coverage. Include as much of that as you can. Video is also great to illustrate suitability of spokespeople for press interviews and a company as an outside broadcast location.
- As well as providing basic contact details, include short biographies and photos of relevant spokespeople. This will make a journalist’s life easier and may prompt him or her to contact your company ahead of its competition.
- Remember that your press room needs to reflect and reinforce your overall brand values. If you pride yourself on having a business which offers excellent customer service, then offer the same here. If you are using enquiry forms, ensure these are answered quickly and that someone has ultimate responsibility for this.
- Constantly refresh materials such as press clippings, case studies and news items in order to build up an archive. This is useful for SEO purposes but it must be easy for a journalist to search and to skim through.
- To encourage sharing, use impactful headlines and straplines as well as calls-to-action. And use templates for releases so that your brand is easily recognisable in its external communications and when information is pushed more widely.
- Note that journalists are making increasing use of video to digest large amounts of information, and they often need images to support their text. Ensure these types of multimedia elements are available on your site. As well as ensuring your business’ presence online remains modern and up-to-date, they can help the media get the information they need as quickly as they need it – and this means that your message is likely to be spread more widely.
One other thing: People often ask what they need to include. I’d say there are certain elements which you can’t afford to miss out and these include an overview of your company (which avoids jargon); a list of press contacts and spokespeople; links to the latest news about your company plus previous press clippings, as well as clear navigation as to where a journalist can find out more. Easy!