Thursday, November 6, 2008

Online Press Rooms: For Your Firm and Your Client

Make your Firm's and client's web site reporter-friendly, today we discuss ways to make an online pressroom more than just a
dumping ground for marketing material that journalists don't really need—and don't have enough of the brief, easy-to-scan info that reporters want.
Here are some tips to make your online press room a place that reporters can easily access for information that results in positive publicity!
  1. Organization: The online pressroom for Entergy is a great example of organization. Press releases are organized by year, with press releases going back only a few years on the same screen.
  2. No PDF files: Some organizations post press materials as PDF documents, which need to be opened using the Adobe Acrobat plug-in. But in some newsrooms, reporters can't launch plug-ins, so they'd have to download the PDF, and open it elsewhere. Reporters don't have time to do that.
  3. One-click access: Too many Web sites force reporters to guess where the pressroom is hiding. Is it in the "About" section? "Company"? Make sure there's a direct link off of your company's home page.
  4. News on the home page: Bell Canada Enterprises' Web site, has news releases right on the home page. When you do that, not only are you serving your media audience, but you're serving investors as well.
  5. After-hours contacts: Sure, no PR person really wants to post her cell phone number to a public Web site, but some sort of after-work contact info is essential as news cycles are 24/7.
  6. Useful search functions: Sure, you post press releases, but are they searchable? They have to be, because reporters work by beats. At the very least, allow them to be organized by subject matter: lists are out, and categorization is in.
  7. Fact sheets: Where have the bulleted, easy-to-read facts sheets gone? Fact sheets are a brilliant tool for time-pressed journalists.
  8. Newsletter formats: Too many pressrooms are set up to look like lists. We like the varied newsletter-like design of Visteon's Web newsroom, which presents visiting journalists with all sorts of useful tools: press kits, events, media contacts and executive head shots.
  9. Printer-friendly: It's a small touch, but one many Web sites neglect. Do you offer pressroom visitors a printer-friendly option, or do you force them to print out extra pages and waste ink?
  10. Executive speeches and articles: Reporters don't want stale quotes from your press releases. They want to find something on their own from a speech—something that hasn't been used by everyone else.
  11. FAQs: Create a simple factual information sheet like how many employees you have, etc.
  12. Downloadable logos: Many reporters will just end up taking the logo off the home page if they need it. You're better off providing high-resolution versions.

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