Friday, November 13, 2009

Avoid These Common Online Press Room Mistakes

Does your company have an online press room -- a repository of news and background information -- for the media on your Web site? If you're looking for media exposure, you have to be (a) found online and (b) offer appropriate information to journalists. They aren't looking for sales literature and hype. They're seeking news, facts, details, background information, and graphics.

Here are the most common online press room mistakes and how you can prevent them on your Web site so that you maximize its value and impact:
  • There is no online press room. Every business that isn't trying to dodge the media needs one.
  • Press materials are available only in PDF format. You want journalists to copy and paste your press releases, fact sheets, backgrounders, executive bios, etc. As soon as you make them available only as PDF files, you've seriously inhibited this process. And anytime you make it harder, you risk losing the media opportunity because none of us wants to work any harder than we have to. Don't put up roadblocks and force us to give exposure to your competitors instead. Make all of your press materials available in a format that lets people copy and paste easily.
  • Press releases aren't dated. I've found some news on your site -- but is it really news? Did you post the press release last week, last month, or last year? I can't use it if I don't know when you released it.
  • There is no media contact listed. Let's say an Oprah producer discovers your Web site and wants to talk to your CEO about appearing in a segment related to your business, but you have no media contact listed and the only contact information on your site at all is a generic fill-in-the-blanks Web inquiry form. No names, no phone numbers, no e-mail addresses, and no media contact name and information. Do you think you might miss out on that opportunity to appear on Oprah? Possibly.
  • There are no media graphics. Include photos in your press room -- executive head shots, product shots, application photos, your logo, etc. -- and include both high- and low-resolution versions.

Large companies usually do it the right way; visit the Xerox newsroom to see an effective example.

What's the best online press room you've seen? I'd like to compile a list of good examples.