10 tips to engage the press on your website

There really is no excuse for an online business not to have an effective and up-to-date press page. However, when researching company information for articles or for current news, it’s disheartening to discover how many businesses are not making the most of this valuable area of their website.

On a daily basis I trawl through many a company website looking for news, researching facts or seeking contact information. And, on a daily basis, I am confronted with appalling press pages that are seriously lacking in company background information, graphics, RSS feed options or are, worse still, out of date.

If you want to make a journalist very happy here are ten simple ways in which to make sure your press page is stuffed full of the sort of information they crave.

1. First things first – make sure your press page is linked directly from your homepage, not hidden behind an “About Us” or “Resources” link.

2. List press releases and, more importantly, keep them up to date. Often a news story will appear on the newswires but nothing appears on that company’s press page making it difficult for a journalist to cite a source other than a newswire. Remember, by linking to a source from a company press page a journalist is directing traffic to your website.

3. Use RSS feeds. Journalists love RSS feeds, it means they don’t have to keep checking and re-checking individual websites and your news is pushed to them.

4. Provide background data such as annual reports and biographies of key personnel.

5. Provide complete contact information for press enquiries including name, telephone number, address, a linked email address or even a Twitter or LinkedIn page.

6. Make company logos, graphs, diagrams and images available for journalists to use to illustrate their articles.

7. Press releases in several languages can make it easier for your news to spread internationally.

8. Give journalists a choice as to what formats press releases and reports are available in. I can’t put this any better than Rebecca Lieb did in her recent eConsultancy article, “5 reasons your press page should lose the PDFs”.

9. If a report is available for download, that’s great. But if it has to be requested by email, make sure that email is sent out quickly after the request. Journalists have deadlines and a late arriving survey may be pipped at the post by another delivered by return.

10. And finally, don’t require a journalist to sign in, register or subscribe to your press page. We’ve got enough key-bashing to do as it is thank you very much.

Helen Leggatt, BizReport

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