Media Room PR
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Make your press room easy to find
This is essential. Good web site designs are easy to navigate. Don't hide your press page or press room four or five clicks away from your homepage. If possible, put a link to it from the front page – labeling it as News, Press or even Press Room. Many companies hide it one layer down under the company info or “more about us” tabs. That's not as good a choice but can be OK.
In addition, for good SEO results, make the page name and file name logical and searchable. Don't use odd symbols, letters and numbers in the file name or page title. Use a name that makes sense like yourdomain.com/pressroom and list it in your sitemap. Your web site designer or website management software may give you grief but a simple, descriptive title and file name is always best.
Press release index
Obviously you want to include links to your press releases and announcements. However, make sure the list is up to date. I have worked for companies where the last three or four months of press releases had not yet been posted. Leave the dates on the releases so that a visiting writer has an idea of how fresh your news is.
I have heard marketing folk justify not posting the releases because they don’t want the competition having access to them. If you have distributed the press releases and got some coverage, which is the whole point of PR, those releases and info should be available on the web anyhow.
Some key things not to do:
Don’t require an editor to fill out a contact form to retrieve your press releases. Not only does an editor not have the time for that, they will probably just give you a fake name and phone number anyhow.
Don’t post your press releases only as locked PDFs. Editors and writers need to be to easily cut and past from your press releases, data sheets and other online documents. Post them as straight text on the web page. You can provide a pdf download as well but don’t force editors to download a pdf before they can read it. They have to be able to read it online.
In the same vein, do not convert your text content into jpgs and images. Instead, make it easy for the press to access and “borrow” your content in order to promote your products and services. Not only does it make it easier for writers, it also makes your site a lot more search friendly, which means better search results. Plus text is easily searchable while images are not.
Finally, you may have heard of the “Long Tail” as applied to products.
This applies to press releases as well. Unless there is a compelling reason to remove them, keep all your old press releases up on your site and available via a press release archive. Also, as another reason to keep those old releases online, the more press releases and the more valuable content on your web site, the better SEO you will get for your site.
And, if you have changed PR companies or PR contacts over the years, make sure that the PR contact information on the old press releases is current.
3. PR Contacts
You HAVE to have PR contact info. It should be easily found on your press room page. If you operate in various regions, i.e. US, EMEA, APAC, then list the press contacts for each area. If possible, list local phone numbers for each region. If your organization is very large with many divisions and product areas, you may want to have a separate PR contact page to make it easy for a writer to find the appropriate contact.
This is important. Make sure that there is someone available to answer the emails or to pick up the phone for the press contact. A quick response to an inquiry is essential.
I have seen tech companies that list a press contact email or phone number which goes to a digital box somewhere that only gets checked once every other week or so. For good PR, you need to be responsive. If an editor or writer calls, you should be able to get back to them within 24 hours or less, and if it's during work hours, responses should ideally be within an hour.
Most importantly, if the editor asks for some info or a document that is NOT readily available, respond back, confirm that you got the inquiry and tell them that you are working on it and give them a time frame for when you'll get back. Don’t leave them wondering if anyone is at home. This is especially important for companies that use a firstname.lastname@example.org address on their web site.
As part of the contact area, and maybe on other pages as well, provide a RSS link and News Links so that the editors can sign up and get automatic updates to the press room and/or to recent press releases. Also provide a Public Relations List contact form to enable editors, writers, analysts to easily sign up to receive updates and new press releases.
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