Do I need an online press room? And if so, what are best practices?
One of the first places reporters go to gather information about a company is a company’s website. Which means decisions about the kind of information that’s shared in online press rooms can significantly influence whether a reporter covers a company story and how that story turns out.
Designing a quality press room doesn’t simply mean populating your website with your latest press releases: It should be easy to find and navigate, while providing all the relevant information and assets reporters need for their stories.
If you’re ready to create—or update—your press room, here are a few do’s and don’ts to consider to ensure success.
- Location. Location. Location.
This might seem obvious, but you want your press room to be easy to locate within your website. If media have to search, they’ll likely move on (perhaps to your competitor). A tab/link clearly labeled “Press Room” or “Media Center”—either in top or bottom navigation panels—is ideal.
Again, this may seem like a no-brainer, but the less drop-down tabs and categories the better. You don’t want to force an editor to click through multiple pages to get where they need to go. Remember: 15 seconds is the average amount of time a user spends on a webpage, so you need to get them to the information they need quickly... or they’re frustrated or gone.
- Contact Information
Allowing media to help themselves to information is key, but also offer the element of human assistance. Regardless if you have an internal or agency contact person listed, be sure phone and email information are easy to find. We recommend having this information as a permanent widget or boilerplate on each press room page.
- Special Features (not a must)
Whether it’s an event calendar, recent media coverage or links to your social media feeds, small additions like these could pique the media’s interest in researching your company/brand more… or even reaching out for an interview or quote.
- Forget to Update
It’s called “news” for a reason… because it’s new! Be sure to consistently update your press room content. If you don’t have new products or announcements, think of other ways to keep your pages refreshed. This may include feature content, blog posts, articles or whitepapers. Also including a recent coverage feed can demonstrate that the company is consistently churning out newsworthy stories.
- Be Disjointed
This may seem silly, but it can be an easy one to forget. You may see that different brands/companies call this space different things. No matter what you call it, (e.g. Media Center, Press Room or just Media), make sure you keep it consistent across webpages.
- Force Media to Sign In
While it’s nice to know who is using your press room, we don’t recommend forcing a login. Remember that 15-second window? If you force the user to enter their name, email and title this could deter them from completing this step and cause them to leave your site altogether.
The big takeaway here. Make your press room user friendly. You can continue to update functionality and features over time, but if it’s not easy to navigate then no one will use it.
As a PR pro, your job is to make it easier on journalists, so if you provide all the information they need in an easily accessible location, they will keep coming back for more (and keep your brand stories you want to tell in the news).
Looking to add or update your press room? Contact us today!