Greg Simpson, founder of Press for Attention PR and Enterprise Nation Champion for Nottingham, offers his advice on preparing your website for the media.
You may well recall that I used to be a business journalist before I turned to the ‘dark side’ and the world of PR?
As a result, I tend to think as a reporter first, then as a marketer. This helps a lot because it ensures what I say and do for my clients is media friendly and works for both parties.
However, what I often see when I first start out with a new client or if I’m critiquing a website for someone is that their website is simply not ready to generate or even react properly to media enquiries.
Right now, there’s LOADS of journalists desperate for a good news story during this blasted crisis or at least a story of how a business has ‘pivoted’ its offering.
The problem is, if I were to point them to a great little business whose website hasn’t been thought about from a media perspective – and the VAST majority have NOT – the opportunity can flounder right there and then.
Now, if you have a PR consultant they will go ‘into bat’ for you here and pitch you as hard as they can but even then, there’s only so much we can do. So, with a brighter future in mind and the focus on getting stuff done that will help you to turn the corner post-COVID or even during this crisis, here’s some pointers for your website from the point of view of the media.
I can’t guarantee that you will get enquiries from this but you will at least plug the ‘leaky bucket’ of media leads that right now could be dribbling away from your business instead of giving it the boost that it may well need.
A newsroom with a view – with apologies to E.M Forster
Let’s strip it all right back with a simple question, do you have an area on your website dedicated to the press?
This does not have to be flashy. In fact, avoid flashy. You might just keep this info on your blog and have another ‘tab’ on your menu that also points to that called ‘Media’ but first and foremost it must be clear who to contact and how, whether that is you, a colleague or your PR consultant/agency.
It can also help to be honest about availability on here, so if you don’t work on Fridays you note that the press office ‘is manned between the hours of X and Y Monday-Thursday’ etc. but that you will check emails when you can.
That kind of messaging already makes you sound a little BIGGER and more professional doesn’t it?
Here’s what else you NEED to include:
- Photos of key staff e.g. MD/CEO.
- Links to previous coverage that might impress your TARGET media/audience. Use an image that links to it to improve visibility. It might link to a blog you wrote about the coverage achieved which is good practice with PR or go straight to the content.
As a side note here, it can HELP SEO-wise if you link away from your site to the trusted source. Just make sure the link opens in a new tab so they don’t leave your site entirely.
- Key milestones or company data. When established, market value, number of employees etc. Make it easy for a reporter to grasp if you are right for them in an instant.
- Finally, see if you can include something that makes you stand out – it might be your mission. Don’t be vague, make it a REASON to be considered by a reporter. Awards are good here.
Next time I will tell you what to do once you have these building blocks in place. As we know, foundations come first.