Is Your Website Media Friendly?

Many PR managers have spent thousands of dollars or more, developing and updating a website. Additionally, they may budget thousands more every month on public relations. But is the website itself media friendly? Does it make it easy for news editors, commentators and writers to find the information they need?

Unfortunately, the answer is probably not...

Most of today's journalists use the web for their research. It is a great tool to them. Many of them conduct their research late into the night, when they're less likely to be interrupted. However, when a news editor logs onto your website to conduct his research and write about a company or its products, often they can't find what they are looking for. While the PR department is away from the office, your website is your only representative to the press.

Here are several tips to make your website media friendly:

The Information and Organization

How easy is it to find information on your site Is there a logical site map? Is there a search bar? Does the web site allow reporters to quickly find specific information as it is needed? A good website should be fast, easy to use, and have basic information on the home page.

Editors are often rushed with deadlines. If they can't find the information they need from your website, they are off to another site. Happy editors produce good copy. You don't want to annoy them. Therefore, you should ensure your information is comprehensive, current and correct.

Comprehensive Product and Technology Sections

Reporters might not be as technologically savvy as you. Some editors are only looking for the big picture. Others will want the to understand the insides of your technology or product. Your website should provide access to various levels of technical expertise.

Your web site should have comprehensive product sections that include:

  1. An "About Us" section describing what your company does.
  2. A short history of the company
  3. Data sheets
  4. Executive bios, especially if they are known in the industry
  5. News or Media Releases and feature spotlights
  6. White papers and research studies.
  7. A listing of honors and awards bestowed upon your company
  8. A listing of prior press coverage
  9. Your company's logo and contact information
  10. Short, detailed descriptions of each product
  11. Photos for each product and company executive
be sure your site has up-to-date information regarding product names, features, prices, etc. Journalists will like assume that the information on your site is up-to-date without checking whether it is correct or not. The press release sections are very important as well. It helps if your press release section is searchable by both date and topic. A good website contains comprehensive news releases with good contact names and numbers listed. Most importantly make sure your news is easy to access.

Readily Available Contact Information

Reporters sometimes need information that can't be found on the website. They might need a quote from the president or product engineer. You should have a staff member that can quickly handle and respond to the press's demands. If your website is not press friendly, the editor might move onto a website that is more press friendly.

Complete contact information should be easy to find. This includes things such as phone numbers, addresses, email, and names they can publish. Journalists are often in a hurry and prefer telephone to email. The press email address should be frequently checked. If the PR inquiries go unanswered very long you could lose your opportunity at free publicity.


Wes Upchurch is the founder of an online public relations company specializing in social media marketing and press release distribution.

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