Whatever your industry, it’s essential to have a website that’s friendly to all users – from online shoppers to news junkies. However, for those in the business of promoting knowledge, there’s one particular website visitor whose experience should be especially important: the media!
Give reporters and editors a quick and easy path to the information they’re seeking, and they’ll be more inclined to reach out for interviews. Fail to do so and they’ll look to another source, likely a competitor.
With that in mind, here are the top things for trade associations, nonprofits, and educational institutions to remember when making sure their website is media-friendly.
Point Them Where to Go
Whether you label it “News,” “Press,” or something else, it’s essential to have a link for your media-facing content right on your homepage’s main menu or, at worst, under your “About Us” tab. A journalist won’t have the patience to scroll endlessly or click three times to find what they want. To make the page even easier to find, give it an easily-searchable name – for example your organization’s name plus “news” or “press” – and list it in your sitemap.
Give Them All the Content They Might Want
Once a media member arrives at your page, give them easy access to a variety of content and assets. Examples include:
• Press releases – you should post all of them and, depending on how many you publish, we advise making them searchable by key word and date in case a reporter wants to see your response to a certain topic or issue. A great example of this is the Council for Responsible Nutrition’s newsroom.
• Media hits (appearances/interviews) – posting brief summaries and links to the articles, broadcast segments, and bylines where you’ve been quoted is essential – they not only demonstrate the credibility of your organization and its experts, but also that you’re able to provide high-quality commentary to the media. The Government Employees’ Benefit Association does a really nice job of this. Do respect paywalled restrictions, however – don’t post content in full.
• Informational resources – offer all of your thought leadership like surveys, white papers, policy statements, etc. You never know what might get cited!
• Visual assets – editors are always looking for photos, infographics, and videos to share beyond the typical Getty image.
• Your “experts” (if applicable) – for those promoting knowledge, you should highlight your scientific advisory board or the internal staff whom you want to promote as topical thought leaders, along with concise bios that speak to their areas of expertise and credentials. The Grain Foods Foundation provides a strong example of this. You can even include a few inviting sentences to the tune of: “Looking for an expert? Please take a look at our experts’ bios and let us know if you’d like to schedule an interview.”
• Accessible content — With all of the above, it’s vital that you make using the content as easy as possible – this means no contact forms to access press releases, PDFs so that content can be cut and pasted or downloaded, high-res. JPGs, etc.
Offer Them a (Real) Contact
Just as PR pros loathe sending emails to the dreaded “newsroom@______.com” email address, editors and reporters won’t like emailing info@______.org. So if at all possible, list the actual name, email address, and perhaps even phone number for your media point person. At the very least, create a press@______.org or media@______.org account and monitor it very regularly so that requests can be quickly acknowledged.
Keep Your Content Up-to-Date!
As with all website content, don’t slack off with updating – in the media’s eyes, this will make it look like you’ve either stopped making news, are no longer willing or able to provide commentary, or at the very least are no longer prioritizing your media relations.
Check these boxes, and you’ll be well on your way to offering the inviting face to the media – and hopefully racking up the media requests – that you both deserve!
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