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Here’s a secret: journalists often look for one of three links when they visit a website. Can you guess what they are?
The key thing for a writer is to find what they’re looking for as quickly as possible. If they cannot find the answers online then they’ll need to quickly find some media contacts to call, or email.
As such, journalists typically scan the page for one of the following links…
The first link is 'About'. The About (or About Us) page should be a one-stop shop for links to company information. It can help writers flesh out articles, providing background details and some insight on what the company is all about. The About page should also contain contact emails and telephone numbers, or a links to these details.
The second link is 'Press'. This should contain more recent information on the company, news releases, media contacts and links to (positive) mentions of the company / brands / executives in the press. RSS feeds for company news are a great idea, as are video, images, and press kits. If a company is listed then a link to investor information should be prominent.
Writers tend to aim for Press rather than Contact Us for specific contacts and phone numbers / emails, rather than a generic customer service number.
Sometimes this page is labelled 'Media' or 'News', or some variation thereof.
The third link is 'Blog'. Keep in mind that blogging hasn’t been adopted by a large number of major brands, although it is now commonplace among web / tech companies, but journos will look for a company blog to get the inside track straight from the horse’s mouth (where horse = company blogger).
Blogs often contain links to author profiles, and sometimes these contain email addresses. This is especially handy if the authors are company executives as direct contact always beats going through the PR department.
Blogs also provide writers with behind-the-scenes insight, and – for the braver company bloggers – reader comments.
Which companies are excelling in this area?
We here at E-consultancy Towers are busy crafting a brand new website for your viewing pleasure, and one of the things I want to put right is our media centre. So, I’m looking for some pointers and suggestions on the companies that are doing good things in this area.
Probably the best example I have seen so far is Benetton's online press room, which is superb. It is very easy to use and it contains everything a writer might need, such as press releases, press kits, an events calendar, video and image galleries, RSS feeds, clippings, and a list of global press contacts. I reckon that just about covers it...
Can you suggest any other examples?