This guide is especially important for municipalities and county health departments working hard to deliver timely messages of importance to their community.
Does your website have a resource page for media and public relations? Whether a small business, large corporation, community organization, municipality or a nonprofit, your website needs a page that shares about who you are and gives the people a central location for finding what they need when a story arises. Your strategy should be to make it easy for the media to report on your company by making your content and essential information easily accessible. This page (or section) of your website is most basically understood as a marketing tool for people who want to know more about you and perhaps even report on you and your organization. By setting up your online media page, you have a greater chance of controlling your message and improving your visibility.
What exactly is a media page?
A media page (or ‘press page’ or ‘press kit’ or ‘press room’) is a repository of information about your organization. This media page provides for inbound public relations: Journalists come to your website looking for this information to write their stories. The story might not be about you, but there can still a place for you in the piece. So if you set up your media page correctly, you may enjoy more traffic to your website because of a story or interview that’s published elsewhere. An online media page really is an opportunity to leverage the power of journalism to help grow your influence and, ultimately, your business.
But what should the content of your media page look like? Certainly this page on your website will somehow cater to your specific industry and your role in it. Every media page will not look exactly alike, but below are the key areas that every media page should include:
High resolution logo
Getting your brand more exposure is a huge aspect of public and media relationships. Don’t make anyone who is writing a story about your organization or brand ask for a logo. The longer it takes for them to retrieve the resources they need, the less likely they are to ask and more than willing to just do without or move on. Supply them with everything that makes their story fabulous…including your logo.
High resolution head shots
You control your image, so the head shot is your opportunity to look polished and professional as the media introduces you to their audience. Don’t underestimate the power of a quality photo, or the negative impact of a not-so-great photo (time to toss out those glamour shots) as you represent your brand.
Past media mentions (video, print, guest editorials, etc)
If you have ever been interviewed or quoted in an article, make sure to link to it in your media page. If you’ve done a guest blog post for someone, you want it to show up on the media page, as well. If there’s a video out there that involves you, download it for perpetuity and embed that in the media page, too. (You will want to host your videos at Vimeo or Youtube to preserve the bandwidth of your own web environment.) Your media history speaks to your credibility in your area of work, and establishes you as a quality interview. The more information about you and your organization made available, the easier you make the job of people covering your stories. You want to make their job as easy as possible because this helps you to work with many media outlets at a time.
I can’t emphasize enough how important the accessibility of press releases are in terms of both public and media consumption. The need for crisis communications, especially in this era of corona virus, necessitates that media, private organizations and municipalities communicate important information intended to help support and protect a community. Websites can be structured in a way that press releases feed into a general blog stream as well as directly to the media page, rendering them more easy to read than their archaic alternatives. Below are some do’s & don’ts for posting press releases:
- DON’T publish press releases as PDF’s. Often they aren’t searchable by search engines and downloading is just an additional step your public or media should not be asked to do because if it takes them too long to find what they are looking for then you’ve probably lost their attention. Also, this form of document is impossible to read on smaller cellular devices.
- DON’T publish press releases as JPG’s. The only thing worse than a PDF-published press release is a JPG-publshed press release. Guaranteed it’s content can’t be read by search engines–and you want all of your writings indexed! Like PDF’s, it is absolutely impossible to read them on smaller cellular devices.
- DO publish press releases as web page articles or blog posts. They are easier to locate and to quote from. They also share much better in social media. PDF’s require downloads from Facebook and JPG’s in all social media channels are impossible to read on most devices.
- DO format press releases with the traditional style of a press release on the website. If embargoed, send directly as PDF’s to media outlets until such time that it is public, then make live on your website media page (but not as a .PDF or .JPG!). Include the appropriate headlines, quotes, contact information and boiler plate.
Social Media Account Links
Make it easy for media and other interested community members to follow you in social media. Your media page should include all of your relevant contact info, and especially your social media channels. By getting the press to follow your channels, you have more opportunity to reach them with your stories, and possibly more quickly reach them when you post press releases in these channels.
Bios or links to bios should be clearly located on the media page. If you have a team of leaders who may all speak to the media on various topics, its good to have links to those separate pages. If you’re dealing with only one bio, it can be on the media page and elsewhere on the website. Be sure it contains all of the relevant information about this person’s role in the organization, their areas of expertise, and links to other media interviews if available.
Even if you have a Contact page on your website or have contact information located clearly in the footer of your website, it’s best to also include contact info on your media page so that there’s no question who should be contacted. Ideally you should have both an email and a phone number and a mailing address if necessary. You can even set up a email@example.com account so that you can keep those requests separate from your daily email.
More about your media page
There is other information you can choose to include on your media page including endorsements, published books or journal articles, speaking engagements, speaking topics and more. Be careful packing in the information so that you don’t compromise design and layout with the need to say everything. Use the media page to say what you need to say, brevity and clarity are essential. For examples of great media pages, see the following links:
Sarah Flashing is a digital creative, writer and public speaker. Her professional goals include helping people find success by employing the best tools available. Formerly a college instructor with a background in leadership development, Sarah works with organizations around the country helping them to develop & implement marketing and management strategies. Invite Sarah to speak at your next event.