Monday, March 17, 2008

How to Feed Your Press Kit to Reporters as Fast as They Can Take It

Here's some interesting data to add to your online press kit:

The Care and Feeding of the Press:

"Make the site deadline-friendly. Put the PR contact info where a reporter can find it.

Our biggest complaint about press pages is the lack of contact information. Ideally, each PR person on staff (as well as PR agency staff assigned to the account) will be listed online, with e-mail IDs, addresses, and telephone numbers. If the company offers more than one product, list each PR person's areas of responsibility.

When we're trying to find a PR contact, we're probably already late for something. If the Press Shortcut (how I long to see those words!) is part of an image map, make sure that section of the graphic is a separate image with it's own ALT="Press Shortcut" in the image coding. Try to put your whole text alternative menu or link to a text alternative page at the top of the site.

One of the worst things you can do is require that a press person register for access to the media section of the Web site. We know all the reasons that you chose to implement that policy, but we don't care. If we're writing a review, we're apt to access this sort of information at 11:00pm PST on Sunday night when the review is due at 8:00am EST. If we aren't yet writing about your company, you've presented us with one more barrier to doing business with you.

The press page should also include links to recent and not-so-recent press releases. Put the price and platform info both in the press release and in the details page about the product itself. Just because a press release on the Web is accessible to the unruly masses doesn't mean it shouldn't include a "For additional information" line with a contact person's name, phone number, and e-mail address.

The news and feature reporters among us also like a page listing the company executives, with their titles and a downloadable picture.

On the product page, give me facts about the product. It amazes us how many people leave out the price; last we checked, this was, in fact, a capitalist economy, and price is an important factor to consider before buying something.

Technical specs don't need to be on the main page, necessarily, but a link to them is useful.

Keep graphics to a minimum. A nice compact GIF or JPG of the product is plenty. If you want to offer product graphics suitable for inclusion in a print magazine -- it's a nice touch -- offer it as a downloadable link, in both zipped and stuffed files; don't force us to view them."

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