First off, if you do a search online for the search phrase “media room” you’ll get numerous results on where to put that 50-inch flatscreen TV. Uh, wrong media room. We’re talking online media room. Because to fully maximize your PR and publicity efforts, you need an online media room or online newsroom. Besides being an ideal way to organize your publicity materials and news clips, an online media room that’s easy to access shows reporters and journalists you know how to play the game their way.
Put yourself in the journalist or reporter’s shoes for a moment. You are on a deadline. A TIGHT deadline. With all the cutbacks in news and media companies, you’re working longer hours with less support staff than ever before.
You’ve got a couple leads on interviews and you’ve visited their respective websites. So who scores the interview? I present two individuals who are respective experts in their field.
No clearly defined area for the press or media on the web site’s main navigation. Last press release was issued two years ago.
Photos and images are out of date. Pertinent company information is sketchy. Advertising and promotion items are mixed willy-nilly with publicity materials. No audio or video excerpts.
An area on the website’s main navigation is labeled “Media Room.” This web page includes sub-navigation and materials are organized into those areas. A regularly updated press release archive is included. The online media room includes media clips showcasing the individual in both audio and video interviews are easy to locate and view.
This individual has also taken the time to include sample questions by both topic and category. Available to download images include headshots, company logos and more.
As you may have figured out, Individual B scores the interview. Know why?
Three reasonsA Well-Equipped Online Media Room Makes You More Attractive to the Media
Reason #1: You are a reduced risk
Who a reporter ultimately interviews is a reflection on them. As such, they want to look good. They want someone who can present their point clearly and succinctly, often in 15, 30 or 60 seconds.
By providing actual clips of you speaking via your online media room, whether it’s via an interview or something else (like public speaking), the reporter can view and hear you just as the public would. You’re less of an unknown compared to someone else who hasn’t included multimedia examples. And as such, you present a compelling case to be the one selected.
Reason #2: You made the reporter’s job easier
In short, by saving them time. Your online media room information is organized and exists in different forms: print, audio and video. Your sample questions get the reporter up to speed quickly. The reporter can download everything he/she needs to run with the story, whether it’s background info, images, sample questions and more.
Reason #3: You go out of your way to be accessible and available (especially during non-work hours)
The critical time when a reporter needs you won’t always fit into a convenient 9-5 timeframe. And yet just providing basic contact information isn’t always enough. Don’t just stop with a work phone number and corporate email address. Also provide a cell phone number, a dedicated email address just for the media, and other ways to reach you, say via your blog, or social media sites like Twitter or Facebook.
Here’s the deal: many people consider an online media room an afterthought. And it shows. Yet, with a little upfront planning and some savvy repurposing of existing marketing materials, you can establish a media room that attracts rather than repels the media.
So what goes into your online media room exactly? Let’s review the 6 Essentials:
Online Media Room Essential #1: Comprehensive Contact Info
This may seem basic but you wouldn’t believe how many people avoid sharing their more private contact info. “I don’t want to get spammed” is a common complaint. There are ways to avoid this like making your email address an image, not a link. Also, DO NOT, I repeat do not have the media submit a contact form to reach you.
Also include off hours ways to contact you: cell phone, Twitter, a blog and more.
Online Media Room Essential #2: Downloadable Bio, Company Summary and Images
Here’s a tip from Jacob Nielsen, the father of web site usability regarding digital print documents: don’t use PDFs! Instead, use a Microsoft word or text document for a bio or company summary. With images, have a couple different sizes a low resolution (for the web) and a high resolution size (for print. )
Online Media Room Essential #3: News and Media Clips
Call it social proof: your message and story generates news and you have examples to prove it. Wherever possible, use the media outlet logo or masthead. Here’s an example of an online media room for a cat that plays the piano you need help tracking down the media clip, contact a clip service such as Aircheck News.
Online Media Room Essential #4: Past Press Releases
Journalists will often read past press releases to get up to speed on you and your company. Make sure your press release archive is current. If you don’t think you have information that’s newsworthy expect a reporter to feel the same way you do.
Make releases easy for journalists to scan. Make each headline of each release a link to a separate page or open in a new window. Try and have at least three press releases in the online media room.
Online Media Room Essential #5: Sample Questions
Your mantra is to make the journalist’s job easier. Even if they don’t use the sample questions you provide, it gets them thinking about you. And don’t be afraid to include some controversial questions. Bart Baggett, a handwriting expert, does a masterful job of this in his online media room.
Online Media Room Essential #6: Interesting Facts
Again, referring back to the Jacob Nielsen study, journalists crave facts. It’s the foundation for every story. Here’s a direct quote, “Our study participants were much more excited about genuine information than about marketing claims, which they immediately discarded. Takeaway alert: compartmentalize! Keep the marketing information apart from your online media room materials.
I know, you’re saying “but this is marketing, I tell you!” Well, it’s all about framing. You need to frame your online media room materials for the media, not your prospects and customers. It’s that simple.
In summary, don’t procrastinate in your PR efforts because your online media room isn’t fully complete. If nothing else, have the basics: contact info, media clips, press released, images and facts. You can always add and build on to your online media room as time passes.
Story highlights and action steps:
- Time to review: 14 minutes
- An Online media room make you more attractive to the media
- Key components include contact info, images, media clips, sample questions, interesting facts and more
- Related Resources:
- Action Steps:
- Outline which elements to your media room you’ll add first
- Commit to a schedule and a deadline
- Opt in for this free optimized press release template and get my Media room checklist as a bonus!