As a PR professional, I spend a good chunk of time pitching media on behalf of my clients. The breadth of products, services, events, concepts, and people I’ve shared stories about is vast and certainly keeps me entertained. When I consider the things I need to be successful at media relations, the first item on my checklist is access to a well-designed and maintained “media room” – but not the kind with a big screen TV, surround sound and comfy couches.
An online media room serves many purposes but most importantly, it’s one of the first places a member of the media will go to find what they need about a company.
A media room should be easy to find, easy to use and should provide materials that help your intended audience do their job. Here are a few tips to help you create and maintain a useful and successful online media room.
Tip #1 = Make it Obvious
When you go through the time and effort to craft tools and materials for an online media room, make sure it’s easy to find. If a reporter is on deadline and needs to confirm information or contact you for an important interview, you want them find you with ease. Provide a link directly from your homepage and refrain from making users click through multiple pages to find it. They will give up if it’s too much effort and you could miss out on great opportunities. The name of your media room can vary, but stick to something like: Media Room, Media, For Media, Media Resource, Press Kit, Press Room, News Room, Press, News…..you get the idea.
Tip #2 = Contact Info Front and Center
Ask a reporter what one of the most important pieces of information you can provide is and they will tell you direct contact information to a real person who can assist them with their needs. Provide your main media contact information at the top of the page and include phone, email and a Twitter handle if applicable.
Tip #3 = Content > Design
The purpose of a media room is to provide online access to important information and news about your company, your leadership team and your products/services. Doing this means providing materials that helpful reporters do their job. When planning your media room be sure to keep it simple and make it easy to navigate. A cool look is nice, but the content is much more important than the design.
Tip #4 = Include the Essentials
The items that populate your media room should be useful to your audience. Therefore, make sure all materials are easy to read and downloadable. Not sure what to include in your media room? Here’s a typical list of items to consider:
- Executive bios
- Corporate and product fact sheets
- Press Releases (current and archived)
- Photography, logos and videos
- White papers
- Published news stories (current and archived)
Tip # 5 = Offer a Way to Get More
Use your media room as a way to engage media in what you are doing today, tomorrow and weeks from now. Offer an opportunity to be added to your news distribution database or to register for an RSS feed. Also, include badges to connect to your social media platforms.
Tip #6 = Keep it Current
Sometimes, establishing a media room takes a great deal of time. After you’ve put the effort into it, be sure to keep things up to date and fresh. Schedule time each quarter to conduct a quick audit of your site and make necessary changes.
Here are a few links to companies and organizations that do a great job with their media rooms. This list includes big brands with big budgets as well as nonprofits who may have to work on a shoestring. Regardless of your budget, this is one area where you need to shine and that can be done without fanfare.