OK, so here’s the good news: a journalist is interested in you.
This person – let’s call her ‘Emma’- is Googling things, looking for leads.
A bunch of websites come up and she reads through them, hoping to find the right information for her story.
Between two similar websites, she will choose the one that has supplied the information in the right format.
Unless you are the only person on earth doing your thing, I strongly suggest you make your website media-ready.
It’s not just the random Googlers that you will delight by doing this. It’s the intentional story seekers; the people who are committed to writing a story about you. Why not make their life a little easier too?
Here’s what you need to do if you want to make the media happy:
- Provide immediate contact details
We get that contact forms stop you getting spammed but guess what? They also stop journalists contacting you. If we are really desperate for information and there’s a contact form on your Contact Us page, we will skip straight to the next Google hit, looking for an email address or a phone number.
2. Make your About Us page count
Tell us what you do. A bunch of obtuse, arty copy isn’t going to get you coverage. We want facts. Who, when, what, why, how? Answer this as succinctly and accurately as possible. Tell us everything because you never know what kind of niche title we could be researching stories for. You let your visitors frolic with free range chickens. Tell us. You cater for FODMAP diets. Tell us. You have tour guides who speak Icelandic. Tell us.
3. Provide links to media-ready images
We generally need images so please give us options. Print journalists need high res (meaning 1MB per image in size, as a rough guide). Web journalists can rip stuff off your website but we would prefer it if you supplied us with copyright-free images, downloadable via a link on your website. Here’s a tip: journalists hate crediting photographers so if you can supply images you own the copyright to, you will make us very happy.
One more thing to note: name the images correctly. This will make it easier when it comes time to write captions. If the images are IMG_123 as opposed to ‘The Roundhouse Exterior’, you’re taking a chance with accuracy.
4. Have a news section
It’s one thing to have a news section. It’s another thing to update it. I recommend you do the former and the latter. Journalists who are snooping around for information will often come to your site with a half-baked idea. If you can give them the specific information they need, as well as a good angle – boom – there’s your story. If you are going to the trouble of writing press releases or getting coverage, make sure you put it all on your website.
5. More is good
Your website designers might have tried to sell you on an austere ‘white space’ concept which is all very nice if what you’re selling is extremely simple (ie you sell one product in one size and colour). If not, please give us lots of information. We want history. We want bios. We want galleries, and social media links, and downloadable reports and white papers. Throw it all at us. This doesn’t mean that your website needs to look like chow mein. It simply means you might need to either add some pages or sub-pages. Journos are all about substance over style (but a little style doesn’t hurt either).