Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Press Section Of Your Website

I'm constantly amazed at the number of brands (which includes artists and bands as well as companies) that don't have a proper "Press" section on their website that contains all the information that a journalist or blogger might need when writing a story. I speak from personal experience as a writer in that I'm always surprised with I can't find on a typical site, instead of what I can.

Many brands think that just having a list of press releases is enough, but they're sadly mistaken (especially when the releases are not well organized to begin with, which is so sadly typical). You have to make available anything about your brand that you think might be needed, no matter how mundane, because sometimes the smallest item can make the biggest difference in how the article is written.

I've talked a lot about the website press section in my books Music 3.0: A Survival Guide For Making Music In The Internet Age and The Musician's Video Handbook, so here are some of the essential items that every website press section should have:
  • High resolution color and black and white photos that can be used for print. Yes, print is dying, but it's still with us and can have a huge impact. You never know when you or your product will get a mention in a newspaper, magazine or book.
  • Low resolution color photos and graphics for websites and blogs. A picture says a thousand words and you'd rather someone use one of yours on their blog or website than just supplying a link. Make it easy for them, but giving them a variety to choose from.
  • Your logo. It's surprising how often this is overlooked, but it's just as important as your photos and other graphics.
  • A biography. Maybe you have an "About Us" or "About Me" section on the website or blog, but a more complete bio, or even a link to it from the press section, makes finding background info about you, your band or company a lot easier for the writer. The easier it is, the more likely it will be used.
  • Quotes from the media. Great quotes about you or your product are also big with writers, since it adds credibility. Limit the quotes to those that are unique though. 10 quotes that all say the same, "You're the greatest," have a lot less impact than one, but it's OK to use it if it says the same thing in a unique way.
  • Links to any interviews. No need to have the entire interview on your site as a writer will probably not read it unless he needs some additional facts that he can't find anywhere else.
  • Scans of just 3 or 4 of your best press clippings. Once again, less is more. 10 press clippings that say the same thing tends to actually diminish credibility. 3 or 4 seems about the right number to add to give the writer sufficient information.
  • PDF of adverts, promo flyers and posters. This has a dual purpose in that its additional info for the writer but can also be used virally by fans. Many "superfans" will print these out and distribute in their area if asked (more on this in an upcoming post).
  • Web ready graphics and banners in a variety of sizes. If you're doing any online campaigns (either advertising or fan-based viral), these can make it quite easy to be up and running in no time since everything is readily available.
  • Press releases. These are only helpful for a writer if they contain enough background information on a subject so details are important. It's also easier for a writer if they're grouped by type (personnel, products, events, etc.) instead of by date.
It’s a fact that the easier you make it for a writer or an editor, the more likely you’ll get covered. Having these tools easily available will increase your chances of getting media coverage.

By the way, I don't believe in making this info only available to writers approved by management. Make it available to everyone as it can lead to unforeseen viral opportunities. Just keep it up to date (I know how difficult that is, but you've got to try), and your press section is good to go.
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