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Online Press Rooms Save the Media Time and Frustration

When Web site ... guru Jakob Nielsen tested how well major ... sites met the needs of ... he gave them a "D" grade. ... who tested sites for him located basic ... su

When Web site usability guru Jakob Nielsen tested how well
major corporate sites met the needs of reporters, he gave
them a "D" grade. Journalists who tested sites for him
located basic information such as the companies' financials,
management team, commitment to social responsibility and a
phone number for a PR contact only 60 percent of the time.

An excellent way to meet reporters', editors' and producers'
needs is online press room, collecting what they need to
know about your organization in one place. Some sites offer
this as a subchoice under "About Us," while others have a
major link called "Press Room," "For the Press" or "For the
Media." By providing press-friendly materials on demand 24
hours a day, 365 days a year, you increase the odds of
someone writing about you, using photos you've supplied and
doing so with accuracy.

Your online press room should contain, at a minimum:

* An organizational profile

* Names and bios of principals and executives of your

* A PR contact with name, email address and telephone number

* Press releases, presented with the most recent first

Optional extras for your press room include:

* Online versions of recent annual reports or white papers

* Downloadable photos of products or key personnel

* Statements about relevant controversial issues currently
in the news

* Suggested angles for feature stories including your

* Sample questions for talk show hosts

* Links to pertinent studies, statistics and news stories

* Links to previous coverage you've enjoyed

* Prewritten use-as-is stories or tips

* Audio or video clips, especially for music performers

The more lively the style in which all of the above comes
across, the more likely you are to get journalists passing
through to stay awhile and start thinking about how they can
use what you've provided. Corporate-speak may please
internal bosses, but it gets in the way here and may even
provide fodder for the many sites that make fun of
pretentious marketing blather.

Keep in mind that on the Web, media from all over the world
and from outside of your industry can access your press
room, so avoid acronyms and insert the kinds of background
explanations that would be found in a quality news story.
Dates are especially important to present unambiguously.
Jakob Nielsen reported a case where a European reporter
dismissed a company's news as old because it was dated 10-3-
2000, which to him meant March 10 rather than the intended
October 3.

Nielsen also pointed out that the journalists, whom his team
observed in their actual work environment, often were using
old software or hardware which crashed when trying to access
PDF files or Flash sites. Remember that despite the apparent
convenience of downloadable files, some media folks may for
many reasons still prefer to receive a physical copy of your
photos or your product - or a traditional all-in-one-folder,
expensive-to-mail PR kit.

An online press room meets some needs, but not allPsychology Articles, so be
prepared to fulfill old-fashioned requests as well.

Article Tags: Online Press Room, Online Press, Press Room

Source: Free Articles from


Marcia Yudkin is the author of the
classic guide to comprehensive PR, "6 Steps to Free
Publicity," now for sale in an updated edition at
and in bookstores everywhere. She also spills the secrets
on advanced tactics for today's publicity seekers in
"Powerful, Painless Online Publicity," available from .

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