Knock 'em dead with your website press centre
One of the great secrets of the internet is that with a killer press centre, you'll be able to attract many more editors and reporters to your company site, and generate many more stories about your firm in the news media.The trick to putting together such a centre is knowing how to trigger story ideas, knowing how to relentlessly promote what you're offering, and being sure to post the equivalent of a neon 'welcome' sign for members of the press.
"News publicity costs you nothing," says Thomas Wong, author of 101 Ways To Boost Your Web Traffic. "It often produces better results than advertising, because people trust news articles more than sales ads. Press releases often lead to personal interviews on the phone or TV or radio appearances, which can make you and your web site very popular."
In fact, there are so many tactics and new web technologies available for courting the media, building a killer press centre on your company web site can become an ever more sophisticated, ever more publicity generating pursuit.Below are some of the top techniques.
Offer web-friendly press releases
"In the last two years, there has been a sea change in how the press release is viewed and utilised," adds Paolina Milana, vice president of marketing at Marketwire. "The once 400-word all-text release has evolved into an interactive tool that incorporates multimedia elements, social media tags and bookmarks, in-release performance stats, and feedback mechanisms." Sweden-based Axelar AB, for example, offers web-friendly press releases through its press release distribution service PR Newswire.
Trigger coverage with other content
Specific content ideal for launching press coverage includes company White Papers, as well as executive quotes on recent industry news, legislation or studies. The press also loves transcripts of executive speeches they can quote (always include a name and title), transcripts of recent company webcasts, company case studies, industry survey results, and customer/client testimonials. (Always include a name, title and company for the testimonial.) If you're lucky enough to have already been covered, offer links to these news stories as well.
Become a media authority
Meanwhile, you can enhance the credibility of your media authority execs by publicising them on the various "expert stables" on the web places where experts gather to be quoted by the media. Some of the more prominent include Profnet, Yearbook.com and About.com.
Add dimension with rich media
Besides posting your company video on YouTube for free like thousands of other firms, you can also embed a YouTube video player on your own web site for free as well. For a how-to video on how to add the YouTube player to your web site (takes a few minutes), check out www.youtube.com/youtubeonyoursite. There's also a separate how-to video on how to customise your player at www.youtube.com/watch?v=uTWWEtVtu58.
One caveat: have your legal department look at YouTube's fine print before you get too aggressive using the player or the YouTube site strictly for advertising your company. As with many things web, this area is still very grey. Daiichi Sankyo, for example, with offices in Germany, recently issued a press release linking to a videocast focusing on its osteoporosis drug.
Other multimedia you can add to your site are high resolution digital images, podcasts (check out Podcast Directory for lowdown on those), and virtual reality, or 3D-like moving images. MDS Nordion, with offices in Belgium, offers a healthy selection of downloadable images in its press centre, as does Sweden's Beactica AB.
Tweak under the hood
While you're at it, also be sure to ensure your press centre downloads like quicksilver. For speed optimisation tips, check out Andrew B. King's book, Speed Up Your Site. Founder of website Optimization, LLC, King also offers a free tool that will check to see if your press centre is optimised for speed.
"It is astounding how negatively users react to slow sites" says Jakob Nielson, a principal in the Nielsen Norman Group, a web design consultancy. "If a site is slow, it communicates contempt for customers and their time. Users assume that additional pages will be slow as well, and that it will be painful to navigate the site."
Other promotional tactics that work: circulate your news through a professional press release distribution services, or via free services (use keywords "free press release distribution" to find these on the search engines). Post a "send this page to a friend" button on every page of your press centre, and web site. Establish an industry links directory on your site.
Measure your success
You can get a critical review of even more robust analytics with CMS Watch's most recent report, The Web Analytics Report 2008. It runs to 340 pages, and thoroughly evaluates virtually every major web analytics solution on the market today.
Safeguard your reputation
There are a number service providers who will help you out with this reputation monitoring. Put 'reputation management' into Google for specific firms to evaluate.
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