A Fond Farewell
Subject Line: A Fond Farewell
The Write Market Release
Vol 4, Issue 3
A Fond Farewell
CONTENTS IN THIS ISSUE
1. Editor’s Remarks
2. How to Build an Online Press Center – Part X:
a. Contact Information
b. Should your site have an online press room? by B.L. Ochman
3. What’s New at The Write Market
4. Administrative Information
It’s July! And hot as heck here in the Northeast USA.
I have big news this month. After this issue, I will no longer be the Editor of The Write Market Release. Instead, I’m turning over this ezine to the most capable hands of “Captain Casey.”
Next month will be Casey’s first turn at Editor, so I hope that you will welcome him warmly. He is a very interesting person and I think you will truly enjoy his take on Web marketing.
If you’re wondering why I decided to resign – it’s simply that I need more time for other projects.
Terry and I will still be adding content to our site http://www.thewritemarket.com – We’ll still be doing the web design and marketing stuff as well as writing more books. We’ll still send you occasional updates on our site and our new books through this ezine.
This month, we’re wrapping up the Online Press Center Tutorial with the “Contact Information” page and a truly fabulous article that kind of sums up the whole thing by B.L. Ochman.
Enjoy and please…. keep in touch.
ELEMENTS OF A PRESS CENTER
(This is a quick review to show you where we’re at and where we’re going.)
1. Table of Contents
4. The People Behind Your Business
5. Projects, Clients, Partners and/or Works
7. Press Releases
8. Sample News Story
9. Articles by Other Sources
10. Contact Information **We’re HERE **
For more details on the elements of your Press Center see: http://www.thewritemarket.com/press-releases/
Contact information is the simplest part of your Online Press Center – therefore it should be short and sweet.
Your contact information should contain the following.
1. Real Name of contact person.
2. Phone number of contact person.
3. Email address of contact person.
4. Address of company.
5. Fax number of contact person.
The contact person in your company will be the person responsible for publicity of your organization. Heck, it might even be you, if you are a one person show. This person should be familiar with what goes on in the company and the information that you want released to the public. This person should know how to peak and keep the interest of a journalist.
Here is an example of a simple “contact information” page that can be an integral part of your Online Press Center: http://www.thewritemarket.com/media/contact.htm
Read the article by B.L. Ochman below for more information on how to write your contact information and what type of information to include.
SHOULD YOUR SITE HAVE AN ONLINE PRESS ROOM?
IT TAKES A LOT MORE THAN PRESS RELEASES (YAWN)
By B.L. Ochman
What should be included besides press releases – yawn – in the Press Rooms you design for clients? What about your own company’s media center?
The Number One rule for developing an online Press Room is to think like a journalist. Think about the information that could be most helpful to someone writing a story about your client’s company and then make it available. Like many things that can impact on how a company is perceived, doing a good job at an online Press Room is a complicated process. And it’s one that can have a substantial positive payoff.
To learn the best and worst practices of Web site Press Rooms, we analyzed the content of approximately 50. We looked at the Fortune 10, at top Internet-only companies, bricks and clicks companies and companies whose which have had controversial or negative news in the past year.
In the best online Press Rooms journalists are given solid, relatively fluff-free information – sometimes even negative information – that can help them write their stories. And while press releases in a media area of a site may be helpful for financial results, they don’t have much use beyond that.
Publicly traded companies are obligated to feature press information on their web sites. But a lot of smaller companies can increase their chances of getting press coverage by learning from the Best Practices of giants.
The Number One use of the Internet by journalists is research. They come to the Press Room of a site needing to quickly learn how to contact the PR department for information. Incredibly, many Press Rooms of major corporations give only a general email address and not the PR staff contact names and phone numbers. In those cases, the purpose of having a Press Room is hard to fathom.
Don’t Hide the Press Room You’d never know some companies even have a Press Room because they use a completely separate URL, which is not accessible from the main site. Only the incredibly persevering or the invited may visit those Press Rooms. And only God knows why.
In a widespread practice that makes no sense, a lot of companies require registration for entry to the Press Room. Some take 24 hours to provide a password. Not much help to a reporter on a deadline, looking for a PR contact. I call the lack of contact names and phone numbers the Web Wizard of Oz Syndrome, and consider it a worst practice.
Some companies allow public access to the Press Room but password protect the names and numbers of the PR staff. This is understandable because the home, office and pager numbers of PR staff are provided in the password protected areas.
When specific PR staff names and numbers are inaccessible to the public, it is absolutely crucial that a direct contact number for the department be provided. It is advisable to note on the contact page of the Press Room that the PR staff deals only with the media and to offer names and numbers for consumer concerns.
Presumably companies believe requiring registration will help them keep track of who’s keeping track of them. And they seem to want to keep riff-raff like customers from knowing the company story. Given that most Press Rooms contain little more than press releases, it is hard to understand why in the world would they issue releases and then deny public access to them. Besides, there’s a name for most customers who want to know all the details about a company: investors. Why turn them away?
Are they concerned that they will hear from customers, who may have figured out that the PR department is an effective place to take a complaint? If so, they should realize that customer complaints can be an early warning system for potentially significant problems. And they should be glad to get the chance to help the customers resolve the problem before it becomes widespread.
Few Press Rooms include articles about the company that have run in the media. Almost none include negative coverage in their site. Yet it is futile to hide news about a company because anyone who knows how can find the information quickly and easily by using a variety of online research facilities.
Media-friendly Press Room Features The point of the Press Room is to make finding information about the company easy for a reporter. Companies that understand this have media-friendly Press Room features including:
° Search of the Press Room by date, topic, keyword, type of file, archive or current
° Documents available for download in PDF format
° Company Position Papers and Statements to the Press on issues
° Background and public record information on legal issues
° Email alert service when news is added to the site
° Links to outside sites which may contain negative information on issues
° Photos and graphics in three resolutions and download sizes
° Lists of job changes in the media covering the industry and job changes/new jobs in the PR department
° A “geek section” with technical information in plain English as well as products specs, R&D; info, etc.
° Forms for reporters to order video and stills
° A list of the company’s key competitors
° Customer demographics
° The name, address, home and work phone, fax and email of worldwide PR staff and key personnel for the company’s offices, plants, worldwide locations, with maps
° Calendar of trade shows and industry events
The common denominator of outstanding features in the top online press rooms was an acute awareness of the needs of journalists and a desire to make getting information about the company as easy as possible.
(Note: For B.L. Ochman’s “best features of online press rooms” please see this article on our web site: http://www.thewritemarket.com/press/ochman.htm)
PR on the Internet is a whole new game. Play it well and you and your clients may reap substantial rewards. The Press Room is a good place to start.
B.L. Ochman is president of whatsnextonline.com, a full-service marketing agency that builds global traffic and sales for Internet businesses. Subscribe to our weekly marketing tactics newsletter, What’s Next Online, at http://www.whatsnextonline.com 212.369.8312 [email protected]
WHAT’S NEW AT THE WRITE MARKET
Our new book – Create Web Content that Sells! http://www.thewritemarket.com/content
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