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Providing a Proper Press Room

So how do you provide a proper press room?

First of all, a press room is like an online press kit. Online press kits are really no different from the printed kind. Visit a booth at a trade show and identify yourself as someone with the press, and any established business should be able to hand you a press kit. When you design a separate press room for your web site, imitating what's in a professional press kit will help you touch on all the necessary bases. After all, this is what journalists and reporters are looking for.

So what does a reporter want from your online press room?

  • In clear concise English—or whatever the native language of your site may be—and not in business jargon, describe your company and what makes its products or services unique. What impact will your product or service have on your industry? What problem will it solve? Don't claim you're going to be the next Amazon or Microsoft, but make an effort to distinguish yourself from your competition.

  • If you have images or photographs of your product—or even a downloadable demo—provide links to those files in the press kit, along with links to any plug-in(s) required to view them.

  • List the key people in management and detail each person's professional and business backgrounds. State what position he or she holds in the company and his or her qualifications for that position.

  • Provide a press contact. This is very important and often forgotten. Choose your best company spokesperson—someone who can tell a compelling story about your company. (Hint: It may not be your CEO.) Then give the press a direct phone line and specific email address to use for contacting the spokesperson.

  • Ask whether the journalist would like to receive future notices about your company and products, and provide a choice of contact method—email, fax, telephone? Get recipients' permission up front, and future releases will end up on the desk—not in the wastebasket.

  • Finally, list all your latest press releases and media mentions, most recent first and then going backward in time.

One important thing to remember: Never—I mean NEVER—make reporters register or require a password to enter your press room. If you do, you can count the time they'll stay on your page in milliseconds. Sure, you run the risk of making your press kit available to people other than the press—such as your competition. But that's the nature of the Net. When you create an online presence for your company, you open your kimono for all the world to see.

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