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Permanent Press

Make your Web site a magnet for news-hungry journalists.

Your Web site is many things: an introduction to customers, an information hub and a showcase for your stellar product or service. What many entrepreneurs forget, however, is their Web site is often the first stop for journalists seeking information about a company. Savvy business owners know that to get coverage, Web sites not only have to be accessible to journalists, but also be attractive to them.

We asked Deborah Schwartz, president of Media Relations Inc., a public relations firm in Bethesda, Maryland, to give us the skinny on how you can get noticed by reporters without being an irritation at the same time.

  • Make it easy to navigate. Reporters are usually on deadline and have a very limited amount of time to research-they don't want to spend 10 minutes watching your extravagant Flash intro while it sucks up their bandwidth. Always include a clear "skip intro" button.
  • Include basic information. Make sure the press contact phone number, address and e-mail are easy to find. Reporters like to follow up-and it helps if they have a number to call.
  • Be picky about press releases. "I'm a stickler," says Schwartz. "A press release has to be legitimate news." While John Q. Employee's big promotion to head of accounting may be very exciting to you, it's not exactly what you'll see on CNN. Be very choosy when deciding which press releases you want to put on your Web site.
  • Edit your bios. When a reporter is looking to do a story on you, the company Web site is one of the first places he or she will look for background information on you and your key executives. Make it brief and interesting, and include topics in which you have expertise. "It's an overview of who you are," says Schwartz, "not where you graduated from school."
  • Create interesting links. Point visitors to your site toward a charity your business is involved with or to articles that have been written about you in the past. Says Schwartz, "It lends credibility."

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This article was originally published in the August 2002 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Permanent Press.

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