These days generating publicity materials is not just about trying to promote your business in the media. It’s also about using those materials to enhance the perception of your business to everyone who has any contact with you.
As a matter of course you should keep a “boast book” of press releases and media coverage available in your reception. But more importantly, you should also ensure you have a virtual press centre available on your website.
Typically this is accessible from a small link saying “press” at the bottom of the home page. Any journalist researching your company will look here. But just as importantly, so will some other visitors to your website, including potential customers.
All of this original content is also likely to enhance your website’s performance in search engines such as Google.
A busy press centre suggests a successful busy business, and is an essential tool for every new business. Make sure you have all these elements in yours:
Latest press releases
Ideally you will have the headline and a brief summary of your last 3 or 4 press releases. Each headline should link through to the full release. If you send press releases to different areas of the country or different market sectors, make it easy for visitors to access the relevant information quickly.
Press release archive
Every press release you have ever sent out should be here, normally in chronological order, or arranged by specific campaign. Even if your press centre is new, it’s worth you adding older releases. They help to form a history for your business.
Press coverage received
Sometimes it gives a journalist more confidence about your business to see that lots of other journalists have written about you. Include links to every story you’ve had and date them.
Include a number to contact a company spokesperson 24 hours a day. And then ensure someone is always available! It’s OK to state that this is for journalists only, but be aware that some of your customers will use it to contact you – especially if they can’t find a phone number anywhere else on the site.
Write a basic factfile on your business, and ensure it is always 100% up-to-date. Cover off a brief history of your business, what you do, where you do it, and the key people involved.
Photographs and logos
Always have photographs and logos available to download. Offer low res and high quality versions. As you have more and more photos available, keep the old ones on the site but make it clear they are now archive pictures.
Allow journalists to easily contact you to get a sample of your product. Don’t worry about trying to put off blaggers now – most authentic journalists will be used to proving they are who they say they are, normally by their email address or sending you a written request on headed paper. Watch out for people who claim to be freelance journalists – ask them who they typically work for and to provide links to samples of recent work.
If you do any kind of cause-related marketing (i.e. support a charity) then include details of your support here, including a link to the charity’s website.
Great examples of online Press Centres
On every website you visit, keep an eye out for the telltale “Press” link at the bottom. Here are a few different examples:
Another corporate: http://www.gner.co.uk/GNER/PressCentre/default.htm
Online retailer: http://www.tiewarehouse.co.uk/press.php
Highly unusual: http://www.lingscars.com/news.php
Former journalist Paul Green is one of the UK’s leading experts in getting free publicity, and using it to grow your business. www.publicityheaven.com