What You Need in Your Online Press Room
What sorts of materials do you need to include in your company’s online press room? The short answer is just about anything that members of the press might need to write or produce a story. The long answer includes the following:
- Press releases. One common component of any online press room is a collection of your company’s press releases, in digital format. The goal is to make all your press releases both viewable online and downloadable for offline use.
When choosing a format for your press releases, I recommend going with the Adobe PDF format. This way you can control the look and feel of the press release without providing something that can be easily altered. Journalists can still cut and paste text from PDF files, which makes their job easier.
As to organization, it’s common to find press releases listed in reverse chronological order – that is, the latest releases appear in the top of the list. That's fine, and helps visitors identify the most recent news. It’s also useful to organize your press releases into monthly or yearly archives, so older releases can be easily found if anyone's looking.
Finally, I recommend an additional organization by category or topic, as well as including a rudimentary search function. This way journalists interested in all the news about a particular topic can click that link and see all the related press releases, or just search for all releases on a given topic. Both approaches make it easier for journalists to the information they’re looking for.
- Product photos. Another key component of an online press room is a generous assortment of product photos. The photos should be easily downloadable, so journalists can use them to accompany stories and blog posts about your products.
It’s important to know that the photos in your online press room will be used by both traditional and online publications, so you'll have to size and format the photos appropriately. For online publications, that means a smaller, lower resolution photo in JPG format. For print publications, you need a much larger, much higher resolution photo, suitable for printing. TIFF is a good file format for print, as is EPS, although high-res JPG files also work. In any case, you need to provide both low-resolution and high-resolution files for each product you support, and make it easy for journalists to download either.
- Product videos. If you have any promotional videos for your products, include these in your online press room. These might be introductory product videos, how-to videos, even videos talking about your company or its management team. If there's a possibility that some online outlet might use the video and provide you with additional exposure, it's worth including.
As to format, take the same approach as you did with your product photos. Include both high definition and standard definition versions of any video file you offer. Traditional broadcast media can use the high-def video; websites can link to or embed the low-res version.
- Product information. The press also needs information about the products they may be writing about. To that end, include detailed product spec sheets, catalogs, and brochures in your online press room. These might duplicate items already present on individual product pages on your site, but that's okay; the press is more likely to find these documents from the press room gateway than by browsing or searching your main website. PDF is always a good format for these.
- Logos and other advertising materials. Given that one audience for your online press room is your dealer or distributor base, don't forget to include images of your company, brand, and product logos. Include logo files in various sizes, colors, and configurations, for a variety of print and online uses.
- Company backgrounder. Members of the press and potential investors often come to your online press room to find out more about the company. To that end, include a detailed company backgrounder as part of your offerings. Include anything you might think the press and investors might be interested in, including a company timeline. PDF is a good format for this information.
- Management bios and photos. As part of the company background information you provide, you should also include brief bios of key company management—your company’s CEO, president, and other top-level people. The bio doesn't have to be long, but it should include the basics. In addition, make sure you include downloadable photographs of each person highlighted in your management bios; a typical headshot is fine.
- Other company photos. Your online press room should include photos of anything else a journalist might be interested in. This includes pictures of your corporate offices, factories, and warehouse; photos of how your product is manufactured; pictures of your product in use; and maybe even photos of customers using your products. Get a little creative and think about what sort of eye candy might be interesting to accompany various types of articles. As with all images, make them available in both low- and high-resolution formats.
- Press kits. Your job is to make life easier for the press. The easier you make it for them, the more likely it is they'll cover you. In this regard, one of the most useful things you can do is bundle together appropriate materials into an online press kit. You might create kits around specific product lines, product releases, promotions, or whatever. Include all relevant information and media – press releases, spec sheets, product photos, logos, and the like.
- Reviews and other media coverage. Be sure to include copies of or links to favorable media coverage your company and products have received. Include mentions and reviews in traditional media, as well as reviews and mentions in blogs and online news sites. Filter the list, of course, so that you don't draw attention to negative reviews and mentions. Show journalists and potential customers all the good things that people are saying about you.
- Contact information. Finally, include a link that visitors can use to contact you for more information. Make this a personal contact – an email link to a specific person in your PR department. Definitely include an email address, and probably a direct-dial phone number, as well. Make it easy for reporters and reviewers to get in touch with you – and make sure you return said emails and phone calls in a timely fashion!