Most people who are in business or who are experts, authors or entertainers, would love to be featured in, or on, major media outlets, not only so they can spread their messages to millions of people quickly, but because large media outlets have a trusted following. Being seen on Oprah or CNN, or being featured in Inc. or Bloomberg Businessweek, gives you instant credibility among their audiences. This “third-party endorsement” from the trusted editors, writers and producers at the media outlets goes a long way in building their audiences’ trust in you!
If you want to see your face on TV, or your products or words of wisdom in magazines, you need to know how to present your information the way the media want to see it. The first place most media members go to check you out, is your website. Then, they will immediately look for an “online press room”.
An online press room is, in the eyes of the media, the place on your website where they will find what they need to know to determine whether or not they want to do a story on you or to interview you. It’s also the place they might go back to in order to produce an article or segment on you. They want all the information in one place and, preferably, to see the various components at a glance.
Journalists, bloggers and TV and radio producers are very busy, especially now that many of the media outlets have reduced their staff, so the more you can supply them with the information they need at the click of a mouse, the more they will want to work with you.
Following is a list of items to include in an online press room.
If you don’t have them all, just begin with the elements you do have, and continue to add components as you develop them.
• In your online press room, post the words “Media contact” followed by the name, email address and phone number of the person who will handle calls and inquiries from the media on your behalf. It’s okay if it’s you.
o Do not skip the phone number or email address here. Members of the media do not like to fill out online forms, and they frequently need to reach potential guests quickly. If they can’t call you, they may move on to someone who is more accessible.
• Include your biography and/or company backgrounder in your online press room.
o If you are an expert, you might only have a biography. If you have a company that exists beyond yourself, you might also have a company backgrounder.
• Your video reel or videos of you speaking should be near the top of your online press room page.
o If you have not yet been interviewed on TV, you can include other video of yourself speaking, to give the media an idea of how you come across. Be sure the quality is good and that you are talking about topics that are relevant to the way you are positioning yourself.
o If you don’t have any videos yet and you have not obtained any prior media training, a few media training sessions with a seasoned media trainer will boost your clarity, confidence and poise on camera. Just a couple of media training sessions can help you to capture the attention of television producers with your videos. For more information on our media training services, visit https://expertmediatraining.com/services-media-training-and-presentation-training/.
o For experts or people who want to do a lot of demonstrations in the media, include video segments of you providing tips or information or doing demonstrations. If you can make these segments downloadable from your online press room for news producers to capture and include in news segments, you’ll have an even greater advantage over your competition. To see examples of the types of videos you should include in your online press room, visit https://expertmediatraining.com/press-room-for-la-media-trainer-lisa-elia/.
o Be sure your video content is viewable on your website and in your online press room: don’t use links that will lead people away from your site and onto YouTube, Vimeo, or elsewhere. If your videos are hosted on YouTube or Vimeo, you can create a playlist and embed it onto your website. This would allow members of the media to watch several videos of you, within one small frame on your page. I use Vimeo Plus, so that I can have my videos on my site, without the Vimeo logo and without other people’s videos being shown following mine, as YouTube videos often do.
• An audio reel or links to audio interviews can also be included in your online press room.
o If you have not yet been interviewed on the radio, but decide to include other audio recordings, such as those from teleseminars, only include top-quality content. You may want to edit it to capture only the best parts of each teleseminar.
• In your online press room, post a list of topics you can discuss, and story or segment ideas.
o Conduct some research to determine what has already been covered extensively in the media, and then think of some topics that are compelling.
o To get a sense of how to write your list of topics, look at covers of magazines and other print media, and pay attention to the way guests are announced on the TV and radio shows where you would like to be featured.
o One of the topics or segment ideas on your list may be the very reason a member of the media decides to create a TV segment or article featuring you.
• Include press releases, press clippings and articles you have authored in your online press room.
o Although there’s no rule about any of this, one way to include press clips is to post the covers of the media outlets where you have received coverage with hotlinks that lead to PDFs of each clipping. People generally want to read the articles themselves.
o If you include links to the media outlets’ sites, check them frequently: many media outlets regularly move content on their sites.
• Create interesting fact sheets for your online press room.
o To increase your chances of gaining press coverage, include a fact sheet(s) in your online press room that includes background information on topics related to your area of expertise, relevant facts and statistics from universities and research institutes, and professional associations. For example, if you are a fitness expert, include fact sheets with statistics on the number of people who are obese, how many pounds the average person gains during the holidays, the efficacy of certain types of exercise, and so on.
o Be sure to use reputable sources, such as top universities or institutions, for the data you include in your fact sheets, and be sure to credit all sources. It is good to include a link to the source of the information, so a member of the press who wants to quickly verify it can do so.
o The most preferred photo format by the media is jpeg, generally 300 DPI (dots per inch).
o The types of photos to include are headshots that could run with articles about you or your company, images of each of your products, and images of your staff and facility, if you have a larger company.
o If your work includes creating transformations of any kind, whether you transform environments or people, include before-and-after images in your downloadable photo gallery. Just make sure you have the right to publish all the photos you use.
• If you sell or create products, include product line sheets in your online press room, in the form of downloadable PDFs.
• If you offer a variety of services, you may want to include a list of services that you provide, or simply post in your online press room a link that opens your “services” page as a new window. You want this to open in a new window so you keep the members of the media in your press room.
• Authors should include a book one-sheet in their online press rooms.
o This document usually contains a one- to two-paragraph description of your book with bullet points of main topics covered in the book, top reviews for the book, a photo of the book cover, a photo of yourself and a brief paragraph about you (approximately one or two paragraphs). Include the publishing information, ISBN number, price, publishing date and stores or sites where the book is available.
• Testimonials can be included in your online press room, but be sure to only include those that don’t sound too salesy.
o You can have a separate page containing testimonials from clients/customers or incorporate them into other documents within your online press room. Or, you can include a link to the testimonials page, on your online press room page.
Once you know exactly which elements you will include in your online press room, give some thought and planning to the layout of the page.
Name your online press room something obvious, like “Press Room” or “Media”. Include your online press room page link in your main navigation bar on your website. Don’t make people search for it under “About Us” or elsewhere.
Put the most important elements above the fold, including your “media contact” information, video of you, a photo of you, and at least a few sentences of your biography. For those who don’t know what “above the fold” means, it’s an expression that refers to a folded newspaper: the most important news was usually placed “above the fold”. On a web page, “above the fold” generally refers to whatever is visible before someone scrolls down.
One way to show many elements on your page, at a glance, is to post the first paragraph of text and then include a “read more” link that opens a page or document with the remainder of the content.
Before you make your online press room live, be sure to use SpellCheck and have someone else review your online press room to ensure that it doesn’t contain any mistakes. Many members of the media are writers with eagle eyes for errors: sometimes one typo could blow your credibility, in their eyes.
The more you present yourself and your offerings in a professional, organized, accessible manner, the more likely you will be to capture the attention of the media and to keep them coming back to you.
To see an example of an online press room from a PR expert and media trainer, visit mine at https://expertmediatraining.com/press-room-for-la-media-trainer-lisa-elia/
Good luck with your online press room!
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