Chances are, the first place you look to find out about something new that comes along, is the web and, more precisely, Google.
Well, journalists are no different. I remember a national newspaper journo once telling me that he thoroughly Googles every company and spokesperson he comes across before even starting to consider writing about them.
So if a journalist Googles you or your company, what are they likely to find? It’s certainly worth checking out.
And once they are on their website – will they be able to easily find what they want?
Website usability and optimisation is nothing new. We work with a number of clients who have sophisticated skills and technologies to help you push your online visitors towards a conversion point.
The way you treat journalists on your site should be no different.
Usability-guru ‘Jakob Nielsen has written a great post on ‘Press Area Usability‘, looking at some of the key considerations you need to remember when optimising your website for visiting journalists.
- “Websites must be painfully clear about a company’s purpose, products, and services”
- Avoid buzz-language, marketing-spiel and overly technical jargon
- Don’t use plugins and avoid forcing downloads in order to view specific information
- Don’t use PDFs
- Keep the site ‘clean’ with a clearly defined press or media section
- Make sure search engines know you and know where you are (read: SEO)
- Press section should include: links to supporting (independent) evidence, links to coverage, PR contact information, financial information, images, logos,
- Write in language journalists themselves use – it helps them to imagine how you would ‘fit’ in their publication
- Embrace multi-media (video, webcasts, podcasts), but make it easy to use
As we all know (PRs especially) and as Jakob states, journalists work to very tight-deadlines so making life easy for them is likely to benefit you and your relationship:
“If journalists can’t find what they’re looking for on a website, they might not include that company in their story. Journalists repeatedly said that poor website usability could reduce or completely eliminate their press coverage of a company.”
“Ultimately, PR-related usability comes down to a simple question: Why spend a fortune on outbound PR (trying to pitch journalists) when you neglect simple steps to increase the effectiveness of inbound PR (satisfying journalists who visit your website)?”
The 287-page report on Designing Websites to Maximize Press Relations (3rd edition) is also available for download.