Is your website ready for journalists? Here’s how you can run a quick audit | UnNoticed Entrepreneur — public relations for business owners.
By Jim James, Founder EASTWEST PR and Host of The UnNoticed Entrepreneur.
Through The UnNoticed Entrepreneur show, I share thoughts, tools, and tips to get your business noticed. In the recent episode , I talked about how easy it is for a journalist to find you and reach out to you.
This seems like an obvious thing to say. But if you just have a quick look at your website and do an audit, you’ll know if it has a few of the items that I’ll be discussing or not. Because if you don’t, it doesn’t matter how much the media wanted to find you — they’re going to find it difficult to get hold of you.
The Basics of Auditing Your Website
This week, I did an audit for a client to determine how approachable they are to the media. And this is what I want to share with you. You can do this on your website and on your social media as well.
First of all, do you have a media centre or a place where the media can contact you?
You may or may not have press releases and you may simply have a contact form on your website at the minute (which is a simple “Contact Us”). However, the journalist probably won’t be wanting to just fill out a form. They’re too busy. Plus, it’s going to go into your sales pipeline, probably.
The first thing to think about is if you have a dedicated press contact on your website. It doesn’t matter how big or small you are. As we’re seeing these days through platforms like Help A Reporter or Journo Requests , big and small companies are being asked to contribute articles . And it’s very easy for you to get that coverage if you’re looking for it. But if people come looking for you, how will they find you?
If you have a website and you don’t have a press contact, I really suggest that you put that on there. You can have an alias (for example, PR@your company name ) and have that go to you or whoever else is managing that on your behalf.
The second question is, do you have a press room on your website?
Some companies will embed some of the larger platforms like , which can help them have a hosted press centre. You may or may not want to go through the expense of that. But even if you just got a WordPress site, you can at least put your press releases up online. It doesn’t take much to do to have one page that’s dedicated to your press releases and your news. And these are separate from your blog.
Your blog can be an industry piece, a thought leadership piece, or an article. Your press releases, which should also be on your website, can be as simple as the appointment of a new person. They can also be about a new customer win, a new factory, or a new product. These are company-specific pieces of news that you have that you’d like to share.
Your press room doesn’t have to be too fancy. But ideally, you have to have one press release on your website a month. It doesn’t have to be very long. It can even be just 500 to 800 words, which is about half to a full page in length. This will also help you with your search engine optimisation (SEO).
On your website, you can also have a media database. Upload your logo, photographs of the key spokespeople, and fact sheets. Also, include links to your social media platforms.
Every website that wants to have correspondence with media should have these very simple media contacts, an archive of press releases, and a directory that people can download. You can have them as vector files or as JPEGs; in colour or in black-and-white. In sum — all the assets that you’d like the journalist to be able to use and drag-and-drop for a story.
The other thing that you want to put on your website is your company fact sheet. This has the history of your company and the names of the founders.
On Newswires and Keywords
The next thing that you need to look at is how easy it is for people to find you.
Today, there are news websites like PR Newswire and if you send out a press release through them, it will be listed on some websites. PR Newswire, for example, goes directly to the big feeds like . They also get hosted on websites like , which collates competitor information. These are very useful for journalists and analysts who might be looking to file a story and they want to find a company and other companies related to that particular industry or topic. ZoomInfo will be one of the sources that they’ll go to in order to aggregate which companies they might want to talk to.
You can get on platforms like this by having an account and filling them in with your updated details. Services like PR Newswire also get directly picked up by ZoomInfo. So the press release on your website can be picked up by ZoomInfo.
You also have to think about the keywords on your website: Are they being picked up by industry websites?
If you have some SEO work done on your website, you’ll have some keywords or terms — which are words that should be in all of your press releases. These should then be sent to all those different trade press websites. You can also use PR Newswire or some of the smaller ones like (which is run by Mickie Kennedy who previously came on the ). There are now a large number of boutique press release distribution services, available for as low as £50, that can send a set of trade press releases for you.
The reason for using these newswires is that they have feeds that are often aggregated and published almost verbatim by many of the trade show websites and trade portals that are just looking to aggregate large volumes of content. These websites will have articles and interviews. They also take such content because it’s really low-hanging fruit for them. And, frankly, it also helps them move their SEO. It gives them real estate for their banner exchange and for advertising.
One thing to also look at is whether the name on your website is the name on your press releases. It’s very easy to have a full company name on your website and then a shortened version on your press releases. However, it may affect whether it shows up on the search functions on these trade portals and news websites or not.
Make sure that the words and the names that you use — the naming conventions that you have — on your home website, press releases, and directory submissions are all the same. This seems obvious but it can be very easy for a brand to get diluted if you don’t do this.
On Awards, Research Reports, and Social Media
The next thing to think about is, do you have any awards or patents?
Boost Awards , for example, has a global list of awards that you can enter — including the Queen’s Award for Exports in the UK. I also found that Fast Company in America also gives . Manufacturing Asia from Charlton Media Group has the Made in Singapore Awards .
There are awards all over the world run by governments, associations, and publications. If you haven’t attended any, I encourage you to do so. In fact, I’ve entered ThinkFest’s The Business Book Awards with my The UnNoticed Entrepreneur Volume 1 . I’ve joined the award and it cost me four books or £75. I did this because nothing ventured, nothing gained.
Enter awards because these awards can go onto your website.
The other place that you want to try and get your company into is a research report. I did a podcast on analysts just a few episodes ago and if you’re not currently talking to analysts, it’s one area that you want to address. Analysts produce reports that appear on their websites — for example, , , and . These reports can then be tracked back to you.
There are a number of places that you should be thinking about and where you could be building signposts and content for journalists and analysts to come and find you. The other place is social media. Are you on LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook.
You want to have all these platforms owned with your own branding and your own name. Even if you’re not religiously tending them yourself, you can automate the distribution to them.
You can have Pinterest, Instagram, and YouTube if you’re in the consumer space. With regard to TikTok, there are some arguments about the demographic of who you’re selling to on that platform. But if you’re in the business-to-business (B2B) space, LinkedIn and Twitter are absolutely helpful.
You need to have your content on these channels because these are where the journalists are going to find out about you as they’re doing their research. And if you’re not on these channels, you’re going to undermine the sense of credibility that they have about you. These days, you presence, to some degree, translates into the impression of the reputation of your business.
This is why some big old sluggish companies are not getting the kind of media coverage that some of the upstarts are getting. Journalists are living in these places like social media (especially Twitter). And if you’re not on those, then you’re not part of their current conversation where they’re looking for the kind of stories that they can publish.
All of these platforms are free to own so you can have your own space. I’ve before about automation platforms like , , , and . There are plenty of them that you can use.
In summary, a quick audit — how available, accessible, and findable you are for the media — is important.
You might think that you’re doing a great job on your website but it may be really focused on sales. But the community that you also want to talk to are the journalists. So I encourage you to have a quick look at your website. Worst case, it can be just an email saying “Media enquiries are welcome” together with your alias, media@your company name .
If you could put some press releases on your website, do so. I’ve also previously talked about products like that are out there to help you write those articles.
If you at least have your media contacts and a phone number ideally (because most journalists are operating on a deadline), then it gives you a much better chance of getting your story into the media.
I hope that these short snippets and little pieces of experience that I shared will add value and help you to get noticed for what you do. As entrepreneurs, we’re so focused on sales, cash flow, and compliance among others that, sometimes, we let the opportunities to get noticed pass us by.
This article is based on a transcript from my podcast The UnNoticed Entrepreneur, you can listen here.
Originally published at https://theunnoticed.cc on May 13, 2022.