Back when I worked at AOL CityGuide, it wasn’t uncommon for city editors to be asked to create articles overnight, usually due to a current event that might drive traffic. Britney Spears just got married in Vegas? Then we needed a list of the city’s best wedding chapels — stat. If CityGuide were still around today, I’m sure I would have been asked to turn around listicles about the city’s best mocktails, plant-based burgers, and cauliflower dishes over the last few months.
Creating such articles requires not only research but, more often than not, professional, high-resolution photos. Sometimes, I was forced to omit a pick for inclusion in an article solely based on the fact I couldn’t secure artwork quickly enough — which means that business missed out on free PR.
Last-minute calls for editorial content are still a journalistic mainstay. And you don’t want your brand or company to miss out on an opportunity for free ink. Even if you’re available when a journalist calls, it’s a lot easier if you have all the materials in one place for them.
That’s where a press page can save the day.
Benefits of a Press Page
You’ve probably noticed a lot of sites have press pages, and it’s not just to toot their own horn to potential customers. There are numerous advantages to having such a page on your website, including:
- Credibility. A page that compiles your latest and greatest press hits shows that your brand is worth talking about.
- Efficiency. You can provide a single link that contains all your info and assets. (This is particularly useful when replying to HARO requests.)
- Timeliness. Journalists can access your press page 24/7, without having to wait for a response from a PR rep.
- SEO. Having an archive of press releases can provide an organic boost of your visibility in search engines.
Contents of a Press Page
The complexity of this portion of your site will depend on how much content you want to share. But at the bare minimum, it should contain the following:
- Contact info. If you don’t have a dedicated press person or agency, it can just be a manager or someone else you feel comfortable representing your brand. Include a name, email and, if possible, a phone number. Avoid using a contact form, as it gives the journalist the impression you probably won’t respond in a timely manner. Your brand’s social handles can go here, too.
- Images. Definitely include logos and your most popular/best-selling products. Other images you might want to have: headshots of company principals, photos of your workplace or factory, and screenshots of your app or website. Include both high-res (300 dpi) and low-res (72 dpi) versions of each and make sure they are clearly labeled as such. Also make sure that it’s obvious what the photo depicts, such as the official product name or the executive featured. Include this info in the photo’s metadata. Remember to include any credits or copyright info that should accompany the photo.
- Recent media hits. Make sure this is a separate section. Due to copyright reasons, you might not be able to include full articles, so just a link should suffice. (Make sure to keep digital copies of the articles elsewhere, in case they’re ever taken down.)
- Background documents. This includes an FAQ, a list of awards, a timeline of company milestones, and any bios of company principals. Don’t make the journalist work for this info: Put it all right there so they have the basics. If they need more, they can contact you.
- Press releases. As with media hits, these should be in their own section, listed in reverse-chronological order. If you have a lot of press releases, you may want to show only the most recent ones and provide a link to an archive (which should be searchable, if possible). Provide journalists with a way to sign up to receive new releases. (This mailing list should be separate from the one for your company newsletter.)
If you get frequent press requests, think about the assets you provide most often, such as a trial version of your app or videos of your product in use, and include those.
Other Best Practices
Now that you know what goes into a solid press page, keep the following in mind:
- Make the press page easy to find. If your site doesn’t have a lot of pages, you can put it in the main nav. But since that’s valuable real estate, it’s also acceptable to put it in a dropdown menu or as a link on your About or Contact pages. Journalists are also used to looking in the footer for press info.
- Name it “Press” or “News.” Don’t get creative with the name or journalists might look right past it.
- Make the content easy to scan. Journalists often have limited time to research, so if they have to dig to find what they’re looking for, they’ll likely move on.
- Consider multiple pages. If you decide to include all of the items in the previous section, the page might get cluttered. Consider having a main landing page that links to separate pages for press releases, assets, etc.
- Don’t require registration. Remember: Time is of the essence. If a journalist has to wait for approval before accessing your press info, they might just skip you in favor of your competitor. Unless there’s an indisputable reason to do so, do not put your press content behind a sign-in wall.
- Make sure your PDFs are unlocked and readable online. This allows journalists to easily copy and paste. (Press releases are one of the few times where doing so is considered legal and acceptable.) Copying also minimizes the chances of misspelling your products’ and executives’ names. Don’t require the journalist to download the PDF; they should be able to click and read it online.
Still have questions about your brand’s press page? Hit me up in the comments below.