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Five Things You Need to Fix on Your Website to Land Media Coverage

Five Things You Need to Fix on Your Website | Firepole MarketingOne of the most cost effective ways to build awareness of your business and credibility in your market is media coverage, but too often you send out pitches and nothing happens.

Crickets.

Even with a great story, you may not get the call from your local TV station or Forbes because your website, while optimized for your customer leaves the media cold. Back in the day, PR pros would spend days writing and preparing materials for a press kit which would include bios, background on the organization, key facts and even specific stories they could speak to. Press kits were then handed out at events or mailed out to press to support announcements.

The days of the press kit are (thankfully) long gone, and now your website is your press kit. When the media come knocking, you want them to know – in only a couple clicks – that you can deliver. They need to feel confident in your expertise and quickly understand what you can discuss.

If you are already doing media outreach, or gearing up to do so, you need to make sure your web site is ready for the big time.

Here are 5 fixes you can make to your site to help you land coveted media appearances…

1. Your About Page Should Have a Formal Bio

There are many schools of thought regarding about pages. Generally these are going to be written to address the needs of your prospects and customers. However, you want to consider that if the media is checking you out, your about page is likely one of their first stops. Ensure your about page is not full of jargon or geek-speak and try to avoid being overly clever. You want them to be able to know what you do at a glance.

Include a formal bio at the end of your about page which:

  • Is concise. Two to three paragraphs maximum.
  • Showcases who you are, what you do and why you are uniquely qualified to do it.
  • Boast about your accomplishments – if you grew the bottom line 3,000% then say so.
  • Share industry recognition or awards.
  • Detail professional designations.

2. Create a Page to Showcase Your Media & Speaking Experience

Once you are established in your industry, you want to upgrade from your about page and make sure you have a media/speaking page. You may simply call it media or as featured on, but the key is that this information is included on your site. (If you have ample experience with media and speaking, you can even separate them into two pages.)

This page is a core building block for your PR efforts as you can use it as a link to showcase your experience and establish your specific areas of expertise.

On your expert page, include:

  • Your professional bio.
  • Photos of you.
  • Videos of you (speaking sessions or media appearances are ideal).
  • Details of past media coverage, guest posts and speaking gigs.
  • How to best contact you.

Another inclusion for this page is your signature stories. These are your key 3 to 5 topics you can discuss with media or deliver at speaking engagements. They should have catchy titles and then include a few lines outlining the key points. These should be short but with enough content to tease media and show organizers.

3. Build Street Cred with Social Proof

Proof, proof and more proof, are the name of the game. You want people, when they come to your site to instantly feel that you are a legitimate expert.

You definitely want a handful of customer testimonials on your site, not only for your prospects, but for the media. Knowing that customers are happy and trust you goes a long way as social proof. If you are just getting started, seek out quotes from former co-workers, mentors or experts in your field that you have a relationship with.

People tend to appreciate it when you make giving a testimonial as easy for them as possible. So try to take a little of the work off of their plate.

If you’ve received a complimentary email from someone – ask if you can quote from it. Alternatively, you can try drafting up a few sentences, and asking your contact if they would agree to endorse you for it.

If you don’t have an email on hand, and aren’t comfortable providing text – then just make sure to be as specific as possible when you are asking for your testimonial. Say what it’s for, who might see it, what you need them to know and how long you need it to be.

4. Killer Blog Content with Media Principles in Mind

When it comes to media, the content on your site matters, especially your blog. If you are suggesting you write a guest post or article for a trade magazine, they are definitely going to check out your blog to gauge your writing style.

Media, when preparing a story and looking to use you as an expert, may use blog content as background information, so you need to start thinking more like a journalist and create content media will love:

  • Write Great Headlines. Skip the titles, write headlines that pull readers in.
  • Use Facts to Make Your Point. Opinions are all well and good, but facts matter. Use facts, surveys, quotes and infographics to back-up your assertions. (Just not all in one post.)
  • Work with an Editor. Even the best writers need a good editor. Make sure you take the time to have a second set of eyes review your work.

5. Make it Dead Easy to Contact You

Sometimes the simplest things can turn out to be a deal breaker with media. If you want to work with the media, you need to make a point of being accessible. Don’t pitch a round of stories the day before you take off for two weeks for fun in the sun. The same thing goes with your contact information. Ensure they can easily find an email or phone number for you on your website. If you don’t quickly respond to email, have emails from media go to your assistant or someone who will be able to get back to them in a timely fashion.

Working with the media can do amazing things for your business from positioning you as an expert to bringing new customers in the door. The key is ensuring you have the right pieces in place so there’s absolutely no question that you are the right person for them to work with. Making small changes to your website now can reap big rewards when you get your big break with your dream media outlet.

Who’s your dream media outlet and what website fix are you going to make now so you are ready for their call? Share in the comments below.

About Maggie Patterson

Maggie Patterson is a PR strategist who works with entrepreneurs and small businesses to help them learn the basics of PR. With 15 years in the PR trenches, Maggie has earned her stripes working for some of the most recognizable brands in the world to solopreneurs securing hundreds of speaking gigs and thousands of articles. Learn more at her blog, The Scoop.

21 comments

  1. Maggie Patterson ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Marlene just know we all start somewhere with our sites and blogs. Small changes can make a big difference over time! Congratulations on the book – sounds exciting. 🙂

    1. Margaret Gorhan says:

      Maggie,

      Informative article! Much of the advice is a little premature for me right now, but it will come in handy down the road. Thanks.

  2. Daryl says:

    Great tips Maggie! I’m thinking the only thing I’d add is:

    Establish relationships with the local media houses.

    A lot of media houses crave content – and before you approach them with a promotional piece about yourself, I think you can jump start the process by volunteering your expert services as part of a discussion around a relevant but “hot” topic! That way when it is time to get that media coverage, you already have them primed and ready to answer when you give them a call.

    1. Maggie Patterson ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

      Great tip! Local media should be a key part of any media strategy as they are always looking for local experts. If you can get on their radar you’ll be top of mind when it comes time for a story. Best of all, local stories can go national quickly and it helps you build your experience. Thanks for your insights.

  3. Additional tip for #5 above:

    Don’t bury your contact information under a “Contact Us” button! Put it on every page, and that includes your phone number.

    Every extra hoop that you make journalists jump through to find you adds extra time to their task. I’m a former journalist, and even making me spend 10 seconds to find your “Contact Us” button, and then click again and hunt for your phone number, can be aggravating, especially on deadline.

    Remember, too, that they might be arriving at your website via a page deep within your site–one more reason to have your email address and phone number on every page of your site. The best place is in the upper right corner, or in the right margin, or the footer.

    Don’t even think about making them fill out one of those aggravating forms and then promising you’ll get back to them within 24 hours.

    1. Maggie Patterson ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

      Thanks so much Joan. I love what you said about the contact form, aggravating is right!

      Fantastic suggestion to integrating the contact info right on every page or across the site using your header. The easier we make it for media the more apt they will be to work with us.

  4. Amandah says:

    Great tips!

    Regarding 2. Create a Page to Showcase Your Media & Speaking Experience – You could always create a Media Kit and place it under your About section if you’re starting out. Once you’ve built up a following, you could always create a Media or Featured On page. This is what I have to do. I have a Featured On section on the right-hand side of my page, but I’m slowly building up media and would benefit from a media page. Thanks for the reminder!

    As far as media outlets, I wanted to start with local outlets (I was featured in our local paper and online) and work my way up to national and international media outlets. You can do this, too. Get known in your area and work your way up.

    1. Maggie Patterson ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

      Great suggestion Amandah. That’s a great interim step until you build up enough to have a media/featured on page.

      Local is a GREAT way to get started. Let’s you figure out how to pitch and build up experience telling your story. Plus, local media can lead to local customer which is always good for business.

  5. Michal says:

    Well, I don’t plan media outreach anytime soon, but your post has encouraged me I’m doing something well.
    4 out of 5 points ticked off. I’ve created my first request for testimonials just a couple days ago.
    Thanks Maggie

    1. Maggie Patterson ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

      Go Michal! These steps are great for media or not? How frustrating is it for a customer when they can’t find your bio or figure out how to contact you. Good luck with your testimonials.

  6. Stephen Jeske says:

    Maggie, nicely focused and concise post. It’s true that most organizations have worked on optimizing their site for search engines, and more recently their audience. Yet few have taken the time to ensure that their blog is optimized for media.

  7. John Gibb says:

    I recall reading a similar article years ago @ ProBlogger.

    I don’t have a dream media outlet and I rarely use press releases other than for my niche sites. That’s my business. I don’t own my name domain name yet,. I prefer to build niche sites and strong brands that do not depend on my name. When/if I sell them, I can do well with the next project, and can continue to serve others.

    A speaking/consulting career may sound interesting within a few years, when our toddlers will grow a bit.

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