I spent way too much time today gathering facts about a smartphone app I was profiling for a client newsletter. What should have been a five-minute process took more like 25 because the creator’s website wasn’t media friendly.
What’s worst, since this was for publication rather than for personal research, I wanted to make sure I had the facts straight about the paid version of the product. I looked for a phone number to call; there was none.
My fact-checking choices were e-mail or online chat. I chose the chat, but even then, initial answers seemed so automated and unconnected to my request that I had to confirm I was talking to a person. I found it hard to believe that the company wanted to handle a media inquiry through the website sales chat function, but that’s what we did.
What does “media friendly” mean?
Does your website make it easy for a journalist to get the information needed from you? Is it media friendly? And what does that mean, anyway?
A “media friendly” site makes it easy for the press to find, copy, and use important information about your book. There are two easy ways to do this:
- Create a media section that journalists access on your toolbar. Whether you label it “media room,” “for the press,” “press kit,” or “media information,” you’re saying to any journalist, “Click here to get the information you need.” Make sure that section has the information they need, want, and expect. (More on that below.)
- Add a “contact” option to your toolbar and include not just your name, e-mail address, and telephone number, but your city, state, and country so that the reporter can calculate your time zone before calling. Too many authors leave out this information on their site, preferring for some reason to remain almost anonymous. Make it clear that you welcome media inquiries by encouraging them and making it easy to connect with you.
Should it be this difficult?
At a minimum, you want a description of your book on your home page or another prominent place on your website. Here’s the path I had to take to get enough information to write a 200-word piece on the app:
- Grab the product description from the “about the company” link buried at the bottom of the page.
- Take notes on product features and benefits by watching the video on the home page.
- Snag a few more tidbits from the “support” page. (“Support” was the last place I checked for product information because I didn’t need support for an app I wasn’t using. I needed descriptions and details.)
- Review blog for “news.” Find nothing useful.
- Conduct five-minute e-chat with sales support staff.
Please don’t make it this hard to get information about your book.
To learn what you should include in your press room, read the “Must have online press room elements for authors and books” blog post. If your site needs a spring tune up, check out this free Author Website Checklist from the Duolit team.
Take the time to make sure your site is media friendly. It’s an easy thing to overlook — so easy in fact, that many do. Give yourself a competitive advantage by being the author who recognizes the importance of this and acts on it. You’ll stand out.
What’s in your website press room?
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