The Online Media Room: Your front door for buyers (yes, buyers!)

I write about strategies to turn fans into customers and customers into fans. I also share ways to use real-time strategies to spread ideas, influence minds, and build business.

Search Engine Marketing  |  Press Release Content  |  New Rules of Marketing and PR  |  Public Relations  |  Marketing  |  Online Media Room

The online media room (sometimes called a press room or press page) is the part of your organization's Web site that you create specifically for the media. In some organizations this page is simply a list of news releases with contact information for the organization's PR person. But many companies and nonprofits have elaborate online media rooms with a great deal of information available in many different formats: audio, video, photos, news releases, background information, financial data, and much more. A close cousin to the online media room is the online Investor Relations room that many public companies maintain.

I want you to consider something that is vitally important: all kinds of people visit your online media room, not just journalists.

Stop and really let that soak in for a moment.

Your buyers are snooping around your organization by visiting the media pages on your Web site. Your current customers, partners, investors, suppliers, and employees all visit those pages. Why is that? Based on casual research I've done (I often speak with people who are responsible for their organizations' online media rooms about visitor statistics), I'm convinced that when people want to know what’s current about an organization, they go to an online media room.

Visitors expect that the main pages of a Web site are basically static (i.e., they do not update often), but they also expect that the news releases and media-targeted pages on a site will reveal the very latest about a company. For many companies, the news release section is one of the most frequently visited parts of the Web site. Check out your own Web site statistics; you may be amazed at how many visitors are already reading your news releases and other media pages online.

So I want you to do something that many traditional PR people think is nuts. I want you to design your online media room for your buyers. By building a media room that targets buyers, you will not only enhance those pages as a powerful marketing tool, you will also make a better media site for journalists.

For instance, you can create different links to targeted releases for different buyer personas (maybe by vertical market or some other demographic factor appropriate to your organization). You might also organize releases by product, by geography, or by market served. Most organizations simply list news releases in reverse-chronological order (the newest release is at the top of the page, and ones from last year are hidden away somewhere). While this is fine for the main news release page, you need to have additional navigation links so people can browse the releases.

I've reviewed hundreds of online media rooms, and the best ones are built with buyers in mind. This approach may sound a bit radical, but believe me, it works.