Monday, November 16, 2009

Monday Writers Craft Online: Attracting Press Coverage Part 1

Media people are usually short of time. They have deadlines to deal with, and need information quickly. It is important to offer as much up to date information as possible in the quickest time. If it takes a page ten minutes to download, or it takes more than a few clicks to get to the information needed, they'll get bored and go somewhere else. Web sites that are easy to use, updated frequently and give lots of information will be bookmarked and visited frequently.

What's useful...

A short biography citing whole name, and a few words about major achievements. Putting a "last revised by" date on each page is also useful - I found myself wondering why some people weren't answering their telephone and it turned out they had moved a year ago and not updated their web site.

News or Press Releases. Each press release should be available in plain HTML, with the release date and your contact details posted at the beginning or end of the article. This means that someone who sees the press release without visiting the site will find it easy to contact you.

Images. If you want to be fancy, you can also offer a bank of complementary images for the press to use. Sending images over email is time consuming. However, if you offer a free bank of images, chances are that a newspaper or magazine will pick up one or more to use as illustrations. Offering links to suitable images at the end of each press release is also an excellent gimmick.

List of links to reviews and articles already out there. This helps journos see what's already been said about you, and prevents them from writing the same stuff over and over again. If it's appeared in print only, ask if you can offer a scan. Most will say yes.

If the piece is online, don't copy and paste and stick it on your own site. Nobody likes to have others hijack their work and visitor traffic. Be polite and offer a link that helps lead traffic to the people that have given you publicity. Do, however, keep a copy for those publications that take their stuff offline after a certain amount of time. Once it's no longer available, you can then offer your saved file on your own pages.

By the way, don't take my Media Page and Logomania and Katz Tales pages as models - yet. I've got the basic elements in place but it needs several more hours work. I'm updating as I go along and with screaming deadlines this month it's a slow business.

Notice I tidied up the pages by making the thumbnail images smaller (by defining HEIGHT as 100 in HTML mark-up). I also rescanned the click-through larger images to be about 150kb so they'd download quicker.

Pop back next week to see some additions, and to learn more about getting to the press. And hey, buy my Logomania and Katz Tales books for someone as a present, OK?

In the meantime, you can also check Dawn Farnham's web site. It's not perfect, but it has all the elements you could hope for as a journo.


~CovertOperations78~ said...

I really need to get at least 3 copies of Katz Tales before Hannukkah / Christmas! But I find it hard to go shop after work because I am on after-work hotline duty! Grrrr! Next week, then!

Dizzyjules said...

I'm still trying to get Katztales from major bookstores but with no luck. Can you publish the bookstores who sell them?

Ellen Whyte said...

Dizzy: Tales is now available from Popular, Times, Borders, Kino and MPH. It took a while for everyone to place orders. Also check the book page for online orders: Cheers, Ellen

Jenny said...

This is useful. Keep it up!

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