As the media landscape has shifted, brands are enjoying new opportunities to grow relationships with journalists, bloggers and other influencers. Media-friendly microsites are one way savvy communications professionals are making the most of this shift. Traditional journalists are required to produce more product than ever and, increasingly, that product includes visual assets. According to one study, 75% of the articles now published include multimedia.(1) PWR’s own recent survey found that a vast majority of journalists are more likely to cover a story if they have easy-access to images. And yet, the vast majority of story pitches and other media-facing assets don’t hand journalists the assets they need.(2)
Closing the gap between what the media wants and what most PR folks are providing is a great way for communications professionals to help their brand stand out.
Making it easy for journalists to find, and reuse, branded assets is a great way to increase positive exposure and establish your brand as a go-to resource for the media. And while we’re well known for being passionate about direct-to-the-inbox multimedia releases, and we’re similarly fond of well done newsrooms, we increasingly see clients benefit from sites that are more evergreen than a release, but less permanent, and often less limiting, than a corporate newsroom.
We’ve seen effective microsites built around events, specific tactics, key personalities, single products, focused messages and more. They key is to keep it relevant, packed with usable assets, and have a plan for driving the media to the site via email, search and other distribution tactics. But we’ve done enough of these sites to have a pretty good understand of what makes them work, or not…
Four Ways To Ensure Your Microsite is Truly Journalist Friendly
1. Don’t put the technology before the people.
It’s easy to get sidetrack by a channel’s technical capabilities, but journalists come to your site looking for stories and multimedia assets, so put your people and your stories first and craft stories using multimedia elements that journalists can easily grab and reuse.
2. Be generous with images and video
Graphics have long been the most in demand single assets journalists are searching for. But the demand for video continues to grow as online news consumption increasingly demands video elements. So include image, graphics and video galleries. Make each asset both transferable (using embed codes and download links) and sharable (using social media share functionality) in order to makes it easier for the media to use your branded content when they cover your brand. Keep videos short, experiment with GIFs and other transferable animated elements, and tug heartstrings a by incorporating traditional storytelling techniques.
3. Don’t bury the lead.
This is particularly true with video, which streams fast or slow depending on the users system and connection. Make sure the most compelling part of your story is at the beginning of the video. A busy media professional will give your branded assets a quick once over before deciding if they’re worthy of inclusion. Featuring relevant and topical releases, videos, images and other elements on a fluid homepage is another way to ensure you’re leading with what’s most newsworthy… and usable.
4. Brand wisely.
With the shift towards the convergence of owned, earned and paid media, consistent branding is more important than ever. Long gone are the days when your media-facing assets could afford to look just okay while your consumer facing assets benefited from best design practices. As one of PWR’s own VPs has recently pointed out, journalists are people too. And when it comes to us visually wired humans, looks count. Make the most of your microsite with design that appeals to eyeballs and hearts.