Is your website PR ready?

This is a re-post from our guest blog on Vordik.com

When a potential client approaches me to help spread their story through traditional and social media, the first thing I do is check out their website. This, of course, is so I can learn more about the company but it’s also to make sure their website doesn’t—to put it bluntly—suck.

If the potential client has a bad website, my advice is to hold off on external PR activities and get back to the basics.

I was speaking with Toronto freelance journalist Jared Lindzon—who writes for top-tier publications like The Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, Fast Company and The Guardian— and he emphasized the importance of a solid web presence:

Coming across an out of date website while researching sources immediately raises a red flag. As someone who is required to interview only the most reputable of sources, often in the technology and media industries, there is simply no excuse for a sub-par web presence in this day and age. When I arrive at a company’s website I want to see a clear indication of their authority and expertise in their field, and if I have to look too hard to find it I will simply move on to one of their competitors.
— Jared Lindzon

I want to touch on two main points that Jared Lindzon brings up:

1. “A Sub-Par Web Presence”

We’ve all seen them and we cringe when they come up on our browser. Investing in a well-designed and highly-effective website is a good business decision.  It doesn’t have to break the bank, but it does need to be the best reflection of your business.

First thing you should do is test your website and make sure it’s representing your company well. Part of that process is getting acquainted with Google Analytics and your website’s metrics. For example, if your website has a bounce rate of over 70%, it could be cause for concern and is a sign to hold off on any external communications. It’s better to fix your site first to ensure people actually stay on your site in the future.

Your site must also be optimized for mobile devices. In today’s world, it’s important to ensure your website looks good across a variety of platforms because 60% of all online activity comes from mobile devices, and social networking generates more than 70% of its activity on mobile.

2. “Clear indication of their authority and expertise”

Now you have a beautifully-designed and optimized site, but your website upgrades don’t stop there. You need to make sure the copy and content on your site are going to capture the attention of visitors.

I enjoyed reading this blog post by @lisabuyer on Search Engine Watch about the difference between copy and content. She explains the difference well so I’m copying and pasting it directly here:

Content vs. Copy

A brand’s digital copy should communicate the value proposition and what makes you different from the competition. Examples of copy include:

  • About Us Page

  • Services Page

  • Products and Catalog

  • Guarantee Page

  • Executive Team Bios and Facts Sheets in the Company Newsroom

Content is best defined as what helps support and tell your brand’s story and news. This could be visual or text based. Content is more of a subliminal means to communicate a brand’s value proposition and could come in the form of press releases, testimonials, infographics, product reviews, or editorial style articles that might offers tips and helpful resourceful information.

When you proactively reach out to media, they’ll want to know what makes you an expert in your particular industry. Trust me on this one—unless you have the most innovative, unique and shiny new gadget, you have to tell a bigger story.

This is where the content on your website becomes so important. Content is a massive PR component and helps secure those ever-important and cherished news pieces.

The secret to getting good media coverage is to make the journalist’s job as easy as possible. When they arrive at your website, make sure they are seeing you at your best—a well designed website with captivating content, and a well thought out pressroom where they can easily find your latest announcements—all these components and more will help your company get that prized Globe and Mail article framed in the office!

So before investing in PR, ask yourself: “Is my website PR ready?”