Did you know that second only to your blog, the media room should be the most updated page on your website? When was the last time you updated your media room? For most of us, it's probably been a while. We tend to put up media rooms and then forget about them. But more and more, a good, informative media room should be consistently updated.
We've found through research, reading, and our own experiences that often it's not just the media that visits this page, that's why the term "media room" is a bit misleading. It's actually a great place to inform, entertain, and educate your reader on you, your books, your message or product, and the things you've been up to, and often it's the first place a prospective buyer will go to for more information on you and your work.
In order to compete in the digital age, more and more authors are turning to their media rooms to attract readers to their book. Why? Well it's a great one-stop-shop place to get all the latest data on your books, new editions, new products and new speaking events (should you decide to list them).
The old way of doing media rooms was to have a list of your press releases, maybe a link or two to media and that was that. Now media rooms are almost the nerve center of your entire website. Here's a quick rundown of what should (and shouldn't) be in your media room. Keep in mind that components of a media room will vary, depending on your topic, genre and focus, so if you can't include all of these, that's ok. Better to have only those components related to your book/product/topic than ones that don't make any sense at all:
1) Downloadable picture of your book cover or covers, your photo and other related artwork you want to offer.
2) About You: people want to know who you are, so tell them! Make sure your bio is on the media room and ready to download. It's especially helpful if a media person is trying to gather information for an article and wants some background on you.
3) Press releases with live links: a few issues back we wrote that live links in a press release are a great way to get traffic back to your site, but guess what? It works well in reverse, too. News posted to your site gets spidered very quickly, so including links and keywords will greatly enhance the visibility of both the media room and your press release. In fact another quick tip is this: instead of placing ads, issue a press release. No kidding. Press releases are a far better alternative than an ad on the Internet. You'll get spidered, you'll get ranking and best of all, you'll get traffic.
4) New book/product information: this is the perfect place for sharing past, current, and future information on your book. Be boastful! This your chance!
5) Tip sheets: we all know that the media loves tip sheets, but guess what? Your readers/consumers do, too. Fill your press room with any that you've created.
6) Where you've been featured: be very generous with this. Don't assume that if you have only been featured online that you should not list that. List everything! The more you can populate this room with links that make you look like the busy marketing person you are, the more attractive you'll be to your buyer and to the media.
7) Ideas for stories: if a reporter is perusing your site looking for story ideas, why not give it to him? Creating a pop up box that says "Here's how (insert your name) can help you with your story" is a great way to generate ideas for the media and get yourself a mention in an upcoming story or feature.
8) Bragging rights! If you have testimonials or reviews, place them here, too. While it's always good to sprinkle testimonials/reviews throughout your site, this is another great place to list them. Regardless of whether the visitor to your media room is the media or a reader, people like what other people like!
9) No hunting allowed! Don't make people hunt for information. The other day I was on a site looking for book pricing. I had to send an email to get a list of pricing, and why? Because it was confidential? Doubtful. But most people don't think to remove the extra steps. Shorten the staircase. Meaning: remove needless steps to the close. Put pricing, information sheets, whatever you have up on your media room so folks don't have to go on a hunting expedition for it.
10) Events: I took events off of my website a long time ago. Why? Because I do so much pop up stuff that I had a hard time keeping up with it. There's nothing worse than an outdated events page, but if you can keep yours up, great! Keep it current, the activity will look great on your media room.
A few final tips: don't even consider cramming all of this information onto your site if you're not going to deliver this in pop-up form. Check out http://www.amarketingexpert.com/media.html for an example of this. Also, deliver your text content in both PDF format as well as in text format so the search engines can spider it.
Don't limit yourself to the items mentioned above, experiment with other media room ideas that might not be listed here. Book videos, for example, might be another great addition to your media room. The key is, start thinking of your media room as a place to present yourself not just to the media, but to the world! This will change how you view this very important page on your site and help turn a ho-hum page into a rockin' red hot media room!