What’s the worst thing that can happen if reporters don’t like your website? The short answer is, they won’t use it. And that’s a real stumbling block for government contractors eager for earned media coverage to keep their brands, their executives and their thought leadership in the hearts and minds of government stakeholders.

It’s nothing personal. The truth is, reporters’ jobs have become incredibly challenging. Publications across the board continue to downsize their newsrooms and staff photographer pools. Many reporters are now independent contractors/freelancers, left to find, research, write and submit their stories – often with a photo or graphic.

In this environment, reporters are visiting corporate websites daily for news, experts and images to help them shape their articles. If your website is friendly to reporters, you win! If not, you’re missing incredible opportunities to elevate the presence of your company.

Little things can make a big difference. For example, here are three mistakes to avoid:

  1. Forms: If your site requires visitors to register before connecting with the media contact, journalists on tight deadlines will skip that obstacle and move to the next company.
  2. Generic Email Address: Public relations is personal. A generic email (press@mycompany.com) is impersonal and can be off-putting to journalists who want to reach a person – not a function – inside your company.
  3. Marketing-Speak: Reporters are trusted sources. The media industry was built on a practice of reporting facts, not opinions. If your website language is too self-promotional or lacking in educational content, reporters will move on to a company that educates rather than sells.

On the flip side, there is strong agreement about what journalists want from websites. Your best options are to make your website easy to find, well organized and rich with useful content. The goal of an effective online press room is to anticipate and provide everything reporters need all in one easy-to-access digital hub.

By creating and maintaining your website with reporters in mind, you’ll be on the right path to amplifying the voice of your organization through earned media coverage.

NOTE: For more tips on what to avoid, or how to build a website that reporters will love, read our new white paper “Best Practices for Creating a Reporter-Friendly Website.”