By Darcy Provo, LCI Senior Counselor
Most journalists work under tight deadlines, so it follows that they might get more than a little bit frustrated when the website for a company they’re researching points them to [email protected]. They don’t have time for that. Buh, bye. They’re gone. The result is a missed opportunity.
The solution is simple. Put the name of a real person, their direct phone number and direct email in an easy-to-find place on the website. It’s so simple that it’s surprising many companies still don’t do it.
That’s just one of 103 design recommendations from user-experience research firm Nielsen Norman Group in its report Designing Websites to Maximize Press Relations – Guidelines from Usability Studies with Journalists. Nielsen Norman Group researchers observed 40 journalists performing tasks on 42 different company websites to learn what works and what doesn’t work when they are seeking information about a company. The journalists in the study represent a wide variety of publications, from national newspapers to smaller, highly targeted publications. The websites they studied represented a range of companies – small to enormous.
Nielsen Norman Group found that the top five reasons journalists visit a company’s website are to:
1) Locate a PR contact
2) Find basic facts
3) Discern the company’s spin on events
4) Check financial information
5) Download images to use as illustrations in stories
Journalists said the information must be easy to find without requiring complex navigation trees. They want the facts. Skip the marketese. Information should be presented in well-organized chunks so journalists can quickly scan it to find what they need.
One journalist said, “It behooves the company to make their website easier to use. You immediately begin to hate the company when it’s not.”
Don’t let this happen to your client’s company. Look again at your website and see how you can make it easier for journalists to get what they need. Don’t miss out on opportunities for media coverage.
I’d love to hear your thoughts. Send them to me: [email protected].