The Ten Most Important Elements of a Corporate Web Site

    June 24, 2005

As we public relations people blithely enter this brave new world of corporate blogging and podcasting, perhaps this would be a good time to re-emphasize some basic ground rules regarding corporate communications and the Internet.

Having a corporate web site is now as common as owning a copier or a fax machine. But despite the widespread employment of company sites, the common mistakes I see are, well uh, unfortunately way too common.

Below is my list of The Ten Most Important Elements of a Corporate Web Site and it’s the first thing I give to all my new clients (and the easiest to implement).

Robert Scoble says, “You should be fired if you do a marketing site without an RSS feed.” And while an RSS feed is by-gosh important, I’d still put that behind the simple matter of making your media contact fast and easy to find. In fact, over and over again, the number one complaint I hear from journalists that when they’re going 90 mph on deadline, they all too often stop dead in their tracks when they hit a company web site and can’t easily find the press contact.

That’s pretty basic, right? You would think so. But take a quick gander at the sites of say just the Fortune Fifty and you’ll suffer biblically proportionate great pulling of hair and gnashing of teeth.

Without further ado, my list of The Ten Most Important Elements of a Corporate Web Site:

1. Put a tab or link on the main page of your site saying “newsroom” or “pressroom” so reporters can immediately find it.

2. Give reporters a quick and obvious way to find your public relations person. Contact information should include direct office line, e-mail address, and in-meeting/after-hours/on-vacation options such as a cell phone number or pager.

3. Make sure you have enabled an RSS feed for your press page.

4. Make sure press releases are posted on your site in simultaneous coordination with your news wire issuance. Otherwise, reporters will think your website is out of date.

5. Allow reporters to search through your archive of press releases.

6. Offer online media kits that contain logos, product photos, annual reports diagrams, streaming or podcast earnings calls, demonstration videos, etc. Make sure this info is always available for download at all times. This information serves to assist reporters on deadlines and doesn’t have to directly correlate with a press release.

7. Credential your CEO and other executives as thought leaders in the their field by including links to articles they have written and include a list of prior speaking engagements.

8. Provide access to a searchable database of recent media coverage. Include your competitors to show journalists that your company is committed to providing a level playing field.

9. Allow reporters and the public to request targeted news from your website by offering a list of pre-determined topics.

10. List any awards or recognition your company has earned because they help to establish your company reputation in the eyes of third party journalists.

Formerly based in Silicon Valley, Steven Phenix brings over 15 years of public relations experience to The Alliant Group. First as a journalist and then as senior director both client-side and at international public relations agencies, Phenix has a diverse background in communications. His experience ranges from launching international public, media, and analyst relations campaigns and implementing multi-phase strategies to executing business programs ranging from customer announcements, to product launches to IPOs.