More about how journalists use corporate websites

Earlier I criticised about an article purporting to explain what journalists look for when they come to a website. I'm going to post some constructive advice soon, but first I want to highlight the assumptions behind the article and why they're wrong.

Firstly, the idea that journalists "visit your site" and then go to the Press area to find the information they need is fundamentally wrong. What's more likely is that a journalist finds your site as part of the process of looking for what they need. Your site probably won't be the starting point in the process and the home page may not be the starting point in their experience of your site.

Secondly, I don't accept the assumption that a journalist seeking specific information will scan the webpage looking for one of the links mentioned in the article (About, Press or Blog). A journalist looking for information will first scan the page for the information itself. If it isn't there, the journalist will look for links that might lead to it, or click off the site and search elsewhere. If we're looking for a company's quarterly figures, we'll want a link saying "Financial reports" or similar rather than About, Press or Blog. But the best way you can help a journalist to find the information he or she needs is to provide a working text search on your site.

Thirdly, we're told that journalists read corporate blogs "to get the inside track straight from the horse's mouth". That's a mixed metaphor, but it's pure garbage. Journalists know that corporate blogs are subject to company approval. We don't expect them to contain nuggets of insider information. There are many great reasons to have a blog or blogs on your company website, but don't expect anyone to think they somehow represent an uncensored peek at the company's secret workings.