Sharks love chum. Bears love honey. And members of the press love media-friendly websites.
If you want journalists, critics, radio and TV producers, and bloggers to take a serious interest in your book, you have to make things easy for them. And by “easy,” I mean “idiot-proof!”
I’m not saying this to question the intelligence of folks in those professions, simply to acknowledge how very, very busy they are. If they can’t find the information they need (or the information that will hook them) in a matter of seconds, you’ll lose out on valuable coverage, and weeks from now you’ll be reading a review or watching a news segment about ANOTHER author’s book.
8 essentials for the media-friendly author website
1. Create a press kit page. Among the tabs you’d normally expect to see on an author website (bio, events, books, etc.), make sure you create a tab that goes to a page housing all the relevant information the media might require (more about this below). How you title this tab/page is up to you, just make it obvious! I suggest “Press Kit” if you can’t think of something better.
2. Display your best press quotes. If your past work has been praised by notable critics, bloggers, or authors, make sure those quotes are immediately visible on your website. Choose the best two or three quotes for the home page, and those same quotes should be displayed on your “Press Kit” page. You should also have a separate “Press” page where all your favorable press quotes and reviews are archived.
3. Write three versions of your bio. The shortest of these (as short as one sentence) should appear on the home page. The longest version should appear on your “Bio” page. And an intermediate version can go on your “Press Kit” page with a link to read the full bio. (Some of your bio info can also be included in the downloadable press release — which I’ll mention later.)
4. Show hi-resolution photos of both you and your book cover. You can have a separate page for pictures if you like, but make sure your “Press Kit” page features hi-res photos of you and your book cover that are easily downloadable.
5. Display links for a downloadable press release. If you can cleanly arrange your “Press Kit” page to display the photos, the bio, a few quotes, AND the text of a press release — go for it! But if things are starting to look cluttered, make sure you display a clear link where folks can download a copy of your latest press release. If you really wanna go all-out, make it available in multiple formats (PDF, Word, .txt, etc.).
6. Have fun with a Q&A. Write an FAQ or Q&A section to include on your “Press Kit” page. It’ll help the media formulate their own questions if they want to interview you, and it’s also really fun for fans to read. Don’t make it too short or too long — 10 questions is about right — but get creative and let your personality (quirks and all) come through.
7. Link to you social media profiles, past interviews, video clips, etc. This is less of a concern if your website automatically displays your social media icons on every page, but make sure your “Press Kit” page makes clear where people can find out more about you — on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and more. You can arrange these links as a kind of “for more information” archive at the bottom of the page.
8. Email and newsletter sign up. Your email marketing list is your most valuable asset as a salesperson and marketer, so make sure you give readers and website visitors the opportunity to give you their email contact info with a sign-up form on your home page and “Contact” page. This will give press and media the opportunity to get your updates and keep track of new releases and other potentially newsworthy information.
If you can wrangle all this information together into a downloadable press kit (which may include all or elements of the downloadable press release), I recommend doing so. You never know when a journalist might get the notion to dive deeper into your story, and he might want to have your content on a local drive. If he’s downloaded your press kit in a PDF, he can read it anywhere– on a plane, on a bus, in a cabin in the woods.
It’s important to note that your author website doesn’t have to be complex. There are a lot of affordable, user-friendly website platforms that can be easily mastered. These solutions are intended for use by people without technical web-development expertise and typically have easy-to-use drag-and-drop functionality.
Here are some popular do-it-yourself platforms for building your author website.
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