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Update your website, fix your brand (and boost your PR success)

Update your website, fix your brand (and boost your PR success)

Some cool tech company hires us to make them famous, but their website sucks. We've run into this situation more than once as a PR agency. It's a pain, but we can deal with it.

What's wrong with the website, exactly? The content is confusing. The images look grainy and don't really show off what they do. "Don't worry about it," they say. "We've got our marketing team on it and a refresh is coming. It should all be done before you start your PR activities." The PR kickoff day arrives and... the website is still 95 percent as bad as it was before. And then you take a peek at their social media and it's in as bad a state, or possible nonexistent.

More than once I’ve worked with clients with companies that have been around for a long time only to see that their website clearly hasn’t been updated since 2005. Even worse, some of these websites cause my antivirus software to pop up with a notification warning me that the site is unsecured and dangerous. Definitely not a good look for any company.

This is a problem for running a successful PR campaign.

Just so we're on the same page here, we're all about getting reporters to pay attention to your company, so they'll create stories about them for TV, radio, newspapers, etc. But the first thing that a reporter will do if they're interested in your story is go to your website. (They might also check out your social media profiles, but that's a whole other thing.) If our pitch to a reporter makes you sound awesome, but your company website makes you look like you can't even take care of the basics, that reporter will not come calling. They'll move on to the next story. (You may never know how close you came to getting major, featured coverage for your company.)

Going beyond the product & getting serious about marketing and PR

Why do some companies seem to see their website (and other online marketing platforms) as a secondary priority that can be thrown together at the last minute? In a lot of cases, we see this with companies that are built by engineers, for engineers. You get a bunch of technologists, coders or engineers who are hyper-focused on building a product. And they have this idea in their heads that once they've built the product, it will sell itself: "Who wouldn't want our awesome widget that solves XYZ problem? We don't need marketing! I don't want to deal with a bunch of artsy creatives who don't really get what we do anyway. We'll slap up a website and people will just see our product is the thing they need to buy today."

(I'm even somewhat sympathetic to these product builders, who have to build software or hardware that actually works. In contrast, marketing and PR people tend to be filled with creative types who test out all kinds of crazy ideas, only a small minority of which might actually work. But this is an unfair impression. The thing to remember is that it's often expensive to build products, but it can be relatively less costly to test out new messaging, new images, new landing pages, new ad copy, new types of offers, etc. Basically, marketers can often iterate quicker for a lower cost... which can perversely leave an impression that most of their ideas are junk, so these creative people must be nearly useless. That's a logical fallacy. Even if the ratio of good to bad ideas is correctly judged to be abysmal, at the end of the day, a good marketer only needs to hit on a few formulas to help sell a product.)

So, getting back to the critical importance of a website for your brand in general and PR in particular...

The quality of what you’re selling is vital, but how you market it is equally important.

Your website is often the first point of contact between your business and potential customers. It's where people go to learn about your products, services, and brand. And like I said above, it's also the first thing a reporter will look at before deciding if you're worth their time. They don't want to spend time grabbing quotes from some lame company that looks like it might not even be in business next month.

In today's digital age, having a professional and user-friendly website is essential for building trust and credibility. A poorly designed or outdated website can turn potential customers away and damage your company's reputation.

Update your website with new content and keep your blog fresh

What's the first thing to think about when updating your website with fresh content before a big PR push?

Search engines like Google are always on the lookout for sites that consistently have useful content fresh off the presses. In fact, that’s the exact reason this blog exists. It ensures the Mind Meld PR agency website always has fresh tips that can help our clients out while helping people find our content in the first place thank to SEO.

Of course, blog posts aren’t the only form of content you can add to your website. Adding testimonials and case studies to your site are a very persuasive way to demonstrate the value of your products or services to site visitors. Keep them short and snappy to help make sure they get their point across. Nobody is taking the time to read a testimonial that’s a page long.

Prune your website of dead links and outdated content

On the opposite side of the spectrum, sometimes removing content is the best choice for your company’s online presence. Your site’s information is outdated and barely relevant to your company today? This is a major turnoff for any journalist hoping to cover your company in a news story.

On rare occasion, we've discovered a public relations client's website is outdated by accident. At the start of the engagement, the client might tell us that anything on the website is free to grab for quotes or messaging on the fly (Sometimes this is necessary if a CEO or other busy executive isn't available that day to provide us with some minute factoid about the company or their service). We throw the info at a reporter and then the client hauls us in to ask why we fed the reporter incorrect information.

"You said the information on your website was all up to date," we'd say. "Is that actually no longer true?"

"Yeah, sorry, that blog post where you grabbed those details? It was from like 5 years ago, but we pivoted our services since then. It isn't even connected to what we do anymore," they might say. "Sorry we didn't catch that before you grabbed it. But, uh, can you ask the reporter if they'll make a correction or, uh, take down the article?"

Not a great situation.

Now, it's up to a good PR pro to make sure they're getting the right info from the client before sending it off to a reporter. But honest mistakes can happen, where even a responsible company executive or manager might not remember that a piece of content exists that no longer represents them or just basic reality.

Again, if your website is cluttered with outdated or irrelevant content, it could lead to confusion or, in a worse case scenario for a PR campaign, the journalist opting to drop your company from the story.

Removing outdated product pages or irrelevant information can also improve your search engine ranking by ensuring that your website only contains fresh, relevant content that's more likely to rank highly in search results.

Work with Mind Meld PR and get your company in the news

Like I wrote above, sometimes our PR clients aren't quite ready to launch a PR campaign when we kick off. They may need help with that content marketing foundation, including everything from brand strategy and messaging to landing pages, blog posts, case studies and beyond. Does your internal marketing team lack the bandwidth to take this on (but you don't want to delay a big PR effort tied to a time-sensitive funding announcement, product launch, etc)? We can help with that, too.

Once your website is looking awesome again with fresh and search engine optimized content and messaging that really speaks to your audience, our PR pro's can go to work. Looking to get your company quoted by journalists and featured in top news outlets? Contact the Mind Meld PR agency today



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