Do you make it hard for interested parties to write about you?

How to make it easy for journalists to write about you
Are journalists left scratching
their heads by your web site?
Do you remember when, back in the dark days of the Internet, people used to build web sites by designing pages as single or multiple graphics and publishing then online? Even the text on the page would be built into the graphic and rendered as a single jpg.

(If you want help generating more press coverage, producing award entries or e-mail newsletters, writing a Blog or generating opportunities to speak at events, give us a buzz. We are available on 01785 225416 or you can e-mail richards@stonejunction.co.uk.) Or just read on...

This made it next to impossible to optimise the site for search. But it also had another problem. It made it impossible to copy and paste text from the site for any purpose.

If you are thinking this sounds like a good thing, then think again. Of course this meant your competitors wouldn't be able to steal your copy as easily. But, if a competitor really wanted your copy, he or she would go to the effort of re-typing it.

So what's the problem? And why write about this now, when surely no-one still does it?

The downside to the practice was that it made it almost impossible for consultants, journalists or bloggers, your own staff or any other interested parties to re-use the text for legitimate purposes.

Without copy and paste they have to reinvent the wheel regularly. And not every new wheel design is as elegant as the original.

Recently, a new trend has emerged; some companies deliberately add an evil piece of code to their sites that stops visitors from copying content. This isn't a great idea considering that many visitors are potential customers who just want to learn more about your business.

The aforementioned code is called No Copy Text Code, with the use of a customised right click button a popular alternative, and that's about all you need to know about it. There is very little need to ever use it.

These techniques don't work in every browser, but there are crazy folk out there inventing new ways to stop your site visitors propagating your message for free every day.

However, a couple of other techniques might prove useful.

The first is a clever way of adding little bits of extra content for your users benefit in the form of span tags. The clever little critters pop up over the top of unusual words and phrases to explain their meaning to the uninitiated. Here's a great example of them in action on the web site of thermal oil specialist Global Heat Transfer (the span tags can be found by hovering over the words with little blue lines underneath; for example on the page we've linked to, there is a span tag on the word oxidation).

Another tactic that's perfectly legitimate is to use a handy piece of code available from Tynt.com to encourage anyone copying text from your site to credit you in the form of a link. The result of this is that when they paste text into its destination it links back to your own site.

This is very easy to get around for anyone using your content for legitimate purposes. All you have to do is paste the content into notepad first (good practice with anything grabbed of the net) and remove the code, leaving only the words.

So, if your website still discourages the use of its content by third parties, there's really no excuse not to change. It's not the dark ages of the Internet anymore.

If you want help generating more press coverage, producing award entries or e-mail newsletters, writing a Blog or generating opportunities to speak at events, give us a buzz. We are available on 01785 225416 or you can e-mail richards@stonejunction.co.uk

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Oana Baetica - Technical PR consultant

Stone Junction is a cool technical PR agency based in Stafford. We work for all sorts of businesses, with a particular focus on technology, technical and engineering companies. We like being sent cake and biscuits by clients, journalists and prospects.

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