All businesses, from established corporations to startups, desire press. It fuels exposure, introduces brands to new audiences and can lead to rapid growth. Companies that have massive marketing budgets can afford to hire a dedicated public relations firm to drum up exposure around the clock, but what if you can’t afford the expense?
It’s possible to secure valuable and effective press on your own -- it just requires diligence. If you are ready to put in the work, follow this five-step plan to attract press for your business.
1. Respond to as many media requests as possible.
You should be responding to media requests through outlets such as HARO, and doing so often. This not only greatly increases the chance of receiving press, but it also puts your name in front of journalists. Even if they can’t use your response, they might reach out in the future if they feel you can contribute something worthwhile. Just avoid making these outreach mistakes during the process.
At the end of every response include your full contact information and let the journalist know that you are always available to answer questions and provide feedback. List your areas of expertise as well as some of the more prominent media outlets that you have been featured in. Also, end each email with a very simple question that will trigger a reply and only require a sentence or two to answer fully. I’ll explain why in step two below.
2. Curate a list of media contacts and touch base at appropriate times.
I ended the previous point telling you to trigger a response from every request you respond to. This allows you to curate a list of journalists and their contact information. Just as you would build a targeted email list of prospects, build one for media contacts. If you are responding to relevant queries, the journalists you add to your list are likely to need your expertise sometime in the future.
You don’t want to bother them constantly with nonsense. Reach out to them when there is major news breaking in your industry or if your company has something newsworthy to share. The last thing you want journalists to label you as is a nuisance. Provide value and you will be rewarded with press.
3. Maintain a blog and social-media presence that highlights your expertise.
When you reply to a media request through a platform such as HARO the journalist is going to immediately do two things: He or she will visit your website and check out your social-media profiles. They need to quickly identify whether you are a credible source for information.
If your blog hasn’t been updated in six months and if your social-media profiles don’t signal that you are active in your industry, it’s a red flag. When a journalist submits a query on HARO they receive hundreds of replies. If you don’t stand out, be prepared to be passed over. There are several benefits of frequent blogging -- this is just one of them.
4. Build relationships with journalists via Twitter and email.
Relationships are key -- this is why some PR firms are able to constantly deliver their clients outstanding results. Over the years they have invested in relationship building, and it’s those relationships that have opened doors.
Build a list of journalists that cover your industry and follow them on social media. Twitter is the best platform for media contacts. Every journalist is active on Twitter because it’s the social platform that breaks news first and it’s where real-time reporting occurs.
Retweet content and engage in conversation -- you want to become memorable. Then, when you feel like you can deliver value, tweet them with a simple request to email the journalist information. Even if that first email doesn’t result in press, it is a solid block in the relationship-building process.
5. Showcase your past exposure.
If you have been featured by notable media outlets, make it known -- showcasing this makes it much easier to attract new press opportunities because a level of expertise is already established. If a journalist visits your website and immediately gets the impression that you are a solid source for information it will greatly increase the chance of him or her using your input, providing you with that much desired press.
If you take a look at my website, you will see that I allocate a significant amount of space for highlighting media outlets that I have received press from. It helps convert visitors into leads, but it also assists in securing additional press coverage. You can go this route or build a dedicated page on your website that contains links to all of your press mentions.
If you have any additional tips to attract press, share them in the comments section below.