Every business needs attention, and everyone wants their voice heard within their own industry. It is a fight of gladiators for someone to win the crowd over before everyone else. To gain attention locally, nationwide, or internationally, you have to be able to effectively utilize media coverage. And, in order to do that, you’re going to need to leverage the power of press releases.
Press releases are one of the most underlooked marketing methods by many industry professionals and businesses. But they are very effective, and the digital world is advancing the use of this modern-day technology. You can easily write up press releases and distribute them to all major news outlets in order to get spread word about your brand.
In today’s article, we will be discussing exactly how you can milk professional PR for your business. We are going to talk about the benefits of this style of marketing, and discuss where and how you can get things done.
What Are The Benefits of Media Coverage?
Getting your voice heard through the media is one of the best, most effective ways around through which to promote your company. Here are the benefits quality media coverage can bring to your business:
- Brand Awareness — It is extremely important for any business to build their brand recognition, showing your leadership and expertise in your industry. For example, everyone knows what MacDonald’s, Burger King and Chick-Fil-A do. Why? Because they have strong brands. They have perfected their products, created a powerful structure that works and have done a lot of work getting the word out there.
- Attract New Users When people get to see your business being covered, they might not necessarily want to buy, right then and there, but they will follow you over to social media. They’ll sign up for your newsletter, give you their contact information, and help to increase the volume of your leads.
- Establish Credibility — Think about this, for example: let’s say you’re selling ice cream and, across the street from you is John, who’s also selling ice cream. There is a local article released the next day and, in it, it says how John’s Ice Cream is the best ice cream in the county.
Where are you going to eat ice cream from now on? Not at your place. People are going to John’s because he was on the news. This makes him more credible, establishing his leadership in the industry.
- Recruit Qualified Professionals — One of the best parts of PR in general is the fact that many industry professionals get the chance to see your brand and work for you. The number one problem for businesses is finding the right people. This gives you the opportunity to find qualified experts. They will be lined up, waiting for your call, for the interview.
- Potential Investors — So many great businesses have found investors through media coverage. Publicizing your story can attract big investors who can help you take your business to the next level.
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO) — SEO is no secret. The cat’s already out of the box, and almost every single business owner with common sense knows the importance of optimizing their website and ranking for common search terms. The great thing about news media mentions, coverage, and sending in press releases is the powerful backlinks your website gets to help increase its strength. This can potentially help your website rank for the targeted keywords your customers are searching for.
Start With Local News Outlets
When people try to imagine dealing with news outlets, they tend to freak out. It seems like the pressure of the world is on your shoulders but this shouldn’t be a stressful process. If you are a local business, this is wonderful news for you but, if you are not a local business but doing something out in the world that deserves a spotlight, you can still get the local media to cover you.
Local news outlets love anything local. You have to understand that regular people don’t like to do too much research. It eats up too much of their time, but they listen to the news because they trust the media as a source of information. Their job is to inform locals of the latest news in town, so the media builds up its loyal readers, listeners and social media followers, all of whom stay up-to-date with it, day in and day out.
You can leverage this for your benefit. People trust the news and, when the news covers you, they end up trusting you, too. That said, your first objective is identifying all of the local media outlets near you. It doesn’t necessarily have to just be news journals – it could also be radio stations and local bloggers who write about what’s happening around your city or the county.
You have to basically get on everything that gets any kind of attention. I call this the Trump method because of how he got in front of the media. You’ve got to operate in a similar manner.
How to Get Media Contacts?
There are many different ways you can get in touch with media contacts. I will tell you all of the methods I’ve used in the past, and how they worked for me. One of the best ways to build your list is through social media channels like LinkedIn and Twitter. Let’s take a look at LinkedIn, and how the news outlets journalists are working for are required to maintain professional relationships through platforms like LinkedIn.
Start with a simple search in the LinkedIn search bar. Enter whichever outlets you’re most interested in for your coverage. Looking for CNN? Fox News? A local broadcaster? Just enter their name, hit search, and then refine your search by hitting the “People” filter.
You’ll get a variety of results, all from the people who actually work at CNN, Fox News, or wherever, and you can browse them to see who canvases stories from your industry. Identify a journalist, but hold off from pitching them anything right away. You’ll want to make sure your LinkedIn bio is professional and actually sells you before actually reaching out.
Once you’re ready, reach out to whichever journalist you’ve singled out. LinkedIn notifies the receiver, giving them what they need to find and click on your profile. Once that’s happened, the connection is made. Now it’s up to them to decide whether to connect with you, which roughly 80% of them will follow through on.
After that, take some time to go through their posts, like a few of them, comment with their content, and pave the way to chat with them after a few interactions. During your chat, make sure to compliment their work.
Never ever pitch them something within your first few interactions. Let them know you’re always working on something or another that could get huge attention, so you’re the first person they come to when they need work done.
Twitter also works well. Journalists and bloggers all gather en masse on Twitter, every day. You can follow the same LinkedIn process to build relationships with journalists through Twitter and eventually get them to cover you.
Other Methods of Getting Your Foot In The Media Door
While building your media contacts list might be a little advanced, there is an easier way to get your foot in-to the media door: HARO, or Help A Reporter Out. This service was created to help reporters connect with industry experts. It is going to do so much for your marketing.
You can get started by signing up for a free or paid version of this service. Obviously the paid version comes with more perks and is somewhat easier to work with. On your dashboard, you’ll get a source and reporter who is covering any given topic. They tell you the requirements of what they are looking for and, if you qualify for the interview, you can submit your pitch to them and, all things being equal, eventually get covered.
It takes patience and consistency to succeed on this platform. Eventually, however, you will get the coverage you’re looking for. What you don’t want to do, however, is lie about your experience, promote your product or service without meeting the requirements, and bet around the bush.
Ultimately, this is a fantastic way to spread your word and develop powerful links back to your site. You’ll drive more traffic, build backlinks, grow your social following and, ultimately, drive more sales.
Writing Press Releases
I’ve been writing press releases for a very long time now and I can confirm that I’ve had huge success with this. The reason many people currently getting into this world can’t get their stories covered is that they don’t understand what the heck they’re doing. The number one rule everyone must follow is quite simple. You have to deliver the right story, to the right people, at the right time.
You have two choices after you write up a press release. Distribute it through traditional wire services or submit it yourself.
Distributing it through the wire costs money but also comes with a lot more benefits than just manually reaching out and submitting your press release via email. But, of course, if you don’t have the budget allocated to do it through press release distribution services, you will have to write up personal emails to relevant media contacts.
For my part, I personally prefer the online distribution method over traditional. This way, you can benefit your search engine optimization efforts. For example, you will get news backlinks, since news websites are more credible and search engines acknowledge them as leaders in delivering valuable information. Getting your website mentioned on these sources will earn you domain and page authority points which, in turn, will help you rank for more competitive keywords and have the chance to compete with your online competitors.
How to optimize your press release for search engines?
If, like us, you spend most of your morning combing through Google updates for all the latest and the greatest, you may have noticed something interesting: SEO press releases aren’t what they used to be. Business-to-business companies are always on the hunt for new ways to improve their search rankings which, most of the time, means getting other relevant sites to link back to yours. This, unfortunately, is easier said than done.
For many B2B companies, the topic of press releases comes up, eventually, but there is a disconnect between PR and SEO, a lot of the time. Which is a bit of a waste, if you ask us. These two concepts should align flawlessly. Press releases go a long way toward creating links, with publishers sharing and republishing your content on a variety of sites. That’s an incredible opportunity to generate traffic and improve your search rankings.
With all that said, here are a few simple adjustments to get more out of your press releases:
Use Target Keywords In Your Titles
For the SEO savvy out there, this point should be fairly obvious. Any time you put out content that links to your website and you don’t use targeted keywords, you’re leaving potential traffic on the table. Issuing press releases without keywords is wasteful.
Link To Relevant Pages Near The Top Of Your Release
To safeguard your link visibility, regardless, place them near the top of your content. Some aggregators may chop your release into two parts, and that second page is a death sentence for link visibility, so get in there as early as possible.
Bloggers covering your industry who encounter your release may want to use it in their own blogs, but will typically need supporting data to go along with it. Include related content on your website to complement your press release, for better odds of acquiring links from anyone using your content.
Use Natural CTAs
In years past, you’d want to use your exact keyword or keyphrase to anchor your call to action. But times have changed, and today Google has become sophisticated enough to see as a sign you are creating to manipulate it into ranking your release. A more sophisticated approach is more their speed, because obviously we’re all here to make an impact with our digital audiences.
Try to anchor your text more naturally. Be subtle, appealing to the reader as a person and avoiding super obvious phrasing. If your keyword is “new sneakers good price”, you don’t want the last words your reader reads to be “visit us for new sneakers good price, today!” Go for something with good grammar and natural phrasing. “See anything you like? Visit us for great sneaker deals, today!”
Keywords are important, but they can hurt you in the long run if used incorrectly, so add them throughout your press release and make your CTA something more natural.
With these tips and little discretion when it comes to your content, you’ll be ready to send out an effective press release that brings in great traffic in no time.
The media is and always has been one of the quickest, most effective ways there is to spread your message. It’s a way of building your credibility by becoming visible as a matter of fact. It brings increased awareness of who you are and your expertise within the industry. It’s a great way to outrank your competition, but also just a good way to put your name out in front of the people who would get the most use out of it.
Don’t know how to write an effective press release? Trying to capitalize on the power of media coverage and get to the top of your industry with the help of the media? You need to start right away and stay consistent. Streamline your approach, bring in the help of a professional if you need to and, with enough time and hard work, you’ll have all the momentum you need to really spotlight your brand.
Also Read: Better Strategies For B2B Lead Generation