16 Experts Share Online PR Tips to Get Press
Attracting good online PR for your company or clients has always been an art as well as a science. You want to stand out from the crowd of other PR professionals who are often competing with you for attention from the same reporter, blogger, or media outlet. You want to sell your story without coming across as pushy. But it’s often a delicate balancing act, one that’s always changing as new tools and practices emerge. We asked several public-relations experts for their best advice and favorite success stories.
What are your best digital tools and techniques for getting positive online PR?
- Tell stories that encourage conversation
- Find out where your competitors are online
- Perfect the art of the email pitch
- Do your research on reporters
- Highlight individual team members
- Interact with journalists on social media
- Show influencers that you understand their audience
- Use Online Networking Tools
Brenda Della Casa, BDC Digital Media, LLC, @BrendaDellaCasa There are a few things to consider when looking for press opportunities via social media. You want to create platforms that tell a story visually and with engaging content that encourages a conversation with your followers and offers you a chance to showcase your expertise in a soft-sell approach.
It's important to make your platforms consistent and avoid posting things that can make you look unprofessional or too controversial. (These may get you a press mention, but the wrong kind). Be sure to engage and tag other brands and highlight your knowledge of your industry and community. Remember that brands will often repost and give shout-outs which will help with the acquisition of users. [su_spacer size="1"]
Samantha Wormser, Power Digital Marketing, @PwrDigMarketing Since we are a digital agency, we use SEO tools on a daily basis including MOZ’s Open Site Explorer to pull competitor link analyses, which allow us to see where our clients' competitors are living and what outlets we may be able to capitalize on. We also use this platform to pull inbound links to see where our client is already living in order to conduct backlinking and dead link outreach to take advantage of low hanging fruit. [su_spacer size="1"]
Susan Harrow, PR Secrets, @SoundBiteSiren As a media coach who loves succinctness, I’ve created “the 100-word email that can get the media to call you” to help my clients catch reporters’ and editors’ attention.
Here is the format: SUBJECT: [Name], A suggestion for you . . .
I noticed that you just [Blank].
Since you cover [Blank], I thought you might be interested in this: [Blank].
It’s a hot topic right now because [Blank], so it might be something you want to share with your audience in the future. (I run a [Blank], so this has been [Blank] for my [me / my team / my customers / clients]!)
If you want more info, I recently [Blank] about it. You can find that here: [link]
Happy to provide more info via email or phone if this is a topic that you might like to cover. Thanks and have terrific [Monday]!
Best, [Your name here]
P.S. Bio. [su_spacer size="1"]
Brett Bastello, Inseev Interactive, @InseevTweets One of my favorite online PR tips is to do research on the media representative you're working with, especially when dealing with national publications. While it may sound simple, you would be surprised how often it does not occur.
I was working with a reporter from the Huffington Post for one client and noticed that he was located only 25 miles outside of the city from my client. Not only did this lead to a natural connection between both parties, which helps strengthen our case for coverage, but it also opens up the possibility for additional coverage for the current or future piece(s). [su_spacer size="1"]
Gabe Fenigsohn, Cardwell Beach, @CardwellBeach In the quest for positive press, take full stock of your clients' assets. Highlighting the talents of individual team members is an often-overlooked opportunity to gain recognition for those who contribute to a project and a company's success. By focusing on the diverse skills of my colleagues such as our financial manager and our creative director, I've connected journalists and well-ranked media outlets such as Media Bistro to our brand.
Building the framework for PR awareness requires the progressive cultivation of these relationships over time. As your network expands, be a champion for those you work with. [su_spacer size="1"]
Jo Trizila, TrizCom, @JoTrizila Getting positive online PR and interacting with journalists socially is the only way to operate today. Print is great, but when a story runs digitally (outside a paywall) it grows legs with time. We utilize all the social networks to pitch journalists and share/retweet stories. Interacting with journalists by liking their posts/tweets, sharing and even helping them when your client isn't involved is paramount. Every employee is encouraged to have their/our social pages open while at work. Utilizing bloggers—mommy bloggers in particular—has worked well for our clients as long as clear deliverables/expectations are set in the beginning. [su_spacer size="1"]
Aisha Kellaway, White.net, @WhiteDotNet When pitching a story, first spend time looking up the social profiles for your target media list. Look at stories they’ve commented on or shared, as well as articles they've recently written. Use this information to tailor the pitch to their interests—there’s more work involved, but it shows the journalist that you understand them as well as their audience.
Also consider connecting on social media with influencers in your niche; your pitch is more likely to get noticed by a journalist who’s familiar with your online presence because you’ve engaged with their tweets or online articles. [su_spacer size="1"]
Naresh Vissa, @xNareshx To gain media presence, start small with blogs and podcasts and work your way up to bigger media. When I started out trying to get publicity, I represented myself because I had no money. But I’ve gotten at least 50 media hits and mentions over the years. MSNBC, Bloomberg, USA Today, Deseret News, Entrepreneur, and numerous podcasts and radio shows have featured me.
Here are some resources you can use to get cracking:
- HARO (Help A Reporter Out)
HARO is a platform that connects content producers (editors, producers, reporters, etc.) with sources. It sends out e-mails with queries from journalists (not publicists) who give an overview of the stories they’re working on and the sources they need.
Seek out the niche queries that you qualify for. For example, “Seeking Successful Entrepreneurs” is not very niche. There are hundreds of thousands of successful entrepreneurs around the world. If you respond to that query, you’ll be competing against the likes of Bill Gates and Oprah Winfrey. Focus on the niche queries for which you’d be a great fit.
Similar to HARO is Radio Guest List but for radio and podcast queries only. It’s also free to use.
Doing podcast interviews that are published on iTunes is well worth your time. Here’s why: Podcasts will be on iTunes forever. They have a pass-along effect and long shelf life. Being a guest on a podcast with 1,000 listeners is equivalent to giving a speech to 1,000 attendees in a private auditorium, so you have a great opportunity to sell yourself and your products too. Podcasts are always looking for good guests—thought leaders, authors, executives, and creative visionaries. So if you or your business has something of unique value to offer, go to iTunes and search for podcasts you think you’d be a good guest on, then contact those shows and pitch yourself.
Henry McIntosh, Twenty One Twelve Marketing, @HenryMcIntosh2 A technique I like to use is selecting a competitor who is enjoying success in online PR and finding out their secrets. The way to do this is to use Moz's Open Site Explorer. Type in their URL in the search box and check out where they are getting linked to and from. Chances are those websites would be interested in featuring you too, so go ahead and approach them with a highly relevant pitch. [su_spacer size="1"]
Jason Parks, The Media Captain, @TheMediaCaptain Post your press release onto a blog or a place that can serve as a platform for sharing the content on an external website. You should then create a boosted Facebook post and advertising campaign to send mass traffic to the blog. If you’re strategic about setting up the campaign, you can achieve a cost per website click under $0.20. Meanwhile, make sure to create two separate campaigns—one targeted towards your potential customer and the other geared towards media members and media outlets.
By just boosting your blog release on social, you can drive mass amounts of traffic to your site and get media members to notice your content. This is a unique strategy that will differentiate you from the competition. [su_spacer size="1"]
Nathan Barber, Digital Advertising Works, @daWorksSydney One way to increase your online public relations is to get people who already wrote about you in an article, news story, etc. to link to your website. There are tools that can be used to scout out the earned publicity that you are gaining online automatically. We use Moz’s Fresh Web Explorer. This tool allows you to input specific terms like your company’s business name, products, events allowing you to view what people are saying about those keywords. Once you find a few mentions, kindly ask for a link back to your website so that readers may gain more insight on what they are reading. This tip is a public relations and eCommerce boost at the same time. [su_spacer size="1"]
Edward Sturm, @Edward_Sturm While I like standard SEO techniques for getting press (such as the Skyscraper Technique) or typical outreach, my favorite way to get online PR is with viral videos. As a serial viral filmmaker, I’ve literally gotten tens of millions of views with my videos and have appeared on TV shows and in top publications. I typically pull off viral stunts in NYC and have appeared on shows like Good Morning America, 20/20 and in publications of a similar caliber. Doing large marketing campaigns and shooting video is my favorite way to get press and something I’m fortunately very good at. [su_spacer size="1"]
Alexander Reichmann, iTestCash, @iTestCash One of my favorite marketing tactics as an online business owner is to reach out to websites relating to my niche. To do this I research prospective websites and look into the types of articles that they publish. Once I get a feel for their style, I send over a pitch for the type of article I would write for them and show a few details that would appear in the publication. After they approve I simply send over the article when it is ready, and this helps get my business published on various websites. [su_spacer size="1"]
Crystal Richard, Onboardly, @Onboardly Want to increase your online PR wins? Get tweeting! I have made some of my strongest media connections and secured the best wins simply by interacting with journalists on Twitter long before I made the ask. I share their content, engage with them about everything except work and then after I've built a quality relationship with them, I ask their permission to send them a pitch on something I'm confident they'll love. This system works nearly every time, and I can't stress how powerful it is! [su_spacer size="1"]
Danni Eickenhorst, Blank Page Consulting, @BlankPageSTL As the content manager for The Salvation Army in the Midwest, I was able to leverage social media influencers that we'd engaged with our brand to help us spread the word about a food shortage at a local food pantry. I created a hashtag #cerealdrive, a call to action and a simple graphic. I sent out a tweet and personal emails to influencers we were engaged with. Those tweets caught the attention of local news, ultimately resulting in a ton of visibility for the issue, and 16 pallets of cereal and an estimated $15,000 in support for the pantry. [su_spacer size="1"]
Samantha Isdale, Wpromote, @Wpromote Where and how you pitch matters. Here’s my advice:
- Find outlets and resources that are most relevant to your pitch/brand and the contact who is most relevant. Read their past articles/blogs, compliment them and explain what you liked about them. Then share how what you are pitching is relevant to their audience.
- Be clear, concise and to the point. People get pitched a million times a day. Read about the contact in their bio and see what other interests they have outside of their writing interests. Always be kind!