Why do anglers always take a picture of themselves holding their catch?
The answer is that, long ago, people started doubting their fish tales. The same goes for businesses and their marketing, where customers are often dubious of the claims brands make about themselves.
However, businesses have a validation tool more powerful than an angler’s snapshot: third party publicity.
As well as spreading the word, publicity provides third-party validation of your business, showing you as reputable and and backing up your claims. Like angling though, you have to tempt journalists and bloggers to bite.
Here are easy ways to do it.
1. Create content
Content creation—blogging, tweeting, video publishing—is key to establishing yourself and your company as a “thought leader” and source for journalists. Consistently (it doesn’t have to be every day) update your website, blog, and other social channels with relevant and timely expert information. Over time, journalists will learn to consider your company a reliable source for information.
2. Engage and add value
Work to maintain relationships with members of the media even when you don’t have news to share. Do this by commenting on articles directly and sharing those pieces on social networks. Once you begin to build personal relationships with journalists, you can even send them information relevant to their beat, even if it’s not a direct pitch for your company. By acting as a reliable source for information, you can become a trusted member of a journalist’s or blogger’s Rolodex.
3. Do some research, then show it
To become a trusted media source, do research to determine which outlets and journalists will be interested in what you have to say. Look up their most recent articles to find what they cover and how they cover it. Who are the local reporters that would cover your business? Don’t be afraid to reach out and introduce yourself and your company. Showing that you’ve done your research by identifying the most appropriate journalists for your company is the first step in positioning your business as a credible source of information.
4. Share your news
When your company has big news to share, prepare a news release and distribute it through an online distribution service like PRWeb. In addition to more news mentions, using an online distribution service increases your online visibility. Use the keywords you’ve identified for your business in your release and link them back to your website. You can also increase news mentions by building a list of relevant publications, blogs, and journalists to email when you have news. Do your research and communicate clearly why you think they should be interested.
5. Use trends to publish and pitch
Keep your eyes open for news stories and trends related to what your company does. This allows you to publish searchable content (or pitch journalists) offering an expert opinion on the story and showcasing your business in the process.
6. Let journalists come to you
Thousands of journalists and bloggers use free Vocus service HARO (Help A Reporter Out) to find sources from the business community. HARO delivers current media queries directly to you, allowing you to respond to relevant inquiries with a quick pitch. If you’re not using it yet, you should be.
Image: Jamison_Litten (Creative Commons)