Earning publicity doesn’t always mean pitching.
Instead, you can attract publicity by making reporters come to you.
Here are two proven ways to do it – excerpted from our Publicize It guide for businesses.
1. Promote the Promotion (Coverage, Leveraged)
Have you earned a recent piece of coverage? Good – take a moment to celebrate.
Now, leverage your existing publicity to generate more. Once other journalists begin to see your name in the news, more coverage is likely to follow—if you play your cards right.
Ed McMasters, Director of Marketing & Communications at the Cincinnati-based Flottman Company (a digital communications firm), answered a HARO query from The New York Times, which needed a successful family business to feature. The company made it into the story, which ran on the front page of The New York Times Business section.
Ed didn’t stop there. He posted a link to the article on Facebook, tweeted it, and publicized it with an online news release. This attracted the attention of CNBC in Atlanta, who invited CEO Tom Flottman to appear on the show’s Small Business Town Hall. Ed promoted this through a news release as well, generating a second wave of local publicity for the company in outlets like the Cincinnati Enquirer.
“I call it ‘promoting the promotion’,” Ed says. “You’ve got to tell people about it, and you’ve got to be the first to tell people about it.”
2. Thought Leadership (Make Your Opinion Matter)
Here’s another way to attract publicity: Develop your brand’s voice as a thought leader or expert in your industry.
This establishes credibility with the press and with customers. Journalists will look to you for expert input, and customers will recognize you as the expert among your competitors.
Here are two suggestions for building thought leadership:
a) Build your bylines
A byline is an article or guest blog post written by a member of your team for a news outlet or industry blog, usually covering a trend relevant to your industry. Having lots of these will attract attention from journalists. Initially, you’ll need to pitch in order to get your online presence rolling. Here’s how:
- Look on the publication’s website, usually in the “Contact” or “Editorial” section. Sometimes there will be clear information on how to submit a byline and guidelines (i.e. word length, types of topics, etc.). If you can’t find this information, look for a relevant editorial contact and pitch your idea.
- Prepare an outline of your article for initial consideration. This gives the editor a good idea of your topic, and provides an opportunity for the editor to shape the piece.
- Make clear what readers would gain from reading your article. The value usually lies in experience-based applicable lessons and guidance. If you secure a byline, share the article through your social networks to help establish your reputation as an expert source.
As well as pursuing bylines, take an active role in industry conversations. Maintain a blog reporting on the latest industry trends and issues.
Share relevant articles on social networks and add your own comments, even when they don’t mention your business. While keeping up on the top reporters in your industry, comment on their articles and join the conversation.
Live-tweet throughout big industry announcements. When attending tradeshows or events, share your insight through social channels. People check in with their social networks all day, so stay present and offer plenty of useful information.
Optimize all of your publicity and thought leadership materials—news releases, blog posts, bylines — for search. Identify keywords and short phrases (no more than three words) that people use when searching for your product or service. Then, use those keywords in your publicity materials to better connect with customers and journalists on search engines.