How to Get Your Business Story In Google News
Every business can benefit from appearing in Google search results. The benefits are plentiful and obvious–millions of people use Google to search for solutions to their problems, including problems that your products solve.
You should get into Google News, too
If you’ve ever tried to rank for an organic search result in Google, you know it’s not as easy as it looks. There’s no predictable timetable for inclusion either.
Of course, by submitting a sitemap or a strategically placed link, you could be indexed in Google’s database in less than a minute.
Getting ranked, however, is another thing.
It could take weeks or months to gain the top 10 ranking for your keyword of choice, though some related rankings may come faster. And Google’s web search algorithm, a formula it uses to determine how to rank sites, also can change enough over time that your strategy has to remain fluid to stay ahead of the curve.
The task can be difficult, but the rewards are great. One third of clicks go to the top search result and only 5 percent of searchers go to page two.
I’d be the last person to tell you not to allocate some of your resources and marketing budget into getting better positioning in Google’s main database. However, there are advantages to targeting Google News as well.
The advantages to Google News placement
First, there’s not as much of a waiting period.
One site I wrote for would get my articles at 6 a.m., publish them around 11 a.m., and unless a major news story broke, I’d usually be included in Google News by noon.
It won’t always be that fast, but there are usually ways to know from your first experience whether your story got the coverage you wanted or not, within a few hours to a few days.
Second, it’s fairly easy and predictable to find out if you were included.
Most of the time you can just log in to the site where you submitted, see if they accepted your story, then Google the title of your story to see if it made it in. Or you can set up a Google alert to send you an email any time your title or name comes up in Google News specifically.
And if you missed the boat the first time? You can just find another angle, rewrite, retitle and try again.
Third, you’re inserting yourself into a daily activity that most people who use the web participate in that your competition may not have the same awareness of: reading the news.
While 92 percent of people list search and email as activities they do on the web, the next highest activity is not social. Seventy-six percent of people say it’s checking the news, versus 65 percent of people who use social networking sites.
It’s a smaller pond when compared to search, but by adding news coverage to your strategy, a successful effort brings you additional exposure in an area with less competition for attention. And some news stories have the added benefit of getting search coverage as well.
How do you get Google News coverage?
There are three main roads to publication in Google News.
You can submit a news release through a press release distributor like PRWeb, which often places its releases on Google News. Not only that, it often places it in publications which can appear in Google News.
If you write your press release in a way that is pleasing to read, and balance that with ways to increase its exposure, you can target them directly to the people you’d be trying to reach with press coverage. This could increase your exposure to journalists as well. After all, they’re people, too.
A longer route to the finish line is to become a Google news publisher. You’ll have to meet their strict guidelines and technical specifications, but if your site was accepted, you’d also be part of an elite group.
There are millions of sites in Google’s index, but less than 60,000 publishers in Google News database. Google sent those publishers about 6 billion clicks per month in 2012.
Read up on all the free information presently available from people who have both succeeded and failed in creating a Google News Publisher site. You’ll learn a lot and avoid common mistakes.
While the traffic certainly isn’t parceled out evenly between them, being one of the 60,000 sites that are earmarked to share them certainly wouldn’t hurt. And remember, you’re not giving up your organic Google search plan to get them. Any clicks you would get are additional.
Another road into Google News
Another way to get your story on Google News is to submit it to sites that Google has already accepted.
There are sites in Google News on a wide variety of interests, from cooking to Broadway plays, and everything in-between.
And if you can’t quite make your story fit into an existing topic, if it has local appeal you may be able to find a local publication that’s willing to cover it.
To do this, have your content manager head over to Google News and type in a search. For our example, we’ll use kittens so you can follow along the exercise with me.
As you browse, skip over the major publications for now and look for smaller ones that rank well. My search shows kitten stories at Grist, Post and Courier, and ChicagoNow. Open those sites in a new window or tab.
At some point you’ll see one that has takes submissions or has an opening on its staff. Look for phrases like “writer’s guidelines,” “join us” or “submit news.” Some publications, like the ones we found at Grist have the information on their About page. ChicagoNow had the information right in their sidebar.
Okay so now you have a place to submit! Whip that article out, right?
The way you wrote the article may be wrong for the publication you’re submitting to in tone, length or niche. Browse their library and look to see how each article performs relative to other articles. Some will have absolutely no social shares or comments, while another may have dozens. Determine what the range is and see where articles on your topic tend to fall.
If you’re lucky, the editorial staff will mention the type of articles they’re looking for. If not, look for their guidelines or submission process. It seems like a pain now, but this is how they control quality.
The better quality publications tend to have more engaged audiences. And they may even have better Google exposure.
Next, realize that not every article that appears in that publication may be ranked well or even appear in Google News. There’s a kind of tier system where some top publications have virtually 100 percent inclusion, and others only get a few articles in on slow news days.
Proofread your article and be sure that it’s appropriate for the publication. Be prepared to submit a bio if they ask for one.
While you’re waiting for your article to be considered and possibly approved, circle back around to the sites you skipped.
Hang on to the information from sites that you really like, or are in the right demographic but don’t take submissions. You may be able to get in touch with the news desk, or start following their writers on social media to see what they’re interested in before you pitch them in their preferred manner.
Remember when I said to hold off on major publications?
Some of them won’t give you the time of day, but there’s often a rare gem that accepts guest writers from time to time. You’ll want to start making a name for yourself (or the author writing on behalf of your company) before submitting to publications with a higher rejection rate.
I’d also hire a reputable PR firm to see if they have the relationships to get your story run by existing journalists instead.
Getting into Google News is a fine way to spend the time you’d normally just wait for your organic search efforts to kick in. And as an added bonus, with a little bit of off-site optimization, you may be able to get your accepted articles to rank in Google search as well as Google News.
Tinu Abayomi-Paul is Chief Visibility Officer of Leveraged Promotion, which performs corporate reputation management for mid-sized companies and builds demand generation systems. Want more marketing advice from Tinu? Click here!
Image: Spencer E. Holtaway (Creative Commons)
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