In your search for PR for your business, you can send out press release after press release to every news source in print and online, hoping that someone will print it. The only way to increase your PR with this method is to improve the quality or quantity of your press releases. You can also cultivate relationships with journalists and bloggers for long-term exposure well beyond the short-term SEO benefits of links from a press release.
Identify likely targets
If you’re going to cultivate a relationship, it will take effort. It’s important to do some research in advance to make sure that your effort is well spent. First, identify the market that follows your proposed target journalist. It doesn’t matter how large their readership is, if none of that readership belongs to your market. Someone who manufactures hunting rifles is wasting their time approaching someone who blogs about the Vegan lifestyle.
Read the journalist’s work
When reading samples of your proposed target journalist’s work, there are two main things you should look for. First of all, is the journalist favourably disposed toward your industry or market segment? If they’re not favourably disposed, are they at least neutral? Second, see if the journalist seems to quote a particular person or company from your industry or market segment more frequently than others. That could be a sign that the journalist already has a relationship with that person or company. On the other hand, if that same person or company is quoted more frequently than others by a wide number of journalists, it is likely that person or company is simply better at PR than most.
Establish a connection
Once you have identified the proposed target journalist, and confirmed that they are a worthwhile target for your efforts, establish yourself as a knowledgeable individual by using the comments to their stories or blog posts, or by Tweeting to the relevant hash tag. They best type of comment is one that expands upon some area of their story, which they hinted at but did not develop fully. You should also illustrate your depth of knowledge of the industry rather than simply trumpeting your own product or service. Depending upon their popularity, they may not respond to your first comment or even your third. However, unless they are prohibited from directly responding to comments, they will eventually respond to thoughtful, intelligent remarks in support of their story.
Offer a range of options
Once the journalist knows who you are, you can then use official channels to pitch ideas. In most cases this is an email address. Send a story pitch, which is like a press release, except that you don’t expect it to be used verbatim. Instead, if the journalist likes the pitch, they take the idea and run with it. Make the pitch topical, relating your industry or business to a recent news trend that is just starting to get coverage. Be sure to include your contact information so the journalist knows you’re available to comment on any other story. Then keep pitching.
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