- Be Relevant – Determine a Journalist’s Beat
Journalists get pounded with thousands of press releases and story requests from PR professionals on a daily basis. The trick is figuring out the best way to break through the clutter and grab their attention. The first step to doing this is to determine which topic(s), or beat(s), the journalist writes about.
- Conduct Research – Read a Journalist’s Past Articles
Identify which stories a journalist has covered in the past. If you think your company is interchangeable with another company the reporter has written about, pitch the story to them. Show them that you have a creative angle that could be a follow-up story to one of their past articles. Also, research which reporters and publications are writing about your competitors. If they are writing about a similar industry and topic, they may be open to writing about your company, too.
- Listen – Use Twitter
An important part of building relationships on Twitter is listening to what others are asking for instead of always asking for help. Many journalists tweet about articles they are writing and seek people to interview. Use tools like Muck Rack to identify appropriate journalists by beat and industry on Twitter, and take the necessary steps to build relationships and schmooze with the journalists you’d love coverage from.
- Establish Yourself – Get Journalists’ Attention
Tweet about and create content that covers topics similar to what journalists have written about in the past. Communicate with journalists and provide feedback on what you liked about their past articles. Share content either you’ve created or think the journalist would find useful to get their attention. Notice they’re looking for a source for their story? Your business might not be a great fit, but maybe you could suggest another helpful source. Be helpful, and they’ll be more inclined to return the favor.
- Network – Leverage LinkedIn Introductions
Research journalists on LinkedIn. Because you can see which connections you share, introductions can be more intimate. Research the connections you have in common, and request introductions from your mutual connections. This practice should go both ways, too. If you introduce your colleagues to the people you know, you’ll find the goodwill will be reciprocated.
- Be Top of Mind – Stay in Touch
A major part of public relations is building relationships. And part of relationship-building is making sure that after someone helps you out or does you a favor, you show your appreciation and possible even reciprocate. The same applies when working with journalists. After a journalist gives your business some news coverage, make sure you reach out to them and let them know you appreciated the article. Keep the door open for opportunities to work together in the future. This may mean periodically letting them know what your company is up to or following their research and publications to see where you can help them out with a story. Even if you’re not a good fit for a future story they’re writing, they will be more inclined to suggest you to another journalist whose story you are a good fit for.
- Create Remarkable Content – Give Journalists a Reason to Cover You
Content creation is arguably your best tool for public relations outreach. Don’t simply repeat the normal online discussion topics within your industry. Create content that stands out, and media professionals will take notice organically. Can you do the research to publish an industry report that reveals some compelling industry insights? Original research and data analysis can take your content and ideas a step further and truly stand out to the masses. Furthermore, particularly creative content has a lot of potential to generate media coverage as well. Think viral videos, awesome infographics, and funny cartoons.
- Optimize – Optimize Press Releases for Search and Lead Generation
Press releases are a tried and true tool for distributing company news, but they have another great benefit as well: SEO. Because press releases are often published on many news syndication sites, they offer a ripe opportunity to build inbound links for your business and help you boost search engine rankings. In your press releases, be sure to include appropriate keywords for your business to help increase the release’s SEO value. Also include relevant links with anchor text pointing back to your website. To amp up the lead gen value of your press releases, consider linking back to landing pages on your website, too.
- Publish Content Regularly – Maintain a Company News Blog
Every time your company does something interesting, you likely can’t afford to distribute a press release. It can get expensive, and won’t be efficient. But just because you don’t send out a press release over the proverbial ‘wire,’ that doesn’t mean you can’t write about it on a company news blog. Create a separate blog that is reserved for interesting company news and updates (separate it from your educational, industry thought leadership blog), and publish content to it regularly. Link to your news blog from your website’s newsroom, and the media will recognize this as the “go-to” place to read about the latest happenings of your company.
- Create Brand Evangelists – Let Others Do PR for You
Continue to produce relevant and interesting content for your audience. You will soon find that you have generated a great following of fans and evangelists who will likely spread your messages and thus, do some PR handywork for you and your company.