Note from Caleb: Besides guest posts, one of the other most useful types of online publicity you can get comes from more traditional PR outlets (newspapers, massive brands, aggregators, etc.). For example, Steve Kamb’s post that got “Gizmodo’d” or Jaime Tardy being featured on Yahoo’s front page.
Today’s guest post by John Hall of Digital Talent Agents will help you get your feet wet with traditional public relations and open the door for the same type of exposure to happen for you. Take it away John!
Many people have been fed lines of crap by traditional public relations firms. People sunk money into campaigns that led nowhere, or worse, they found themselves leaving a PR partnership with a worse reputation than they started with.
These experiences tend to make companies gun-shy about pulling the trigger on forming another PR relationship.
Luckily for you – and the entire industry – the PR world is changing. The future of PR lies in combining social media, SEO, and content marketing to develop a kick-ass strategy that takes your brand to a new level and naturally drives press your way.
Here are some quick tips that can help you get good PR.
First, Hit the Free PR
Social media is one of the best forms of free PR. Build these accounts up so you have a platform to share information and amplify your content. Personal branding sites, like Brandyourself.com, can optimize your social media in search results.
The easier it is to find you, the fewer barriers there are to building your social network.
HARO (Help a Reporter Out) is also a great source to gain a free press opportunity. Don’t spend a lot of time filling out every opportunity you see, but if one makes sense for you, go for it.
People get screwed by signing a long-term contract and paying a retainer, without seeing any results. My best clients have been ones who have been shafted by PR companies that charged a retainer without verifying results.
Credibility and authority are hard to measure; however, there are online tools that can help you. Google Analytics, DoubleClick Ad Planner, and WhoReTweetedMe are just a few resources that can help you track results.
When Digital Talent Agents switched to a pay-for-performance model and included analytic reports in our service, we more than doubled our clients, and customer satisfaction increased. Don’t get sucked into a contract with a heavy retainer without shopping around for firms that don’t make you pay until they have actual results to show you.
“As Seen In”
Many people pay thousands of dollars trying to get mentioned in publications so they can add these badges to their sites. The easy way out of this is by using a site like PR Newswire or PRWeb; sign up for the paid service, rather than the free version.
You are able to include links in the paid version, and there’s a better chance you’ll get picked up by high-quality publications. However, don’t think that just because you paid, you’ll get a great result.
Write a strong press release, or get help doing it, so it will actually get picked up. After these publications find you, your article may be relegated to a low-traffic area, but you can still add the badge to your site. Now that you know how easy it can be, it makes you consider how much many of those “As Seen In” badges cost!
Print is a Thing of the Past
Focus your resources on online media – newspapers and magazines are thrown out the next day. Online placements are amplified by social media and SEO. Content aggregators, like Zite, can garner even more exposure.
I’ve seen articles in no-name publications get picked up by The Atlantic or Business Insider and go viral. Online media allows you to have a spread effect that you won’t get in print.
Focus on Content Coming from You
Typical PR is usually focused around getting content written about you. Instead, make an effort to get content by you published. You can even do this by guest posting or syndicating your blog.
The more you build your brand as an expert, the more press you’ll attract.
I’ve made more of an effort to build my brand in the last 6 months, starting out by contributing to smaller publications; now, I’ve contributed to Forbes and The Washington Post. I’ve had countless press and business opportunities come from people seeing my contributions. I’ve seen it work with a lot of our clients, too.
It takes a little time, but it pays off.
Conferences and Organizations
Consider yourself one of the best PR tools that you have. Life is all about relationships, and conferences and organizations are two of the best ways to build them with people outside your current network.
The Digital Marketing Conference, Online Underground Seminar, BlogWorld, and many other conferences exist than can help you build relationships. There are great organizations, like the Young Entrepreneur Council, 85Broads, Founders Club, and Entrepreneurs’ Organization, that can connect you with the right influencers.
I joined a Facebook group called The Brotherhood; while I admit that the name is a little different, I have met great people, expanded my network, and brought business to my company. Reach out to people you know with large networks, and find out what you need to do to get involved.
Build Your Brand
The most important thing you can do to boost your PR is to consistently do what you can to build your brand. I have seen a lot of success with our clients with guest contributing to online publications.
However, there are a lot opportunities to take advantage of, including webinars, speaking engagements, and social media campaigns.
It’s entirely possible to establish yourself, even if you’re starting from scratch. As you continue to help build your own brand, you’ll naturally have press head your way. You will ultimately be able to see through the BS that some PR firms want to feed you. That knowledge, my friends, is priceless.
What kind of success have you had getting traditional or “big press” companies to feature you? Was it worth the effort? Let us know in the comments below this post.