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SEO and Social Media Matter for Press Coverage

Familiar Marketing Tactics Can Also Work for Journalists

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When businesses think about search and social media, a great deal of the time, they are thinking about traffic, customer engagement, and brand awareness. While these are all good things to consider, there may be more to that last one that you have spent much time thinking about.

Brand awareness goes beyond just having a random customer find your site in a set of search results or through a link from their Facebook news feed. Have you considered how channels like search and social media are used by media outlets and journalists? The fact of the matter is that journalists and bloggers alike utilize both to a great extent while covering their beats.

Do you take press coverage into consideration? Comment here.

Search and social both play significant roles in PR. This is a topic that WebProNews recently discussed with TopRank Online Marketing CEO Lee Odden. Odden calls journalists customers, and in many ways they should be treated as such when it comes to getting your product or site in front of their eyeballs.

Odden says to look at what it is you can do as a marketer to make it easier for the journalist to do their job. Optimize your content for what a journalist is looking for. This is one way you can potentially increase your media coverage, which can obviously increase brand awareness.

Odden makes a great point online journalists often having tighter deadlines, and turning to blogs and social networks for sources and quotes. For example, the real-time nature of a Twitter search might be just what a journalist or blogger need to find someone who’s talking about the subject they’re writing about, at nearly the moment they’re looking for it.

For that matter, Google’s real-time search can help for the same reason, and most journalists and bloggers frequently use Google to search for what they’re looking for. If what they’re looking for happens to be related to a newsy topic, they just might see Google’s real-time results literally before anything else. If that topic happens to be related to something you’re talking about, you just might end up in those results too. Google is also indexing updates from Facebook Pages here now, by the way.

The point is, if you are looking for increased media coverage, there are ways to increase your chances of getting in front of the right people, and it is certainly not limited to real-time search. Sometimes journalists/bloggers will simply tap their contacts within their social networks (or email of course) to find sources. This is as good a reason as any to engage in social media on a regular basis and network with lots of relevant people.

If attracting media attention is what you’re after, consider these five tips I offered in a SmallBusinessNewz article last year:

1. Do something that’s different – Simply do something that makes you stand out: something that gets people talking. If it creates enough buzz, the media coverage will likely follow.

2. Look for niche publications – the more niche the publication, the more likely they probably are to cover you.

3. Personalize your message – When you’re writing an email to a publication to talk about your business, for example, personalize the message for the specific person you’re contacting, so they know it’s not just a manufactured piece that you’re sending all over the web. Journalists like exclusivity.

4. Find multiple contacts – If you can find more than one contact for a particular publication, it may be wise to send your story pitch to them. This will increase the potential visibility among the publication’s staff.

5. Provide plenty of details – When sending such a pitch, it’s a good idea to include as many details about the product/story as possible. The more details available, the less research is required, and time is more valuable than ever, especially for a journalist.

Another piece of advice I would give is to not let your press center hold back your marketing opportunities. I’ve seen a lot of companies fail to keep their own press centers up to date with the latest news, even as big announcements are made, and even if they have issued press releases. Often times, these releases won’t even be available on the site until later. If you want to increase your chances of more media coverage, you should always have your latest news readily available in your press center, or via your blog – wherever you make announcements. And always provide contact info.

Share your tips for increasing press coverage.

SEO and Social Media Matter for Press Coverage
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  • http://www.famousbloggers.net Hesham

    Actually journalists are no longer have to be in the place of event to get information, but also they should check the credibility of their news if they are getting it from social media resources, not everything is true!

    • Chris Crum

      Yes, actually in the video Lee talks about credentials and establishing credibility when optimizing for journalists.

  • http://www.PublicityHound.com Joan Stewart, The Publicity Hound

    Great tips, Chris.

    As a former newspaper editor, I can tell you that the magic phrase every journalist wants to hear is, “How can I help you?” Ask that question, and then listen. You might be very surprised at what you hear.

    Here’s another tip that piggybacks onto your third recommendation above to personalize your message.

    Take the time to investigate whether a particular journalist who covers your industry has a blog. If so, spend time at the blog, read their posts–and comment! Most bloggers, including journalists, want more comments. If you comment on two or three posts over a period of a few weeks, the journalist will recognize your name when you pitch. This is a great way to start building a relationship.

    As for your fourth tip above to pitch multiple contacts at the same publication, that’s fine. But make sure you tell all of them that you’re pitching their co-workers.

    • Chris Crum

      Great tip about commenting, Joan…as long as the comments are legitimate and add value to the conversation, and are not self-promotional.

      You’re also right that it is good to let multiple journalists know if you are contacting more than one of them (under the same publication).

  • http://medianowonline.com Yusuf

    Being a journalist, I know what you are saying. You are very much correct and we often confirm facts from Google search. In India search means Google. We Indian much rely on this search engine.

    • Chris Crum

      I’d say Google is one of the main go-to resources in many different countries.

  • http://www.liberatemedia.com Lloyd Gofton

    Great overview Chris

    Your points certainly chime with the way we approach campaigns as a combined traditional PR and social media agency.

    The focus shouldn’t be so much on separating journalists out as an audience, but making sure that you listen to the community as a whole, understand what the community is interested in and how you can be of help, and then offer relevant content that is useful to them.

    If you think of community engagement in these terms, your likelihood of successful engagement will increase, and that will include conversation with journalists, who are an important part of the wider community.

    Of course you have to get the basics right in terms of making sure your content can be found and is relevant/newsworthy, but the fundamentals of engagement in a social environment are relevant to most audiences.

    • Chris Crum

      Thanks Lloyd. Yes, it certainly helps to have relevant/newsworthy content.

  • http://www.seotool.com SEO tool

    Good recommendations and sound advice. From a pure SEO perspective, strongly optimized press releases can both get ranked in Google while also serving as strong link building vehicles. Once the release has been written, go back and judiciously optimize the release with keywords relevant to your space. If you can creatively title your release for a solid long-tail keyword, it will often rank well over time b/c of the news component in Google’s integrated results. Should your own site(s) or blog already rank well — you’re taking up prime real estate and market share visibility. Again, strategic anchor text links to the proper interior pages of your site, from the press release, will also bring value to keyword-driven rankings and your link building strategies.
    Best,
    Scott

  • http://agencycouture.com Desaraev

    Obviously it important to make your self accessible to clients and the media, optimizing this is often over looked. I hope you write more on this.

  • http://www.internetmarketingservicessite.com Snowlfys

    Internet marketing services webmasters using press releases recently have stated that most news reporting agencies, whether newspaper, internet website, etc. rewrite somewhat the press release submitted. Have you heard of this? We just did a massive submission through a service which contains over 400 websites which seek to have press releases submitted to them. We didn’t find that the press release was changed based on the ones we seen afterwards but since we do not know exactly where they are all listed, we would not have been able to view the majority of them. We have found that press releases done properly are a good tool for increasing traffic and getting some great exposure. It took us one & 1/2 weeks to use most of the websites and the increase in traffic from origination about 1 month ago has been about 4 times the amount we had and still slowly increasing. So if our press releases were rewritten, they must have been done well and they must have included our link to our website. Many of the submission places do not allow a link within the press release. We are wondering if this might be a rare situation or something new that press reporting places are doing now?

    A good press release should be written as if you are the reporter reporting on someone else’s business such as you might see in a newspaper plus meet formatting guidelines. If you can’t find anything newsworthy for your business, then maybe you can create something that would be.

  • John

    When I have a client that has a presence in a strong vertical market we make sure to follow the journalists and publications that write about that market. Hopefully they will follow back and track developments as the client releases them.

  • http://www.MasterLinker.com MasterLinker

    Publishing press releases on a consistent basis is a large part of our SEO strategy. It accomplishes several goals:

    1. The release itself often gets ranked by Google since it is deemed to be “newsworthy,” which is the type of content that Google often likes best.

    2. The press release contains links to our website. This builds backlinks to our site for our chosen keywords, which helps our site ranker higher in search results for our valued keywords. In addition, these links often drive traffic directly to our site from individuals who read the press release.

    3. Occasionally, our press release is actually picked up by a media outlet and republished. And on rare occasions, reporters write a story about us from the newsletter, which drives even more traffic to our site.

    Overall, we find press releases to be an extremely effective SEO and marketing tool. We even built a tool called PRLinker at www.MasterLinker.com to help automate the task. Check it out if you have time…it can save you a lot of time while greatly improving your PR marketing efforts.

    Good luck!

    Tom

  • http://www.businessesforsale.com Jeremy

    Whilst people are mentioning press releases only, or web 2.0 sites only, the key is in fact to use both of these in conjunction.

    We are developing a strategy whereby content seeded though pr channels is also then seeded and referred back to in web 2.0 channels, as well as autoseeding the web 2.0 accounts to each other. Not a link wheel, as that is too obvious, but an organic mess…

    If a story we have sent through real world and auto pr channels gets picked up, we then link to it in our web 2.0 properties, and with these properties we get in touch with other web 2.0 profiles of our pr channels – so they then reference the story through their profile as well as their official site – this way as more and more news sites get their writers to bring in their web 2.0 content to the official site, we get picked up by everyone.

  • http://www.clearsense.se s

    It’s very important to treat you press material as vital, it will be viewed and interpreted in many different ways if the message is not crystal clear for every reader. To maintain this we work with rather short press releases cutting straight to the core of the matter. Just stating what is happening is often the best case with direct instructions to contact the company for more information. By doing this you avoid misinterpretation and can also get a feel for how the journalist is going to aim the article.

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