SEO and Social Media Matter for Press Coverage

    March 6, 2010
    Chris Crum

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.