When blogging started, no one took it very seriously. However, when the professional business community realizes where everyone was hanging out online, they’ weren’t too far behind. Add to this that news now breaks on Twitter, not CNN, Fox News or MSNBC. So guess where the journalist are trolling? They’ve adapted to the paradigm shift and realized that blogs are a great source for news, commentary, interviewees, statistics and quotes. Therefore, you have an opportunity of garnering absolutely FREE PR (that’s public relations, not Puerto Rico). Journalist’s want your blog! Is your blog ready to make the cut?
This presents a major opportunity for serious marketers. You see, advertising doesn’t work as well today as it used to; people use DVRs, pop-up blockers, plugins like ABP (Adblock Plus… love this one!)—all to avoid being bothered by ads. But what if you could get your brand into the places people DO pay attention to, like their favorite news source? What would that mean for your brand’s recognition?
Let’s look at the data, and how you can make your blog and website appealing to the media, so you can have your brand in the news.
According to Matt Wilson of Ragan PR, in an article titled, Survey: Websites, online newsrooms most valuable to reporters, says that 93% of journalists search company websites and blogs to do research for news stories.
Blogging is no longer a nascent practice; some websites (like ours, “shameless plug”), have very professional, robust blogs with a wealth of valuable information. Articles that are well written, researched and cited—on par with many news media articles. Granted, many blogs are written more in the OpEd (opinion editorial) genre; however, it is relevant, cogent and entertaining. The kind of content media is starving for, since many newspapers are shrinking and personnel have been downsized. If they don’t have content to report, their confiscatory advertising rates must become less confiscatory—not very good news for the accountant. So they’ve learned to adjust and you can be the beneficiary for it.
With that said, not all blogs are equal or ready for primetime. Therefore, if you want a piece of this pie, you need to make sure you can meet the needs of the professionals seeking your expertise. So let’s look at several tips to help you not miss any opportunities.
Now this information is not just good to attract journalists; it’s good to make your website and blog more successful on a whole. These tips will make your blog pull more in social media, driving more traffic to your website. And more is always good! So let’s take a look at several of tips.
While this is one of those “DUH” tips, it’s the most important. Why? It’s not just that you will be out there more often and it’s a number’s game, but consistency is going to raise your bar with Google. So when a journalist IS searching, you actually come up. If you’ve not read my article, Google is changing the Rules, Again, I highly recommend you do. It will make the difference between being found online and being invisible.
While I am a huge proponent of evergreen articles (articles which are not dated and the information is timeless), so you can reuse them for promotional purposes; it doesn’t mean they cannot be relevant to what is going on today. This article is a good example. This is the new normal for news, at least for the foreseeable future. So this article is relevant to the study BusinessWire recently did, but it will serve other readers a year or two from now.
However, sometimes you have to write an article that is a one-time use article, because the opportunity in trending news is so great. For example, again, this article is a good example. Since I offer marketing and web design services (to include creating professional blog sites) and the BusinessWire story is relevant news of the day pertaining to my expertise, by writing on this topic and offering tips that help, I have made my article more likely to be read.
If you’re a big company, in this new social-media world with all the content your company needs to be creating in order to compete, you need an in-house editor. However, if you’re a small company or a solo act, this may not be feasible. So outsource editing or find someone you know who is willing to help; who has great writing skills and understands proper grammar and punctuation. You may be a genius at your topic, but if you don’t write well, you will be judged. It may not be fair; but it is reality. So adjust and prepare for it.
While the most important part of any website is the content, because it is your message; if your site does not pass the smell test (affectionately), people won’t read it. Why? Quite frankly, if it’s not professional, well thought out and laid out, the impression will be that if little concern went into the design, the content must be subpar as well.
If you’re not sure of your website is ready, read What Makes a Good Website, Part 1 and 2. It will give you good tips to tweak your existing site for maximum impact and marketing effectiveness.
So there you have it! Make sure your website is ready, write great quality blog articles and put them out in social media. Tweet your articles and I recommend you create a list of reports Twitter identities who write on your topic. Follow them, so there are no obstacles to communication and they see your tweets. However, before you do so, make sure that if they are interested, they will like what they see.