7 Steps to achieve media coverage for your business

How to get media coverage for your business in seven steps

As a small or start up-business, trying to get in the media is an important strategy, but can often feel like a daunting, nay impossible task. Where do you even begin? And do you need a big budget to make a difference?

At Cedarwood Digital, we work with clients with a variety of budgets from small-scale to larger campaigns. So we know first-hand that you can make an impact, regardless of size or budget.

We’ve rounded up our top tips and broken down the process of how to get media coverage for your business, so you can start a media storm. 

1. Understand what is valuable to journalists

  • Content that offers a new and interesting angle
  • Data-lead content
  • Eye-catching images

When creating a press release, make sure to bear in mind that journalists receive countless similar emails a day. You need to be sure to provide something valuable that they can’t get elsewhere. Try to make sure your content is something new, with research to support or challenge thinking.

Surveys that provide journalists with interesting and topical statistics are a great way to get your business featured in the press. Whilst there are companies that will run surveys for you, these can be costly, so SME’s can benefit from using their own customer databases to conduct surveys and research.

Images are also crucial for a strong press release, as we live in an increasingly visual world. Supplying a few strong images to support your press release saves the journalist time and energy sourcing a relevant image themselves, and could be the decision-maker for whether or not your story gets featured.

2. Know your target audience

  • Personalise press releases for each publication
  • Include regional and local press

Work out an angle to spin your story to make it relevant and interesting to the readership of any publication that you’re looking target. Try not to generalise content and send it across all genres of media – this will be clear to the journalist and look lazy. It’s best to brainstorm and research topical news, upcoming events or media trends in that domain that your content can be linked to.

Don’t neglect regional press, as a local angle can also be a great hook. Though regional publications will have a smaller audience than nationals, they offer the chance to showcase news and features on a local scale and can be easier to get featured in than bigger publications. If you’re offering research and statistics that cover the whole of the UK, try breaking your research down into key city demographics so that it is more relevant to regional publications. For example, if you have conducted a survey that investigates adult usage of mobile phones in the UK, you could break the results down into cities to make the statistics more relevant.

3. Create a list of media contacts

  • Use paid media databases or free tools
  • Make connections over social media

Though you may already be familiar with a few key publications you would like to target, it’s essential to expand your horizons and discover more outlets that may be interested in covering your story. Fortunately, there are multiple online resources to help you to create a thorough media list – including niche, trade publications to nationals.

Response Source, Vuelio and Gorkana all offer subscriptions to media databases, allowing you to gain access to a wealth of influential journalists’ contacts at top publications. Or for those with smaller budgets, websites like Hunter.io offer the chance to search a limited number of journalist contacts for free. Both Twitter and LinkedIn can be also be good places to start for building connections – monitor #journorequest and #prrequest on Twitter to look out for relevant feature opportunities and connect with interesting journalists on LinkedIn.

When building your press list, make sure you pay attention to digital publications as well as print. Getting featured in digital publications is not only good for PR but also for your website’s SEO rankings. Links to your website from popular online publications will help boost your website’s overall SEO (more info on this here) and so the online publishing world should form an integral part in your PR strategy.

4. Research the targeted journalist

  • Know the topics that journalists like to cover
  • Pay attention to deadlines
  • Don’t harass journalists

Once you’ve built your press list, make sure to pay close attention to detail when sourcing the relevant journalists’ contact details. Research who you need to contact, considering their speciality and position within the company, and then you can approach the target publication to source their details and preferred method of receiving information. You don’t want to come across as rude or unprofessional to journalists by getting their details wrong.

Make sure to stay organised with deadlines and publications dates to avoid pestering journalists when they’re working against the clock. There’s no problem in getting in touch to ask if a certain topic is of interest, but don’t harass them. If you’ve followed up twice via email and have still not had a response, then unfortunately the journalist is not interested in your pitch.

5. Design your press release to make an impression

Present your press release in a way that is as easy as possible for a journalist to dissect. Generally, try to stick to the following rules:

  • Immediately summarise the essence of the content in the first paragraph
  • Don’t use technical terms which aren’t accessible, and avoid just stating facts
  • Try to support your story with evidence or statistics if possible
  • Be black and white with information you provide – making claims about your business that you can’t back up will be complicated and unprofessional
  • Detail your contact information at the end of the press release, and make sure to be efficient and available for follow up calls
  • Include ‘Notes to the Editor’ at the bottom of your release. This is where you can include useful background information that does not feature in your press release, such as an overview of your business’ services, how you conducted your research for your press release or a brief history of your business. Then you’re ready to press send!

6. Add supporting information & special extras to the press release

  • Offer interviews, case studies and photographs
  • Consider exclusivity for larger publications

To give your press release a bit more zest, it’s worth considering what extra support you could provide to each journalists. Publications often want to get unique angles on stories to avoid duplicated articles, so offering think about offering a case study, interview or photograph to sweeten the deal.

If you have a larger publication in mind that you are eager to work with, then you could offer them the exclusive on the story first, as being featured on one large publication with a significant audience could be more worthwhile than features on ten smaller publications.

7. Build relationships with journalists

  • Be a reliable contact

For long term benefits, provide news and content on a regular basis to journalists, stick to deadlines, make yourself available for interviews and comment.  This way you will create a great reputation for yourself as a useful contact and build a relationship with the press. Don’t be intimidated when getting in touch with a journalist – if you’ve followed these steps and consistently deliver, your media coverage will soar in no time.

READ NEXT: 5 simple lead generation ideas

10 Outreach Tips From Brighton SEO 2018

10 Outreach tips from Brighton SEO 2018

On 28th September, the Cedarwood Digital team travelled south to attend Brighton SEO, a huge one-day search marketing conference.

Here are 10 outreach tips that we picked up during the day.

Broken backlinks

Whilst many companies are familiar with fixing backlinks to their own websites, now is the time to start taking advantage of competitors’ backlinks. Screaming Frog, a website crawling tool, allows companies to find any inbound links to a competitors website that result in a 404 error. Once these have been identified, outreach teams can contact the journalist who published the article to suggest that they link to their company’s website instead. If the article contains content that the company’s website doesn’t currently have, then create this content first and then pitch it to the journalist alongside a link to the content.

Laura Hogan – Use Your Competitors For Freeeeee Links 

Reverse image search

This may be an old technique, but it is still useful for identifying new link opportunities. Find a graphic or image that a competitor had featured in national publications and then use this in a Google image search. This will show the websites that covered that graphic and the context that it was used in. Then work on creating a graphic with updated information on it and contact the publications to see if they would be interested in your material.

Laura Hogan – Use Your Competitors For Freeeeee Links 

Hashtags

Take a competitors URLs and paste it into a link tool such as AHREFS or Majestic and then identify their new backlinks. If there any hashtags in the articles they have recently received links from then make a note of these and simply Google these hashtags. This is a great way to find out which bloggers have worked with a competitor which gives an indication of the articles that they publish.

Laura Hogan – Use Your Competitors For Freeeeee Links 

Backlink analysis

A backlink analysis is a great way to understand where a competitor has been recently securing links – for example, using the SEM Rush gap analysis tool. This will not only show the domains that are linking to your competitor, but also exactly where the link is and its context. It is likely that your competitor has a large number of backlinks in their profile so it is recommended to compile a list of around 15 top opportunities to start with and then build this list up in stages.

Laura Hogan – Use Your Competitors For Freeeeee Links 

Set up alerts

Set up Google or Ahrefs alerts for your business and then set up alerts for your competitors. This will tell you when your competitors are being mentioned online, meaning that you can see if they are receiving links from high authority websites.

Laura Hogan – Use Your Competitors For Freeeeee Links 

News & media jumping

This is a technique that is used on Twitter by those who work in PR and it involves using a set of hashtags to request specific information. These hashtags are #PRRequest and #JournoRequest and journalists often use these when they are are trying to find someone to comment or interview for a story or feature. Sign up for email alerts so that you don’t miss out on a potential opportunity.

Charlie Marchant – Ways To Definitely Get Links For Your Business

Trade & industry publications

Industry-specific publications are always on the lookout for relevant content so use them as part of your outreach strategy. If you have any content that you would like to share that would be useful to others in your industry, then pitch this to relevant journalists. It is likely that the publication operates in print as well as online then this could also lead to some fantastic exposure for your business.

Charlie Marchant – Ways To Definitely Get Links For Your Business

Secure links before you produce the content

Time is very important and every second of an outreach campaign counts, so try to secure a link before you have produced the content. If you have an idea for a piece of content or infographic, check first that this is of interest to your target publications. You can find out by pitching your idea to journalists and writers to get their feedback. If you are able to compile a small list of publications that would be willing to use your content with a guaranteed link then you can go ahead and make the content.

Stacy MacNaught – Securing Links Before You’ve Even Produced Your Content

Surveys

If you want to create content or a press release on a certain topic that requires the public opinion, then try surveys. Google Surveys allow users to gather information in a short space of time, whilst Survey Monkey allows you to collect a large pool of data. Analyse this data, collate your findings and write them up into an interesting piece of content.

Charlie Marchant – Ways To Definitely Get Links For Your Business

Data outreach

If you have a content idea that requires data and statistics from reputable sources, then try government bodies. The  Office For National Statistics (ONS) and Freedom Of Information Requests are great for getting reputable data from government departments, such as the police force or the department for education. There are already requests available that other users have submitted but you can submit your own.

Charlie Marchant – Ways To Definitely Get Links For Your Business

So if you work as part of an outreach team and have been struggling for campaign ideas, then try some of these outreach tips to ramp up your link-building strategy.

READ NEXT: Why are links important for SEO?

Why Are Links Important For SEO

Why are links important for SEO, and how can I get them?

If you’re in the digital marketing world, you’ve undoubtedly heard that getting backlinks from other websites is crucial for SEO. It’s important to utilise anything that can help to boost your website’s search ranking, so we’ll shed some light on why links are so important and teach you how to build them yourself.

Why are links important for SEO?

Building backlinks to your website (getting other websites to link back to yours) sends out a trust signal to Google that your website has good authority, and therefore should be ranked higher. However, this depends on the type and quality of the website that posts the link. Essentially, if a quality website which Google trusts links back to your site, Google determines that you too are a quality website, so should be ranked higher. You can work out the quality of a website by checking its domain rating on websites such as Ahrefs or Moz: the higher score the better.

However, Google can also penalise for backlinks which it sees as unnatural. For example, spamming forums, creating tonnes of directory listings, paying bloggers on fiver to link to your website are unnatural ways to build links, which in turn will lower your position on Google. It is far better for SEO to secure a few strong links a month than to build hundreds of low-quality backlinks in a short space of time.

Hence, you should always ensure that links have a natural connection to your business, which you can achieve with the following techniques.

Brand reclamation

 

It’s always great exposure when a publisher features your brand in their article, though sometimes they will mention a brand without linking back to the brand’s website. Whilst this can be frustrating, it’s easy to maximise this opportunity and secure a link from a high-quality website. Most of the hard work has already been done because a journalist has already noticed and written about your brand. Simply drop them an email thanking them for featuring your business and request a link to your website be added to the page in case their readers want to find out more.

Tracking brand mentions online is very easy to set up so that you don’t miss these opportunities. There are several web-monitoring tools that help you do this, such as Google Alerts (free), Ahrefs alerts and Gorkana. Some publications may have editorial policies not to include external links, but it’s always best to email and check.

Media tools

 

Now that GDPR is in place, media databases with opted-in contact details of journalists are more important than ever for sourcing good quality PR opportunities and contacts. There are a variety of tools you can pay for, as well as free databases that scrape public email addresses from across the web.

One relatively cost-effective way to find feature opportunities is through journalist alerts. These are email alerts that journalists send out to source contacts or information for the features that they are writing. You can then respond to queries that are relevant to your brand, offering information, images, product reviews or quotes. Not only do these tools allow you to effectively build links in a natural way, but they also allow you to develop relationships with key journalists in your market without the need of a pricey media database. Building your own database of journalists that you have successfully worked with makes it easier to work with them again in the future, as you can either contact them with valuable content or they may contact you with relevant upcoming features to you.

Local links

 

Big-budget content campaigns can bring in a lot of high quality links, but exploring your local link opportunities can also be a good cost-effective way to build links on a smaller scale. Investigate whether you have any current connections that you could source a link from. Is your Managing Director an alumni of a prestigious university? If so, perhaps they could make a donation or share their business expertise on their website. Is there a local charity you could work with? Or a local group linked to your industry? Explore current connections that your staff and management have to see if there are any natural links that could be secured by sending an email.

Competitor analysis

 

If a key competitor outranks you for several of your keywords, performing an analysis of where their links are coming from is a great way to see what kind of outreach work they are undertaking. Tools such as Ahrefs enable you to identify which publications your competitors are receiving links from, as well as spark ideas for potential outreach content.

Are there any high quality review websites that your competitor has a link on? If they do and your brand doesn’t, then this can be an area to explore. Do they have any links from high quality bloggers? Again, if they do then you can contact the blogger who wrote the article to introduce your brand and highlight what you can offer them, should they be planning any articles which you could contribute to.

 

Looking for more tips on outreach and link building? Check out these easy-to-action tips we picked up at Brighton SEO in how to secure links for your website.