Even if we’re officially full-steam-ahead into 2014, your publicity efforts can always use a boost. You don’t need an overly complex strategy; you just need to be willing to use a little elbow grease and some good old-fashioned relationship building. Try one, or all, of these three free and easy tricks to give your PR a boost.
Launch a Response Campaign
This isn’t a very catchy name, but we call it the “response campaign” program at Arment Dietrich: Essentially it’s commenting on blogs, articles and editorials where you have expertise.
You see, reporters are as time crunched as we are … and most of them are doing the job of three experts. So they don’t have time for the long lunches and coffee dates and editorial meetings of old. But what they do have time to do is read the comments people have left on their content. This is where you come in.
Choose one newspaper, magazine or blog that makes a difference in your industry. It can be the Wall Street Journal or one of your trade publications. Choose just one. Then, once a week, comment on one writer’s article, blog post or editorial. If you disagree, fantastic! Say so. But do it professionally.
Keep this up. After about six weeks, the reporter will feel like he or she is beginning to know you. Our human inclination is to learn more about the person who is taking time to get to know us … and it could end in you being a resource in an upcoming story.
Every quarter, add another publication, so you have four that you focus on each year.
Write a Guest Blog Post
Guest blogging, if done well, can help you expand your network, find new prospects and drive people back to your website. It takes some time because you have to do your research and then write the content, but it’s extremely effective in creating the perception you are everywhere at once. Here’s how to go about it:
1. Go to Open Site Explorer and type in the URL for the blog for which you’d like to submit content. If its site authority is between 90 and 100, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to get something placed there without the help of a communications professional. But if it’s between 50 and 70, you have a better shot of submitting your content and having it run, provided it’s valuable and interesting.
2. Reach out to the content director or blog author on the social networks. Bloggers receive many pitches throughout the day so it’s easy to delete the ones from the people we don’t know. If you build a relationship with them first, the likelihood of your content getting used increases astronomically.
3. Once the content is accepted and you’re given a publication date, make sure you have some open time on your calendar to not only share, but to engage with the blog’s community.
4.You want to make sure that whatever you write does well in search. Use the Google Keyword Tool to find the words that will help you compete for search rankings.
5. Include a bio that has your social networks and a link to your Google+ authorship. This tells Google to include your face in the search results.
6. Run the content on your own site, but make sure you ask how long they would like you to wait before you do that. You want to wait at least a month and always link back to the original piece.
7. If the blog’s author or content director doesn’t respond immediately, it’s okay to follow up, but don’t be pushy or a jerk.
Help a Reporter Out
Every day, you’ll receive emails that have queries from journalists in your chosen categories. If there’s something appropriate for your organization, you can send a response. Note, you don’t have direct access to the journalists; rather, your response goes into their inboxes and they decide whether you’re a good fit for them.
According to LonelyBrand, Manuela Bizzotto of StratPad says, “As a startup with very little money for PR or marketing, HARO has been invaluable in helping us secure earned media to raise brand awareness. It’s also a great way to build relationships with reporters and establish credibility as a source.”
Be patient and test your responses. Be clever—and factual—with your headlines. Craft short messages. And be responsive and available when they’re ready for you.
Even if you tackle just one of these ideas, you’ll see consistent publicity results all year.
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