Remember how exciting it was to be featured in your hometown paper if you raised a lot of money at a bake sale or won your high school’s basketball championship? In 2020, this looks a bit different – with key strategies, your business can be mentioned in Forbes, Cosmopolitan, CMSWire and many other news publications online. Then, you can post this achievement on your website, social media, and the company’s bulletin boards. Today, learn how to get valuable brand mentions (and bragging rights) and why this is important for your online presence.
Build authority, trust flow, citation flow
First, let’s see why brand mentions online are so important. Getting featured in various publications has two core benefits; traditional media exposure and digital benefits.
Traditional media exposure
Being featured anywhere that has readership is beneficial to any company. It expands your brand’s audience and can lead to an increase in sales or an improvement in public opinion. While advertising can have similar effects, earned media is typically much better at achieving these goals. The main reason being that any earned media coverage is, well, earned. It adds a level of trust between the message and recipient. When a message is paid to be put in front of a recipient, an additional wall is put up between the two that can be difficult to work around.
This is the same reason there’s a digital benefit to exposure on publications in regards to SEO. Link building is a big part of having quality SEO. The reason being is that when a website links to another, it signals to Google that “website A” is recommending “website B.” These recommendations tell Google that your website has authority regarding the topic covered by “website A” as well as the topic on the page you’re linked on. Search engines reward these recommendations by improving rankings for related keywords; the better “website A’s” metrics are, the better quality your backlink will be, resulting in more impact for your rankings. The majority of well-known publications have fantastic website metrics, leading to excellent backlinks.
To build on the previous section of SEO benefits from link building, let’s see what else this strategy has to offer. Building out your website’s backlinks is a primary goal for outreach to publications who have a digital platform. It’s a fantastic way to acquire relevant backlinks that are earned media and from very reputable sources. Building backlinks has become increasingly difficult, but having a solid PR strategy still remains one of the most effective ways to earn quality backlinks. If you provide quotes to a story, make sure your attribution includes a backlink to your company’s website. If the story is covering an article or study your company created, be sure to host the article or study on your website and have the outlet link to the originally published piece on your website.
Photo from 8P design.
Ensure you have shareable content
Many people under-estimate the power of their owned media resources. Your owned media is any unique web property that you own and control, most often your website. Ensuring you have valuable content on it can, in fact, have a great impact on reaching a wider audience. Your website can be a useful hub of information for your industry. Start a blog, share your insight, and make it informative as well as interesting. Any form of content that can provide value can be utilized for digital PR. Other websites and publications may end up using your content while giving you proper attribution and credit.
This is especially true for any visual content such as infographics. A great example of a company that understands this is Orkin Canada. They release studies and surveys regarding statistics in the world of pests. Most recently, they released one for Ontario’s “rattiest” cities of 2020. Numerous Ontario news outlets and blogs have picked this up, resulting in fantastic earned media for the company. And, they created an eye-catching infographic that easily visualizes the results.
This is a perfect example of using one’s industry knowledge to create content on their website that can be shared on other outlets and drive even more traffic to the original poster.
When creating infographics and content, ask yourself “Can I see this being shared on social media?” If yes, you have a great opportunity to leverage the power of social media and bring new traffic to your site. If not, consider making your content social-media friendly so you can reach new audiences and maybe even go viral.
Outreach to publications and journalists: present value
How do you actually get featured in online publications? Through a set of traditional and digital public relations techniques – traditional PR still plays a big role in getting featured in digital outlets; you can use the same outreach techniques. Understand what topics news outlets and websites typically cover in your industry, find the relevant reporters, and pitch them on a story. Of course, it’s critical that your story is actually newsworthy. These journalists receive dozens of pitches; make sure yours stands out. Focus on topical issues and ones that would actually be interesting for that outlet’s readership. Make sure you have all the needed information and statistics (journalists love statistics!). And most importantly, tailor your outreach for each journalist. It’s painfully obvious when a pitch is copy/pasted from a template and this tends to annoy the journalist receiving it. Using a base template is fine, but be sure to build on it to be an individualized email for each person you contact.
Ensure your website is clear on what you do
Once you have acquired your earned media on a publication, you need to ensure that any readers coming to your website can quickly understand what your company does. Few brands/companies have national or global recognition, meaning when your average person visits your website from the placement you received, they will have little-to-no knowledge of your company. Make it clear from the get-go what your company is. Avoid industry jargon as well; most people won’t understand. A good rule of thumb is to write on a fifth-grade level to ensure your communication is clear, concise, and easily understood by all. This is an opportunity to gain a new client/customer – don’t forget that!
Here is a step-by-step guide for you:
- Show your website to a fifth-grader and ask them what you do
- Consistently create understandable, sharable content
- Reach out to online publications with your story to get published
- Continuously build out your backlinks
- Enjoy more website traffic, increased authority, and improved citation and trust flows.
In a very short summary, that’s how you get great brand mentions through digital PR. This strategy is not as talked about as others but carries tremendous value. Curious? Reach out to see how we can tell your story.