For over 10 years, building communities online has been an interest of mine. To get your content seen you need to reach out to as many people as possible and journalists have always been a great way for me to get my message out there. Over this period I have found myself being interviewed on BBC TV, Radio and quoted in newspapers including the likes of the New York Times, Sydney Morning Herald and the Guardian.
In this article, I go through the steps needed to get media attention.
Step 1 – Prove that you are knowledgeable
Building yourself into an authority on a specific niche takes time, and you have to prove that you know what you are talking about. It does not happen overnight and it’s important that you do not wait for journalists to contact you.
You have to be passionate about your niche and have an opinion; it is that opinion that the journalist is interested in publishing. To show that you are knowledgeable, find the questions that your targeted audience are asking and answer them by publishing well researched and helpful content on your website.
Know your niche well, keep up-to-date with the latest news. Learn from people in other industries, look at what makes them an expert and why they’re the person that the media goes to every time.
Step 2 – Communicate with journalists
Start off by identifying a journalist who writes for a publication that your target audience reads. Build relationships with them, read their articles and comment – follow them on social media. One communication tool that is often forgotten about nowadays is email – now, tread carefully here – contact a journalist and offer your assistance on any future stories about your niche.
Keep the email brief, tell them that if they ever want any quotes on a specific topic that you are happy to assist. Remember like you, the journalist has a job to do, and do not take it personally if they do not contact you.
Create a media list that includes details of journalists and writers. Make sure it includes their name and email address. If you can’t find their contact details, call the publication directly and ask for them. Try to find direct email addresses so your communication doesn’t go to a general one and get lost.
Nowadays, finding journalists is much easier with social media. On Twitter, create a list of journalists and over time build a relationship with them; share their content, ask questions, answer questions, show them that you’re knowledgeable and more importantly, approachable.
A growing number of journalists write their own blog, so leave comments, add your opinion and ask questions. Use an RSS reader (I use Feedly) to keep a look out on what is being published in your niche; if you find an article, leave a comment showing that you are knowledgeable about the topic and offer some more advice.
Step 3 – Be timely with the news
So you’ve now identified the publications where you want to receive media attention – you’ve networked with their journalists and writers – what’s next?
On your website and on social media, write helpful content and give your opinion on the news headlines hitting your industry. Journalists will be keen to find a mix of opinions from people who are knowledgeable about the industry and topic. This is where you will gain media attention if you are quick and smart enough.
Once you’ve written the content, email journalists that you have built a relationship with. It is important to keep the email brief; leave a link to the article on your website, and a quote. Make sure the title of the email is going to catch their attention.
For five years, I wrote a hugely successful blog called Travel Rants, and I did this successfully. When news hit, like airlines increasing their baggage fees, or, a tour operator going into administration, I wrote a post that gave lots of tips for consumers and offered my opinion on the news.
The added bonus with reacting to the news is that you will also attract your targeted audience to the website. If done right, you can turn them into regular readers, by offering a free product, if they sign up to your email list.
Step 4 – Create a press page
When you receive your first mention in the media, make sure you create a press page. Add on the page your contact details, a photo of yourself and some background information about you and the business. Link to any media attention online, or take a photo if you’ve been mentioned in a newspaper or magazine. Why? Well, you want your readers to know that you’ve received media coverage and this helps build trust.
Media coverage helps build trust
So, why is it important that your blog gets media attention? For a start, it helps build your trust – your customers are more likely to trust your content (and buy a product or service) if you have been quoted and featured in the media.
To build your audience, links to your website are important to increase your placing in the search engines, so, being mentioned by the likes of the New York Times, BBC, and the Guardian is going to help you appear higher in the search results. Google, Bing, etc. are more likely to trust a website that has links from these sources.
To recap: prove that you are trustworthy and are knowledgeable in your industry by writing quality, accurate content. Then network with journalists and people who work where you want to to be featured. Finally, be timely in providing journalists with your quote, opinion or advice on stories that hit the headlines.