As you can imagine, getting your brand name up in the top media isn't easy.
However, if you are committed to content marketing + digital PR, the benefits are enormous:
- High quality backlinks to your website
- A significant increase in brand awareness
- An increase in the authority of your brand
- Improved relationships with writers who loved your content
I'm going to explain how you can earn this type of coverage and its benefits for your brand.
Step 1: create current content
You probably have an instinctive grasp of what qualifies as news, but some of the most important elements are timeliness, proximity, and meaning.
Timeliness is tough. Hard news is usually reported automatically by the media anyway. However, there is one way to create news – and that is through data journalism.
By doing your own research, doing your own studies, doing your own surveys, and doing your own analysis, you are effectively creating news by offering brand new stories.
For our client Porch, for example, we used data from the American FactFinder, Yelp and Zillow from the US Census Bureau to determine which cities are best for young families.
This project is location based by nature which also adds the proximity element. But even if your content isn't location-based, see if you can ingest and localize your data so that it covers multiple geographic areas. (Then you can publish local news in addition to national news!)
Meaning is also a great element to consider, especially at the idea generation stage. It basically means: how many people are affected by this news and to what extent?
This is especially important if you are aiming for national news publications as these tend to have a wide audience. In this case, there are many young families across the country, and CNBC realized that this could be linked to this demographic.
When you combine all of these important elements, you can increase your chances of engaging reputable news publications.
Step 2: draft and package the contents for clarity
You need to present your data clearly and convincingly. Easier said than done, right?
Here are some common design pitfalls to watch out for:
- Redesign. Instead, experiment with simple styles that fit your branding, and take more creative liberties with headings and where the data naturally lends itself to images.
- Overbranding. If you have your logo in all of the pictures, it might be a little too much branding for some publishers. However, having a really authoritative brand can give authority to content as well. Test both versions to see which works best for you.
- Over-labeling. Include all of the text and captions that you need to make things clearer, but don't repeat yourself too often. The more there is to read, the longer it will take to understand what is happening in the graph.
Do not be afraid to add the most interesting findings or connections to the images as labels. That way, people can instantly identify the most relevant information and have even more to discover when they want the full story.
Take for example one of the graphics we created for BestVPN for a project covering The Motley Fool, USA Today, Nasdaq and more. We don't assume that people read text in an article to get relevant information. That's why we put it directly on the picture.
Here is another example of a project image we created for Influence.co.
We included the callout at the bottom of the image and included it in our pitch emails (more on that later) knowing it was a compelling data point. Lo and behold, it became the headline for the Bustle coverage we secured.
Note: It is entirely possible that in a news publication your pictures will not run. This is completely right! The images are still worth making as they will help anyone get your project grasp faster (including authors) and when done well they give a sense of authority.
When you have visualized all of your data, we recommend creating an appropriate description. One goal of the article is to explain why you ran the project in the first place. What did you try to discover How is this information useful to your audience?
The other goal is to add more color to the data. What impact do your results have? What could it mean for readers and how can they apply the new knowledge to their lives if necessary?
Include quotes from experts if necessary, as this will also be useful for publication authors.
Step 3: write personalized pitches
I could make an entirely separate article on how to properly rank top-notch publishers. For our purposes, however, I want to address two of the most important elements:
Treat writers like people
“They did something that PR people never did – but should. Checked out my twitter feed and made it personal. Well done! "- CNBC writer
Building real connections with people takes time and effort. If you want to hire a writer, here's what you need to do:
- Read their previous work and fully understand their beat
- Understand how your work fits in with their rhythm
- Check out their social profiles to learn more about them as people
Some still swear by the template. While it works sometimes, we've found that contacting the authors' inboxes in a personalized way not only increases our chances of opening emails, but also gets a truly appreciative response.
So start your email with a personal connection. Find out about something you have in common or something you admire. It will go a long way!
Include a list of key takeaways
“Wow, these results are super interesting and surprising. I will definitely include it when I continue with this piece. “- The author of the Wall Street Journal
Never assume that a writer will click through to your project and read the whole thing before deciding whether to cover it. In the pitch email, you need to state exactly what you think will be the most interesting part of the project for readers.
The key word is their readers. Sure, overall, you probably have a few major takeaways on your mind that are compelling, but there are often nuances in which certain takeaways are most relevant to particular publishers.
We have seen this so many times and it is reflected in the resulting headlines. For a project we created called Generational Knowledge Gaps, for example, we asked almost 1,000 people about their skills in practical tasks. Take a look at the headlines in REALTOR Magazine or on ZDNet:
While REALTOR Magazine penned a headline that reflected the overall spirit of the project, ZDNet & # 39; s paid more attention to what's important to its readers: the technical side of things. If we had approached them in the same way as REALTOR, they might not have addressed the project at all.
After personalization, add bullets indicating key data points for each audience, close the email asking if they're interested, and send it off.
Getting the attention of top writers is not an easy process. You need to take the time to develop quality content – we need at least a month – and then promote it strategically. This can also take at least another month to get as much coverage as possible. However, this investment can pay off as you get unparalleled brand awareness and high quality backlinks.
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