Whether you’re interested in improving your brand’s search visibility, drive traffic to your site, increase sales or attracting new leads – getting featured or mentioned in news publications or high authoritative sites is going to help you achieve your objectives. However, this is easier said than done.
That’s why this Ricemedia blog is dedicated to improving your outreach abilities with just 15 minutes a day. Through these simple actions and tasks, you will soon find yourself getting more positive results and your brand becoming featured more often in publications and authoritative sites.
Follow These 5 Simple Tips
Simply spend fifteen minutes a day (the time it takes to make a cup of coffee or tea) to follow up on an email or call you’ve made earlier in the week and see where you stand with your brand. Are there any further questions? Is there a way for you to help with the story further? How else is your brand or business relevant to the story?
It is as simple as that, and really important to your outreach campaign because:
- Bloggers, editors and journalists are busy people who have dozens of brands wanting to be featured or offering to assist them with a story. Being proactive and keeping in touch will to make a difference.
- Beat the journalist to it. If they’re interested in your business or what your brand has to offer, they would have follow up questions. Don’t wait for them to ask; get in touch and find out yourself.
- You want to know whether you were or weren’t successful in your outreach. Rather than waiting for a reply, you’re able to report back whether you were successful or not straight away.
One thing to consider is the balance between a polite follow up and being annoying. While to you, that email everyday at lunch for a week may seem like eagerness, the receiver can see it as annoying and incredibly off-putting. There is a very thin line that you need to avoid crossing – especially if you want a future relationship with this person.
Personally, I would recommend a follow up call or email the next day after your initial pitch. This is a must – as I’ve said, journalists and editors are busy, juggling stories and articles. It is possible that another story can take precedence over yours. This initial follow up ensures that you remind them of your story as well as giving them an opportunity for any further information or follow up questions. After that if there was no response after the first follow up, take one more shot at it a week later.
Get Feedback & Adapt
Do you know why restaurants pay attention to online reviews? Because it offers them valuable feedback to their food, service and experience. If you want to improve your outreach, you need to take every opportunity you can get for feedback.
Find 15 minutes a day and a colleague with some free time to run through your outreach pitch. Whether it is going through your outreach email or listening to your phone call pitch, do it. You can run it as a role-playing exercise or talk through the pitch, it needs to be done, so that you know where to improve. While your colleague isn’t a journalist, that doesn’t mean they can’t offer you good, actionable feedback. Remember, they work in the same industry as you and can help you;
- Check the accuracy of your information or statistics you’re outreaching; the last thing a journalist wants is out of date or incorrect information
- Find another angle to outreach and target journalists and publications
- See if there’s any aspect of your story or your pitch that you’ve missed or need to focus on.
I had a fantastic relationship with a wedding blogger, (notice I used ‘had’) who would happily feature our clients and host our client’s content. Every few weeks, I’d email her with our latest piece of news or content to share with her, and she would publish and share to her audience until one day she didn’t. In fact, she stopped answering emails completely and, at first, I couldn’t understand it.
Then it hit me. Our relationship had become far from friendly and mutual and devolved to me sending her emails with requests to do this or publish that. Don’t get me wrong, I was pleasant and civil but you don’t need to read too deep into my emails to see that I blatantly wanted something from her. Because of this, I lost a very useful blogger and influencer for a client, but I’ve learnt a valuable lesson about maintaining a good relationship with influencers.
So, spending 15 minutes a day to email your bloggers or journalists, those key influencers who you work with on a regular basis, to send them a catch-up email and keep in touch with them is very important. You don’t need to open up extensively or have deep conversations with them, but building that friendly rapport is important. If your only contact with them is just requesting or asking something from them, you’re going to break that relationship.
When I say stay relevant, I don’t mean start wearing a bow-tie, braces and grow a handlebar moustache.
What I mean by staying relevant is – keeping your ear to the ground and up to date with what is going on in your industry. This is a simple but vital tactic that can provide you with an opportunity for your brand. Whether it is a story that enables you to approach that publication, offering your experience or opinion, or approach another publication about the story with your own twist on it, it is an opportunity for your brand to chime in on a relevant news story.
Another thing I’ve discussed in other blogs is keeping an eye on journalists on social media and the stories they’re working on. Following the hashtag #journorequest and #bloggerrequest, is a fantastic way to find opportunities. Spending 15 minutes a day going through these hashtag posts and finding opportunities will be a great use of your time. Even on the occasion that you’re unable to help them with their request or story, you have found a potential journalist or influencer to target another time for a different campaign.
So the time is not wasted, you’re growing your outreach network.
On the subject of using social media to assist and engage with bloggers and journalists, keeping your social media clean and building your social presence is important. Let’s pretend I’m a journalist, and I go to social media to find help with a story. Naturally, a number of digital PR professionals would be responding to push their brands and be part of the article. Who am I going to work with?
The PR professional with an incomplete social account, where I can’t tell if they work with this brand or what their role in the company with irrelevant content and posts on their feed?
Or am I going to work with some with a clean and tidy profile with relevant industry content and posts on their feed?
That is why it is important to spend fifteen minutes a day tidying your profiles and posting relevant content and comments. When journalists pick and choose who they decide to work with through #journorequests, having a clean and professional profile is important as you want to give the appearance that you possess the knowledge and experience to assist them.
This is a rather simple tip and can yield the most benefit. Simply read and consume content within your industry. Why does this matter?
Digital PR, Outreach or Public Relations all boils down to communication. The best way of improving your communication is simple; be on the receiving end of that communication yourself. A good place to start is with your competitors. Read their company blogs, the articles which they’re featured in and the press releases that they post. If they’re getting published, quoted or featured you want to know why.
You need to ask;
- What are they pitching?
- Are they pitching a new product?
- Are they pitching a new service?
- Why is this pitch being picked up?
- What publications are they targeting?
- Why are they approaching them?
- What journalists are they approaching?
- What kind of news are they interested in?
- What angle on a story or an opinion do they focus on?
- What is there to learn from the press release?
- How are they formatting or presenting the information?
- Do they link to or provide supporting information?
Also, before pitching to a publication or approaching a journalist, spend a few minutes reading their work. You can then talk about their own work, giving you something to mention in the pitch. Saying, “I really enjoyed reading…” will show the journalist that you have:
- A better understanding of the type of stories they work on
- The angle they take on certain subjects and topics
It will certainly help you develop and refine your pitch to suit a journalist or publication, improving your chances of being featured. If you’re interested in how Ricemedia can improve your brand’s outreach, please get in touch today.