What is the best way to reach out to blogs/online publications for PR?
I eventually want to hire a PR firm to get press in larger, national publications (Wall Street Journal, for example), but for now I want to start building my online presence on sites such as Tech Crunch or Venture Beat. What is the best way to approach these sites? Should I write and tell them about my company/why their audience would care? Should I write up my own blog post and send it to them? Any suggestions or success stories would be much appreciated!
Thomas ... Let's start from the beginning.
What's your goal(s) first for the business and for the marketing communications / public relations campaign? Is it to build brand awareness, generate leads, growing revenue or seeking investors — or all of the above?
Who is your target audience? Parents, medical professionals, etc.?
What is the value proposition and the benefit of your software / game? How does the game work?
What age of children is the game designed for?
Has the game been clinically tested? If yes, what are the results? Where was the child from a learning standpoint (grades, reading level, comprehension, etc.) and where did they end up after using the game?
Who were the medical professionals involved in the clinical testing? What's their background? Are they willing to be interviewed? Can you get testimonials (quotes) from the parents of the children in the trial?
Who developed the game/software? Was it you? Why was it developed? Did the developer have a child with ADHD? What's the developers background?
Now that you've defined your goals and answered the who, what, why, where, when and how questions now you can move forward.
First, find a solo practitioner in the area and ask them if they have Vocus or similar software. Give them your target audience parameters. They can develop a list of trade publications, news outlets and bloggers along with the names of the editors and writers for a relatively cost-effective price.
These services can also provide you with bios and other important information on the bloggers, editors and writers. From there you can research the publications and editors/writers on style and rules of content as everyone has mentioned.
From all of this information write press release(s), article(s) and case study(ies) along with backgrounder, bio of the developer, important screenshots of the software, and if you can create a screencast video of the software and how it works even better.
NOTE: Just like you can save money by writing a draft of a contract and then having an attorney review it. You can do the same with writing. Write a draft and then have a professional review and edit it for you.
Can you set up a microsite that allows they editor or writer the ability to engage with the software/game? If yes, do it. Give them a user name and password in your introduction/pitch.
Put all this information on your website in a media room. Then post your press release(s) on a distribution service like PRWeb. Next send a personalized letter or email to all those people on your media list. Keep it short and to the point with links to your information.
While email is ubiquitous, some editors/writers still like receiving information via postal. When developing your media list the resource used should give you their preferred method of contact.
One last thing, you may need to write multiple press releases, articles, and case studies based on the audience of the publication and blog.
I hope this helps.
You wouldn't treat the online media any different that you would the rest of the media. You need to pitch them with newsworthy article topics and angles. There must be a "newspeg" that their readers will find interesting. The downfall of 99% of media pitches is a lack of a solid newspeg -- because most people think a newspeg is "Hey I'm great (or my product is) and you should feature me." And the other downfall is pitching the wrong media contacts. Know who covers what - don't spray and pray. Tech media sites like TechCrunch and Venture Beat don't accept contributed blog posts from outside resources - unless you are a a widely recognized expert that people would already know. Their staff writers compose all the columns and content for the sites. Good luck!
Spread The News PR
Most firms make the mistake of throwing marketing content into the mix when trying to engage people seeking something they can sink their teeth into. Always remember that you have to know your audience intimately, and you have to develop content that grabs them and holds their interest. Most people enjoy learning something new from an expert. Most people don't enjoy reading marketing content on a blog. Blogs allow people to decide who is an expert and reach out if the services of the expert are needed.
To answer your other question, you will find a vast array of blog procedures. Some blogs are controlled by one person, while others have a team approach. Some accept community expert contributions, while others control all content through staff writers. Target the ones you like, that your target customers like, and start building those relationships that result in content on the blog.
I suggest getting to know the reporters. Let's say your product is a cloud collaboration tool. Rather than just submitting through the website or introducing yourself to all the reporters at TC or VB, find one or two reporters who cover similar products within the same industry.
Try shooting them an e-mail providing feedback to a story, or introducing yourself, or sparking a conversation. Once you get to know the reporter better, it's easier to set up background conversations or for them to cover your news...when it happens.
Thomas..... does their site have instruction for submitting guest blog posts or articles? If they do not, have you reached out to them via their 'contact us' to ask about their position on guest posts, etc....
Whether you are going for larger, national pubs or smaller sites, blogs, etc. - research their site for the appropriate person, and then simply write up a pitch as to what value you would bring their readers, what you write about, how it fits what they provide out to their readers, and even provide them a sample post or article. Then request being a contributor or guest poster.
Also - you don't need to hire a PR firm to get into larger pubs... the above works for them as well. The key is also to be timely - your topic should be hitting on something top of mind to those publications currently... and/or if you know it will be in the future, i.e. tax season, politics, etc.
A PR won't hurt but you can do the same thing.
First of all, let's keep it simple. Do you like to write and do you like to write often? If the answer is no to either of these then you're are going to sporadically post blogs. As the topic (spirit) moves you to write about it are the ones that are good for publishing. They are heart felt, took you to places you did not want to go or smiled or even cried when you thought of these places or things.
Second, as stated before by Ms. Boas, research your publication. Know who works in which department. If they are local invite them out to coffee. Create a relationship with them. If they are not local, send out an introduction email to the editor or individual you want to connect with.
Third, be ready for multiple rejections! It is part of the beast so do not take it personal. Those that are publishers do not have time to read through all of the submissions their publication accepts or has a proven staff that produces grade A material. Never stop making contacts and there are no wrong ways to create sources. But never give up! Know that there are plenty of FREE sites that you can connect your blog to.
Four, getting the word out about your blog is the next key if you post on a site. Unless you have the tags exact your audience may never know you wrote a blog. Again research the sites that will let you tag or connect them to your blog. You can generate a following through this means but have confidence!
There's really no shortcut in getting this done, but there are ways about it. You may want to try checking out the PR firms. Ask yourself, what's your Christmas wish list? Who would you want to rep you to Tech Crunch + Venture Beat? Check out their style and their voice, study it and see on how your voice will be able to attract TC/VB. Developing a relationship with the top writers too is another way to go - if you don't live in the same country, email them and invite them for 'virtual coffee' on Skype, and have a conversation with them. These guys are notoriously busy, so keep it to a time limit - remember, you have to do the elevator pitch in the first 3 mins, sound enthusiastic and then chat for another 7 minutes and end it. You may just get lucky - either with a write up, a by line or a point to the right direction to get you where you want to. Hope this helps!
You can't beat doing the leg work when it comes to building your online presence. Start with social media, follow and retweet content from your target blogs and online publications and try to build relationships with individual writers. Use your own blog to position yourself as an expert in your field and to establish your own ability to write engaging content. If you have an established blog, you're more likely to be given the opportunity to provide guest content for others.
Ultimately, if you have a good product, there will be people out there who will write about it, but they have to know you exist first. Offering free trials or tutorials to bloggers can be a great way of getting your name out there, but beware that the best bloggers will be painfully honest about what they're reviewing - you have to be ready to take the good with the bad.
Finally, look for articles that list the "top ten" blogs in your area and make these your targets.
Hi Thomas, the key is developing a relationship with the authors who are most likely to be interested in your content. Reporters, journalists, bloggers, etc., are normal albeit busy people. They have companies pushing content on them constantly. To stand out journalists need to know who you are, know that you are familiar with their work, and see that you have something that is of interest to their readers. You can start by following them on Twitter and engaging with them there. LinkedIn would also be good if you are able to find/connect with them on that platform.
It also helps to give them something unique, not available to every other journalist. Maybe you can get them an interview with someone of note, or a sneak peak at a new product.
Good luck in your efforts and let me know if I can be of further assistance!
Looks like others had my answer. Do your research. How do these sites relate to yours? Why should they connect with you? You might not necessarily need to write a blog post and send it to them, but you can write to ask them to connect with you. Seriously, cruise through their site, find the proper person to connect with and either straight out call and/or email them. Be respectful, complimentary about something on their site and ask.
I would suggest writing a professional press release (there are many helpful and free sites to show you how) and send and sending a blog post follow up. Today, often we need to contact people numerous times and in numerous ways to get noticed.
Become a specialist. If you're trying to compete with the noise of other business owners spouting their greatness, you're missing a trick. Being a specialist in a specific area of expertise let's you cut above the clutter and focus (which is all that strategy is anyway) on the right customers for your business. Pick a subject matter that you know about and preferably one you care about and write, write and write some more. Then the right audience will pick up on it and eventually come to you (because you are a specialist). This allows you to charge more for your services.
A great source of publications is ISSUU.COM. Not sure about PR related info but it's worth a shot
For a deep answer to your question I recommend you this guide:
The PR company could be also very useful to you as they provide real results with accesible prices.
I would suggest by writing blogs that would be relevant to their readers and submitting them to be published. I would also suggest commenting on their existing posts with the intent to engage in meaningful feedback/conversation. This should help build your following and credibility to get you into the larger publications.
I just came across this infographic that you might find helpful.
Recommended PR is mentioned in one of the boxes on the right hand side.