Getting free publicity for your website or business is the Holy Grail of marketing. Usually this is the domain of public relations (PR) experts who will pitch stories to publications on your behalf, and charge you up to several hundred dollars an hour to do it. This is actually something you can easily do yourself using the power of the internet.
There are four reasons you want to get publicity online:
- You can often get a ‘dofollow’ backlink for your website (though not always) and that will help with your website’s Google pagerank as part of a search engine optimisation (SEO) program
- You build your brand awareness
- You reach audiences you may not have been able to access previously without spending money on advertising
- You want to present yourself and/or your company as an authority or expert on a subject
The steps are simple:
Identify either something newsworthy that your business is doing, for example:
- ambitious project completed or started
- won an award
- key staff appointment
- new equipment
- new product range
- exploring a new market
- new capability or service offered
- supporting a worthy cause
- supporting a sportsperson via sponsorship.
Then identify several areas of expertise that you can contribute an article in – you might have a specific skill that you can help people understand.
Search for sites that report news in your genre – avoid big sites such as cnn.com as they only report the serious news, and it’s usually bad news. For the smaller sites, journalists and/or site owners are always on the lookout for easy stories, and many industry news-based websites rely on keeping their costs down to be as profitable as possible and will put up news just for unique content value.
Contact them and ask if they accept press release submissions, and also check if they accept authority unbiased articles in return for acknowledgement in the form of a link. You may be able to get a double-whammy by both being able to submit an authority article, and follow it up with a press release a week later to get improved ‘mindshare’ in your potential audience.
Once you have found a few, use Google to find a press release template and write one following its structure. If writing isn’t your forte, go to odesk.com and hire an article writer. Expect to pay around $5-7 per article. You will just need to provide the writer a basic bullet-pointed list of the objectives of the press release and ensure they know how to format one.
If spelling’s not your strength, hire a proof-reading service once you are happy with the article – expect to pay a couple of dollars for this service. So, for less than $10 you have a press release. Repeat the process for an article.
When you send your press release always personalize the email to the journalist so that it doesn’t look like you are sending out a mass email. Only submit your article to one website; submit your press release to as many (relevant) places as possible. Remember to keep a database of anyone you contact so that you can easily send out another press release in the future.
As an example, if you are in the automotive industry there are many blogs dedicated to cars and news about cars. A quick web search reveals two examples Car and SUV and Autoblog. Both report industry news, have dofollow links and on the contact page specifically supply an email address or form to send user submissions and/or tips.
Try to think outside the square. For the automotive industry you may not have a direct link other than that you sponsor a racing car driver and he’s doing well.
If you submit enough relevant press releases and the occasional article you will find that these sites will start contacting you for your opinion, and that will magnify your business’ perception and success immensely as you will get not only ongoing free publicity, but the kudos associated with being a recognized expert.