Thursday, November 6, 2008

How to Get Media Coverage for Your Blog

One way to build awareness, brand, credibility and buzz about your blog is to appear in mainstream media (read more about the Benefits of being featured in Mainstream Media).

A lot has been written about how to get your blog featured on other blogs - but how do you get press coverage whether it be TV, Radio, newspapers or magazines?

Following are a few tips on how I’ve done it:

Develop a Unique Story

One of the best tips I can give is to really think about the story that you’re pitching to journalists before you approach them. If you simply contact the editorial staff of a mainstream media outlet and say that they should write about you without giving them a unique angle they’re unlikely to respond positively (if they respond at all).

Stories about a blog are not that exciting to write - so what angle can you give them? What have you done, experienced or achieved that is going to grab people’s attention? What relevance does your story have to the readers or viewers of the media outlet?

Note: you don’t just manufacture these stories out of nothing but if you’re on the look out for opportunities they do come up. They might emerge out of a post that you write that gets attention, causes some controversy (controversy is a great way to get media attention), gets picked up by other blogs etc - or it could even emerge out of something that someone else does that you could comment about or that you’re featured in.

For example I was featured in a ‘top Aussie bloggers’ list last year and shot a link to the list to a national newspaper - the story got picked up with me as one of the bloggers featured.

Think (inter)National AND Local

I know one blogger who complains every time that I bring up mainstream media that he’s never had any success. When I ask who he’s pitched his story to he tells me that he’s approached the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, ABC and a few other top tier news outlets.

While I commend him for thinking big - a more successful approach is likely to be to approach not only the big guns but smaller outlets. For one you’ll increase your chances of success in approaching a more local outlet - but you might also see the story picked up by larger media outlets (or you can use it to pitch to them later).

Write the Story

I’m not suggesting that you fully write an article when pitching mainstream media - but I’ve found that when I pitch a story and when I do a little extra work in showing how the story might look that journalists sometimes take what you present them with and build upon it.

So do some work on your pitch. Provide the media outlet with any facts, figures, stats or quotes that might help the journalist do their job more quickly and efficiently.

Be Approachable

Sometimes it isn’t a matter of pitching your story to mainstream media as them approaching you. This grows as your blog and profile grows but you can enhance your chances of being approached by being contactable.

An essential item for blogs should always be a way to contact the blogger. Whether this be by providing an email address, phone number and/or having a contact form - if you’re able to be contacted (and make it easy to be) you’ll drastically increase your chances of being approached.

Also useful for this is developing an about page that contains the type of information that journalists are looking for. Include information like your biographical information, links to a FAQ page and even a specifically written Press Page that shows how other press outlets have covered your story.
Press Releases

I’ve had limited experience and success with writing press releases but know at b5media that we regularly use them and that they are very useful - particularly when launching new blogs/portals.

You can learn more about the power of Press Releases here.

Build Profile

Perhaps the most important thing to do is to work hard at building a fantastic blog and having a great profile in your niche.

I’ve found that as I’ve done this that mainstream media outlets have increasingly come to me and that on the occasions that I’ve approached them that they’ve been much more open to covering me.

This of course comes with time and you can’t manufacture it over night - but I say it to give bloggers having problems getting on the radar of media a little encouragement - stick at it and build a great blog and it’ll come in time.

Keep In Touch with Journalists

If you do strike it lucky and get featured in a story - keep the contact details of the journalist that writes the story. If they’ve written one article they might be willing to do another. Also let the journalist know that if they ever need a quote for another story that they are writing that you’d be willing to take their call.

11 Tips from my Friends on Getting Media Coverage For Your Blog

I asked my Twitter followers for their tips on getting press coverage for blogs. Here’s some of what they said:

1. “If your writing to try and get press coverage be emotive, timely and topical - demonstrate ’special’ or ‘insider’ expertise” - keithdon
2. “1- easy to find contact info; 2- photo of self & decent bio; 3- blog trends, hot topics” - alizasherman. She also tweeted - “My miscarriage blog was featured in More mag. I was blogging a “controversial” topic in a daring way. Got noticed & featured.”
3. “Break the news so the press use you as the source. Has worked multiple times for me.” - michaelmeloni
4. “Keep blogging your niche and the reporters will find you. And when they do contact, jump at the chance to help them.” - GrantGriffiths
5. “Treat traditional media like you would want 2 B treated; don’t spam them, read their stuff 1st, be concise, give links 4 more” - CathyWebSavvyPR
6. ” 1) write quality content 2) have clients that write quality content and reference you” - leahmac
7. “Be bit controversial, write press release for them (they lazy) be original.” - theworstofperth
8. “provide constructive criticism when everyone else is bitching about a problem and you’ll be noticed” - MadLid
9. “give your blog a spit shine before press release. Check spelling, grammar and theme errors. Be prepared for a big jump in hits.” - beanfair
10. “Start small. Offer something eg tips, advice, short column to local newspaper. See what works then go for the bigger papers.” - bussogardener
11. “Media coverage advice for bloggers- Be honest, be brief, and find a relevant hook. I’ve had success with the press doing this. ” - BJMendelson

To be included in future lists of ‘tips from my friends’ - follow me on Twitter.

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