In today’s world, online PR is ruled by pageviews. If you can convince a publisher that your content drives traffic, you can get them to write up a post paying only lip service to the traditional role of journalism in order to capitalize on that traffic. The key to getting picked up by increasingly trafficked publishers is to show proof that your existing content is driving pageviews. Since the amount of activity your content sees is linked to the amount of the traffic at the blog on which it’s posted, you can start selling “up the chain” by getting progressively bigger blogs to sign on in their own self-interest.
Build relationships with local bloggers
Local bloggers are traffic-hungry and resources-limited. By building a relationship with local bloggers and successfully driving traffic to their sites, you can convince them to post self-promotional content. Local bloggers are the key to driving your initial traffic. After local bloggers post the content, you can start trading the story up the chain to larger blogs by showing coverage on smaller blogs.
Target the mid-market blogs your target audience reads
If you want to reach the New York media, work on Gawker. If you want to reach the Los Angeles area, aim toward TheVerge. If you want to blow up in Jakarta, try to get published on fanpop.com. Use services like QuantCast to identify the demographic areas each blog reaches. Your goal at this stage is to have enough bloggers in your target area read your story to say “this is important and I should post about it.” Remember, blogging is an insular community. Most people follow the top bloggers, who follow the mid-market blogs and personal friends. The mid-market bloggers follow each other. Individual reporters from the mid-market blogs follow the hyperlocal blogs that we’re targeting in our initial campaign.
Forget the press release at first
Increasingly, media personalities are looking to bloggers for content, not to the press wire. The press release is a fantastic way to announce something that’s new, but publishers these days aren’t looking for what’s new – they’re looking for what’s trending. To start trading up the chain, position your message as something everyone already knows rather than something that’s new and untested. The press release still has a place in corporate PR and as a way to reach large publishers, but it’s more effective to launch a press release after some traffic has already been earned from local bloggers, since you can link to these blogs in your press release.
Write your own posts for bloggers
When you start pitching bloggers on your content, have a post ready to go if they bite. Let them customize the post if they want, but make sure that the post is ready to go as a fresh piece of unpublished content, written in the style of the blog you’re targeting. Never send the same blog to two bloggers, this registers as duplicate content on search engines and only the largest blog will see any search traffic from any specific piece of content. The general rule for rewriting blogs to be posted in multiple locations is to have no more than four words in a row ever duplicated between the two sites.
Include links to past publishers in your pitches
When you pitch the next level of bloggers on your content, try a tact like this: “I’m a huge fan of yours. What are your thoughts on this content that I was reading over at ABC Blog (link) and XYZ Blog (link)? Would love to hear your thoughts on it.” The hope is that the publisher reads between the lines and realizes that a trend is starting and does oblige you to share their thoughts in a blog.
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I'm the Director of Digital Services and Partner at Ballantine, a family-owned and operated direct mail & digital marketing company based in New Jersey. and started in 1966 by my great uncle!