Public relations (PR) isn’t only reserved for big brands and budgets – bloggers and small online businesses can take advantage of it too. PR tactics can help you raise awareness of you and your blog, as well as position yourself as an expert. Here Claire Gamble, MD of PR and marketing agency Unhooked Communications and founder of PR Unlocked, explains what PR is and how you can go about securing yourself some great opportunities.
How can PR help bloggers?
Ultimately, I like to think of PR as a way of helping to make bloggers and small online businesses more visible. And the more visible you are, the more opportunities you’ll find.
Once you start doing some of your own PR to promote yourself, you’ll soon find that you can create a ripple effect of opportunities. For example, a small business I work with won an award, which helped secure some great editorial in leading magazines. One of the editors invited the business to collaborate with some well-known brands and partners at an international exhibition, and this resulted in more work opportunities and additional appearances in the media (including a Channel 4 documentary!).
Whether you want to become an industry expert on a particular topic, drive more traffic to your website, establish new relationships with other bloggers or brands, or sell your products or services, PR can help. You can find out more about what PR is here.
What PR tactics can bloggers try?
There are all kinds of PR tactics such as awards, events, content marketing and social media. Another way you can promote yourself and your blog is by getting featured in the media. There are different ways to secure media coverage, such as news stories, features and interviews.
But before you start pitching to journalists and editors, it’s worth spending time on developing a mini PR strategy. As part of this you should work out:
- Who is your target audience?
- What magazines, newspapers and websites do they read? What TV shows do they watch? What radio stations do they listen to?
- How will PR support your wider business objectives?
- What topics are your target audience and target media outlets interested in? Which topics do you specialise in?
For the latter point, it’s so important for bloggers to have one or two key topics they focus on. By specialising in a niche subject, you can become known as an expert in that particular topic and you’ll find it easier to secure media opportunities.
How to pitch in comments, features and interviews
There are a couple of different approaches to pitching to journalists and editors. One is to be reactive – i.e. monitor the media for breaking news stories, check Twitter for #JournoRequest to see what journalists are working on, or sign up to a media alert service such as ResponseSource or PressPlugs.
If you’re pitching in response to these sorts of reactive opportunities, the most effective way to try and secure a comment or interview is to email the journalist directly. Be really concise in your email – don’t waffle! Keep it to a few short paragraphs – introduce yourself, explain why you’re the best person to comment and provide a brief overview of what your thoughts are on the topic. You also need to respond to media enquiries as quickly as possible.
The other approach to pitching is to be proactive. If you’ve spotted a trend or know a certain topic or issue is worth talking about and would be of interest to a media outlet’s audience, you can get in touch with the relevant editor or journalist to run your idea by them.
When emailing, you should introduce yourself and include a short synopsis of your idea – ideally one or two paragraphs. Within your email make sure you explain why it’s a good time to be talking about this particular topic now, as well as why the idea would be of interest to the publication’s readers.
Whichever way you pitch comments or features to the media, do your research to make sure you’re suggesting the appropriate content and topics to the right publications and journalist or editor. Make sure you tailor your pitch to every media outlet you contact – don’t just send the same one to everyone or copy in multiple different contacts into the same email!
Little and often to build on your success
There are so many different opportunities to get featured in the media and carry out your own PR activity. But realistically you probably can’t spend all day, every day pitching ideas to the media. If you’re serious about building your profile and doing some PR for your blog or online business though, try to carve out some time each week to research and monitor for opportunities.
And as you start to secure some successes, make sure you maximise the impact. Share links to online articles, tell people which media outlets you’ve featured in, connect with the journalist and start building those relationships.
Twitter is a brilliant tool to help you secure media coverage. You can sign up to the free PR Unlocked course – How to Use Twitter for PR and Media Coverage – here.
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