By Anna Lebedeva
If there’s anything else entrepreneurs want more than customers, it’s publicity.
They want mentions, references, and links from media publications such as TechCrunch, Forbes, Entrepreneur, Mashable, and many others.
It’s no surprise then that writers contributing to those sites get bombarded with requests and bribes in return for an inclusion in an article.
But here’s the catch: a single media mention isn’t going to have as major effect on your marketing as you might think.
Sure, some people might visit your site. Some might even remember your brand name. But this effect will wane, fast.
In a long run, chasing media mentions is probably one of the least effective PR strategies for small and medium size companies.
And if you’re wondering what you should do instead, keep on reading.
I’ll show you six strategies that will help you increase your brand awareness … over and over again.
Strategy 1: Leverage connections with industry influencers
Influencer marketing is a big thing among marketers these days and rightly so.
For example, customers are more likely to trust a new company if it came recommended by someone they know and respect.
Brands notice the impact of influencers too.
According to Tomoson, businesses are making up to $20 per each dollar spent on influencer marketing. And 51% of companies admit to seeing better results from influencer marketing than other channels.
It’s no surprise that influencer marketing tops the list of the most cost-effective customer acquisition channels.
And here lies your first PR opportunity:aligning yourself with people your audience follows and admirers is a surefire way to get your company noticed.
We use this strategy all the time here at SEMrush. We connect and slowly develop deep relationships with influencers that later results in coverage and promotion we could have never dreamt of.
But we always start small. Instead of trying to get an influencer to take part in a major promotional campaign, we start off with a smaller project.
For example, we approached Mike Moran, the famous SEO expert, asking him to take part in our “SEMrush PRO talks” series. Once we did the interview, we invited him as a guest expert on our Twitter Chat. Naturally, many of Mike’s followers joined the chat as well.
These small steps led to a bigger cooperation with Mike now being an often guest in our SEMrush webinars and Twitter chats.
Strategy 2: Promote your company at important industry events
Industry events are an amazing opportunity to learn something new, keep up with new trends, and get inspired by leading figures.
But they also offer a chance to promote your company.
Events give you a chance to meet your audience, users, and influencers in person, build connections, and develop relationships you could take advantage of in the future.
Here are a couple of tips how to use events for PR.
Always create an attendee profile, if an event’s organisers offer that option.
Pick a couple of presentations that relate to your product or brand, research their topics, and prepare questions you could ask during a Q&A session. This will help get you noticed by the influencers and allow you to connect with them later on in the lobby.
Schedule meetings with interesting people prior to the event. Reach out to them and ask for a couple of minutes of their time. Give a reason for a meeting that will be beneficial for them as well and you should have no problems with booking some meetings.
Interview people. Many industry leaders will be happy to elaborate on the topic of their speech and more than willing to do it if their advice will be later published online.
And of course, speak at events. After all, nothing beats speaking as a publicity opportunity.
Bonus: if you don’t have the budget to attend big events (and let’s face, those can be costly), seek out online events you could speak at. These event have often more relaxed rules for whom they invite to participate. Oftentimes, you don’t need to be a big name to book yourself to speak at them. As long as you can prove that you have a good expertise and pitch an interesting topic, you shouldn’t have a problem presenting at such an event.
Strategy 3: Leverage your blog
I’m sure you have heard every possible argument in favour of having a business blog already. You know it could help raise your authority, brand awareness, and generate leads.
But there is another reason why you should leverage your company’s blog.
You see, a growing number of journalists reviews blogs on daily basis to find interesting stories, angles, data and stats. They scout the web, searching for new and up-to-date information to enrich their stories.
And by publishing newsworthy content, you can turn your blog into a great pipeline directly into interested media outlets.
Carefully plan and craft your content based on a deep understanding of your target audience’s needs. One of the best tools you can utilise for successful content creation is Google Analytics.
And don’t forget to distribute your content through all marketing channels! You can read more about content distribution strategies in this article.
Strategy 4: Offer value to journalists
Try as you might, you can’t make a journalist to cover your brand or product.
But you can provide them with so much value that they will be compelled to do so.
It could be offering an expert opinion on industry trends, sharing personal experience, providing proprietary data, or even, converting it into an infographic, if they need visual content to enrich the piece.
Journalists are constantly in search for sources, and if you engage them with your response, they’ll most likely reference your company in return.
Strategy 5: Use crowdfunding platforms
When you think of Kickstarter or Indeigogo, you probably picture new product ideas entrepreneurs need help bring to the market
But crowdfunding sites could also help you gain publicity. How? By presenting your new product to thousands of potential customers.
That’s what startups like Mailpilot or Roost did. They first launched their idea on Kickstarter and then, used it to develop massive media coverage on the back of it.
Strategy 6: Submit guest posts to popular websites
I admit, guest posting is an old trick in the PR book. But it works.
And that’s partially because guest blogging is mutually beneficial for both the publication and the company. Here is an article on how to find guest blogging opportunities.
You get an opportunity to get your company out there while sharing some useful advice with people who potentially could become their users.
The publication on the other hand, gets quality content written from a new perspective, adding something new to their site.
That’s the reason why Entrepreneur.com, Harvard Business Review, Inc.com, Forbes, Fast Company and many others still accept authentic and engaging content from outside contributors.
Review their submission guidelines and submit valuable content. In time, you will see your name appearing on the largest sites, building your authority and spreading information on your brand.
And as a conclusion, I would like to share some practical advice. Track who is mentioning your brand, keep an eye on competitor’s PR activities, learn about their successful content ideas and utilise them in your campaigns.
What do you think? Are there any other PR strategies you know that could work as a substitute to chasing media mentions? Let us know in the comments.
Anna Lebedeva is a senior PR manager at SEMrush, an all-in-one platform for digital marketing professionals.