According to Nielsen, 37% of people trust editorial ("earned") content in the newspapers, compared to the 30% trust rate for newspapers' paid placements. Clearly, employing tactics to help you earn media attention -- including newspapers, local TV, magazines, and bloggers -- is a winning combination. You don't need to pay for it (other than your time), and people tend to trust it more than the bought attention.
Looking to attract more media attention? Here are 8 great tips (plus 1 bonus!) to try out.
8 Ways to Earn Media Attention Instead of Buying It
1) Consider a Unique Pricing Strategy
Who says that pricing can't be a differentiator? There are many businesses that have tried to distinguish themselves by having a unique way to price their products/services -- whether it's by charging for soda based on the temperature outside, using a "pay what you want" approach, giving cocktail discounts based on Facebook's stock losses or, my personal favorite, demand-based pricing. Dow Jones Bar in Barcelona prices its drinks based on demand, just like in the stock market: my purchase of Heineken will make it more expensive for others. Unless, of course, there's a crash -- when drinks can be bought at bargain prices!
There's no limit on how creative you can get -- just make sure it resonates with your customers first.
2) Help Out a Reporter or Journalist in Need
Reporters don't know everything (after all, they're only human), and research can only get them so far. Add strict publishing deadlines on top of that, and it encourages many journalists (including news sources like the Associated Press and ABC) to ask for help through services like HARO (Help a Reporter Out) or on Twitter using special hashtags such as #journorequest or #prrequest.
To help get your business covered, subscribe to daily reporter requests on HARO, and more importantly, master your pitch in response to the requests. In your pitch, prove to the reporter that you're the one who could make a great story -- demonstrate your expertise (can you share links to any content you've created on the topic that proves you're an expert?), and thoroughly address the reporter's questions posted in the query.
3) Provide Insightful Data
A site called OkCupid was named "The Google of online dating" by the Boston Globe. The reason is simple -- OkCupid not only put data analysis, complex correlations, and algorithms to work to find potential dates, but it was also sharing interesting insights and providing data-supported dating advice through its blog, OkTrends (before OkCupid got acquired by Match.com). For example, did you know that messaging "How's it going" instead of "Hi" yields twice as many replies?
Don't have a lot of data? Partner with a research firm, or run a simple survey that could highlight a trend, and approach industry reporters with the results.
4) Be the Second Paragraph in the Story (AKA Newsjacking)
The technique for newsjacking, a term coined by David Meerman Scott, is fairly simple. Seek out stories which are expected to become popular/mainstream, and develop your own response in real time. For example, when the Chilean miners were rescued, Oakley provided all of them with sunglasses to protect their eyes. This yielded an estimated $41 million in exposure for the Oakley brand.
Newsjacking is not exclusive to big brands, either. During Christmas time, a local Albany TV station had reported a purse theft from a woman in Walmart. A local Christmas tree farm acted quickly and became that "second paragraph" in the story, as they offered her a free Christmas tree. That’s not bad timing to get on the top of customers' minds, is it?
5) Be the Expert -- Have an Opinion, Speak, Be Quoted
Industry conferences, events, publications, and blogs are all important sources of learning where the industry is headed. Most of the time, it's a matter of spotting trends, analyzing public or proprietary data, or offering insightful opinions.
Become more outspoken in your industry by publishing your opinion, whenever appropriate. A business blog is the perfect platform for this if you're just starting out. Sooner or later, your industry's community will take notice, start following you, and start regarding you as an expert. From there, you can offer your posts to industry publications or pitch to speak at conferences -- all benefiting you and your business.
6) Grab Some Coffee: Meet Reporters/Analysts/Influencers in Person
Sure, all the online tools make it easier to communicate, but meeting people in person is still the most powerful social networking tool out there. Nurture some of the relationships you build online with reporters, analysts, bloggers, and other influencers in an offline setting. Use in-person networking opportunities like events and conferences to introduce yourself to these people as well.
And remember: your relationship shouldn't only benefit you. "Paying it forward" by providing tips, resources, or referring reporters to others is a great approach to differentiate yourself from all the other businesspeople who are trying to attract media attention.
7) Create Remarkable Press Releases
Whoever said that press releases have to be full of corporate speak? Use your press releases to your advantage by making them unique! When SEOmoz secured $18 million in funding, they announced it by using popular internet memes. HubSpot's acquisition of oneforty was announced with a tweetable press release, which attracted attention from big names like the Wall Street Journal.
8) Give Back to Charity, Donate Your Services, or Volunteer
Philanthropy isn't just accompanied by that warm, fuzzy feeling; it can also be an opportunity to get in the local/regional media as well. From donating your professional services to integrating your whole business model with giving back, the extent of your donation or volunteering is limitless. And if your company is truly committed to supporting the community and giving back, consider becoming a certified B-Corporation and contacting local media about the certification; it could make a great story!
Bonus: Creative Content and Campaigns
Infographics, videos, music videos, guerilla marketing, ambush marketing -- oh my! All of these techniques have GREAT potential to get noticed by the press, bloggers, and of course, customers! People LOVE out-of-the-box thinking and reward it by spreading it with their friends – which is exactly what you want for your business to grow!
Has your business been featured by the media or popular bloggers? Please share how it took place in the comments, and help your peers!