One of the most challenging aspects of a product launch is obtaining coverage by the right bloggers, review sites and journalists. You’re not going to make any impact or sales if no one knows about your product or service. Gaining the right media placements will create buzz, sales and increase organic traffic. Here are a few tips to help you build a target list, pitch your story to the right person and receive coverage.
#1. Make A Target List
Make a list of all the sites you would like to get listed on. This can include digital journalists and bloggers, traditional print publications and influencers in your niche such Youtube personalities. If you want to reach out to reporters you may want to look into subscription based media database services which will provide you with media contact information for a fee. You can also contact journalists via their social media accounts or google their e-mail info. If you’re only contacting bloggers you can generally reach them via their “Contact’ or “About” page.
#2. Find Out Which Sites Have Traffic
Don’t waste time contacting blogs without any traffic or influence. One way to gauge approximate traffic levels is by visiting Alexa and inputting the site’s url into the search box. A lower number is better and means the site has more traffic versus a lower number. It isn’t 100% accurate by any means but it will allow you to compare sites and prioritize them.
#3. Research The Writer
When pitching a blog you’ll want to read at least five articles they have published and figure out if your story will be a good fit on their site. If you’re contacting a journalist make sure to find out which beat they cover. This will help you form a more compelling pitch and enable you to explain why your story will be interesting to their readers.
#4. Test The Waters
It’s generally a good idea to interact with a blogger before giving them a pitch. This means following them on Twitter and commenting on their stories. Establishing a relationship first will decrease your chances of getting rejected or being outright ignored when you do pitch.
#5. Sell A Story
Never pitch your business or service directly to a reporter; they simply won’t be interested. Reporters are interested in story telling; this means compelling stories that move, inspire, awe and shock. Stories that everyone can relate to. Tie your product into a bigger story that will give the reporter something to write about. Be concise and get to the point when pitching via email. Bloggers and journalists are busy people and receive tons of pitches daily. Make it short and sweet and exclude any extraneous information that’s not needed.
#6. Avoid Buzz Words & Hyperbole
Site owners and journalists don’t want to hear how unique or special your product is. So many pitches contain the word “unique” that it’s pretty much redundant. Instead, focus on explaining what your company does and the problems it solves while keeping it short and to the point.
#7. Automate The Process
Automating does not mean mass-emailing the same template to every journalists or blogger under the sun. It simply means using the right tools in order to maximize your efficiency. Let’s face it; sending out e-mails one by one simply isn’t productive.
Gmass is an affordable software that is excellent for outreach campaigns. It’s a gmail extension that works directly with Google spreadsheets. You create columns such as “name”, “email”, “site name” and “personalized sentence” where you can insert a line just intended for the recipient such as “I really enjoyed your blog post titled ‘How To Lose 10 lbs In 2 Weeks’”. This shows the site owner that you’ve actually looked at their website and aren’t sending out random e-mails. The program will then send out emails using your g-mail account with the information inputted in the spreadsheet. Some type of automation will be needed if you want to contact a large number of sites.
#8. Pick Up The Phone
Take a note from the biggest PR companies in the business and follow-up on your initial e-mail outreach with a telephone call. Some individuals (myself included) may be used to strictly e-mail and Skype conversations and find the task of talking one-on-one nerve-racking but it’s a must if you want to increase your chances of getting published. An e-mail is soon deleted and forgotten but a phone call can swing the pendulum in your favor as long as you make a strong case for your story.
#9. Don’t Skip Niche Sites
Don’t just target the large sites with massive amounts of traffic; niche specific sites often receive targeted search engine traffic looking for the very product you’re selling. For example, if you’re trying to gain publicity for a new hair dryer, you will want to contact sites like Folica & Shop Hair Dryers that specialize in this very niche.
Review sites either offer consumer reviews from actual users or curated reviews from editors or experts. Review traffic tends to convert quite well because consumers who are reading reviews are generally ready and willing to buy. They are simply looking to find out the pros and cons of each product in order to figure out the best product for their needs.
#10. Give An Incentive
Give the site owner something in return for posting your story. Bloggers are always looking for more traffic, exposure and links back to their site. Offer to link back to their post from your press or “As Seen On” page, where you can highlight your company’s press mentions. You can also offer to share their post on your company’s Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn accounts for an extra boost.
Offer the blog owner their very own coupon code that they can share with their readers for a percentage off or special pricing. Coupons are easy to track and will also enable you to monitor which sites are sending the most sales.
#11. Interact & Watch The Results
Once your media placements are live you’ll want to go back and check if readers have left any comments or questions about your product. Interacting with potential customers will help your company build authority and trust.
Track who is sending you the most traffic, sales and engagement. This information can be used again in the future with new campaigns.
Managing a successful outreach campaign is a challenging process but it’s doable if you plan in advance, do your research and contact your targets strategically.