“The Daily Tattler finally wrote about me, but they never printed my website address!”
If readers care enough to learn more about you, they’ll Google your name. But most people are too busy. They won’t bother.
It’s time to outsmart the journalists, broadcasters and anyone else who covers you. Here are nine ways to sneak your website address into media stories and blog posts.
1. Tell them the name of your company is (fill in the blank).com.
Instead of identifying my company as The Publicity Hound, I’d say it’s PublicityHound.com.
2. Offer helpful tips.
Journalists love tips lists, like this one. But don’t stop there. Offer several tips on a topic, and then tell the journalist that readers can find 10 more tips on the same topic at your website.
3. Create a quiz.
It should tie into the topic of the article, or your expertise. A cardiologist might create one called “How much do you really know about heart disease?” Post the quiz at your website and suggest that the health reporter who’s interviewing you take it himself to see how much he knows.
4. Discuss your website if it’s relevant to the story.
For example, if a blogger is interviewing you about problems you’ve faced as a small business owner, and you tell her one of the biggest was getting people to your website, but you learned how to optimize it for the search engines and it’s now pulling traffic, quote actual traffic statistics.
A nonprofit might let the blogger know that people can donate to a specific cause or program right at their website.
Have you saved money on expensive websites by building yours on a free WordPress platform? Many people have. This can be part of your story.
It’s difficult for a reporter to write about a website without giving the URL.
5. Offer a free sample.
Use those words: free sample. It can be a sample chapter of your book at your website, or a two-minute clip from an instructional video you’re selling, or an entire series of videos on how to solve a problem. The free sample should include content-rich material, not a free commercial.
6. Offer a free “cheat sheet” or checklist.
People love these. And the media love telling their readers and viewers about them. There’s a chance the reporter might want to actually print the checklist as a sidebar to the article, instead of requiring readers to access it from your website. If so, don’t balk. Say yes. Make their job as easy as possible. And then suggest another idea on this list.
7. Answer people’s questions–for free.
Offer to answer readers’ or viewers’ questions, but they must submit them on a form at your website. Make sure the URL is simple and that the form works correctly. If the form isn’t on your homepage, include an easy-to-findheadline on your homepage that leads people to it.
8. Offer a pocket guide of industry definitions.
This is particularly helpful if you work in an industry that has its own lingo or difficult-to-understand terms. Those include technology, Internet marketing, health care and the financial sector. Invite the reporter to excerpt a few terms and definitions as a sidebar that accompanies the main story.
9. Offer a free calculator.
CNN Money has a free calculator at its website called “When Will You Be Debt-Free?” You can find lots of examples of free calculators at MyCalculator.org. Hire a freelance techie to make a calculator for you at sites like oDesk.com, vWorker.com and Elance.com.
Let’s assume one of these nine tips has worked. Always thank journalists and invite them to call on you again for story ideas, background, commentary and sources.
What about you? Have you used a clever idea that convinced a journalist to include your website address in their stories? Share it here.
Publicity expert Joan Stewart, aka The Publicity Hound, publishes a free weekly ezine that shows you how to promote any product, service, cause or issue. Subscribe to her free publicity and social media tips and receive free the handy checklist, “89 Reasons to Write and Send a Press Release.” Follow her on Twitter at @PublicityHound and on Facebook at Facebook.com/PublicityHound.
I have a small confession. I’m a bit of a wannabe photog. My latest platform of choice is Instagram. Now if you haven’t heard of it, it’s a photo-creating and sharing iphone app that is taking the early adopter circuit by storm.
While Instagram has only been around for about nine months, it already has more than 5 million users and 150 million photos. In comparison, it took Flickr 2 years to reach the 100 million photo milestone. Still hesitant? Here’s five more reasons why Instagram may replace Flickr in the near future.
1. It embraces the “mobile first” mindset to the fullest.
With more than a ⅓ of the US population actively using smartphones and even more using Internet-connected devices (such as ipod touches and ipads), mobile Internet usage has skyrocketed. Photo viewing and commenting is one of the most popular activities on social media sites, such as Facebook. Instagram capitalizes on social photography on the go and takes it to the next level.
2. Social sharing made easy.
Social sharing could not be any simpler on Instagram. In just a few clicks, you can edit your photo, place a filter, and then send to your friends thru email, Facebook, Twitter, etc.
3. It’s a “social photography” network.
If Twitter and Flickr had a baby, it would be Instagram. It combines the photo experience of Flickr with the real-time conversational atmosphere of Twitter.
With a real-time stream, a “like feature” and comments, Instagram does a great job of making it feel like a social network and not just another photo sharing application.
4. It levels the playing field for amateur photogs.
As a wannabe photog, I’m not trained nor do I have the tools to shoot award-winning, breathtaking photos. Professional photographers have several cameras, hundreds of dollars of lens and lighting equipment and years of experience all to take the “perfect photo.” All I have is an iphone and an eye for detail. Instagram allows me to frame images in just the perfect way and then put “filters” on it to make the images stand out.
5. It’s just fun.
I admit. This is a bit fluffy, but there’s no denying that Instagram can be addicting and a lot of fun. There’s a competitive side to it. You want to provide the best photos possible for your friends and followers. You may want to take it a step further and get broader recognition by the Instagram community.
The only real limitation for Instagram is that it’s only available on the iPhone. If it develops apps for other platforms, it could take off at even faster pace.
What do you think? Will Instagram eventually replace Flickr?
Jessica Malnik is a PR/marketing coordinator, social media specialist, videographer, Instagram lover and avid blogger. Visit her blog for social media, technology, public relations, journalism and marketing ramblings.
Today’s guest post comes from friend and Michigan-based colleague, Ari Adler. I’ve gotten to know Ari a bit over the last few years through our affiliation with Ragan and through Twitter. Ari is currently the Press Secretary at Office of Michigan House Speaker Jase Bolger and the president-elect for Central Michigan PRSA. Today, Ari opines on the topic of media training.
All the media training in the world won’t help if you leave common sense behind while being interviewed. That’s a key message for public relations professionals and consultants to remind clients when you are training them on media relations.
We often spend so much time worrying about how a client will look, how they will sound, whether they can stay on their key messages or how to address tough questions.
What we don’t spend enough time on, I fear, is basic common sense. We need to get clients thinking how technology has changed every reporter into a broadcaster, even if they are officially a print reporter, and how every report now has a worldwide audience thanks to the Internet.
I’ve seen two instances of this failure to remember the basics lately that prompted this post. One of them involved President Barack Obama, so it’s not just about people who have never dealt with the media before not thinking clearly. During a rather prickly interview with a Texas TV reporter, the president was visibly annoyed. It’s bad enough for the President to show the annoyance in his face, tone and body language. But he made an even bigger gaffe when he chastised the reporter after the interview, but while he was still being recorded. The problem occurs at the end of this report. As the President reaches up and removes the microphone from his lapel, he leans toward the reporter and says, “Let me finish my answers the next time you interview me.” It’s included in the news report, because it helped the TV station frame the interview the way they wanted – as their reporter having the guts to challenge the President on issues important to their viewers.
For the President, it shows that he’s still an amateur when it involves common-sense thinking around the media. First, at the moment the interview appears to be over, he reaches up to remove the microphone, as if he can’t get that thing off fast enough. Second, he continues talking and saying things that might matter even though the mic and camera are still on.
No matter how tense the interview gets, always remember the old adage, “Never let ‘em see you sweat.”
Sometimes, interviews can be friendly and still get you into trouble. In fact, those are probably the ones that are more dangerous. Those are the ones where your client might be too relaxed and become chatty, not thinking about their key messages and the best way to deliver them.
I saw a case of this happen recently with a state legislator when chatting with a print reporter who was recording the entire exchange. The printed news reports that came out were fine, but the legislator wasn’t crazy about the way the broadcast sounded. But, wait, didn’t I just tell you this legislator was talking to a print reporter? That’s true, but the reporter also produces a weekly podcast, posting their interviews online.
The trouble with the interview wasn’t so much the content, but the way it was delivered. The legislator might have thought a little more carefully about how they were saying things, perhaps sounding a little more serious and a little less conversational. But, as the legislator later admitted, they never considered that the recording might show up anywhere for anyone to hear because they were talking to a print reporter whom they assumed was just using the recorder for note taking. But print reporters have become broadcasters and everyday citizens have become news gatherers and disseminators. The technology exists to catch you off-guard, even when you think you’re on your game.
So the next time you’re training a client, don’t forget to include the most basic concepts when you cover “the basics.” And never forget these yourself. I’ve always been a fan of the saying, “Common sense isn’t.” When it comes to media relations, it appears that saying is true, whether you’re a state legislator, the President of the United States, or my next client.
Ari B. Adler is the Press Secretary for the Michigan Speaker of the House. Prior to joining the Speaker’s Office, he helped oversee media relations and social media for Delta Dental of Michigan, Ohio and Indiana as well as the Delta Dental Foundation. He is an adjunct instructor at Michigan State University and does consulting on media relations and social media. You can follow him on Twitter at @aribadler and read his blog at Here Comes Later.
Note: Photo is courtesy of InterNews Network via FlickR Creative Commons.