Top 5 Steps For Bloggers To Get Written About In Newspapers And Magazines
When traditional media like newspapers, magazines, TV, and online portals write about or mention a particular blog or a blogger positively in their stories, it is a huge profile-booster for the blogger. Moreover, the blog can enjoy increased jumps in traffic overnight from the readers or viewers of these media channels.
For bloggers who are engaged in blogging as a profession or are aiming to build on a high profile through blogging, getting covered in the traditional media can be the next big achievement after making a presence in the blogosphere and among the bloggers community.
However all these are easier said than done. Generating publicity for individuals is a huge mandate and often requires services of professional PR agencies. Today across the globe, PR professionals are sweating it out round the clock for their clients including writers, critics, speakers, God-men, businessmen, fashion designers, players, sports persons, etc.
It's difficult but not impossible to achieve. With an understanding of how the media work, bloggers can do their own PR and chart out a plan for their own media-image building exercise.
Here are the top 5 steps that bloggers need to take. Although, these steps could have been taken sequentially in the order provided, there are no watertight compartments between them. It is about your personal creativity and networking and finding right opportunities adapted to your needs and environment.
1. Do the homework
The first step in starting a good-self PR campaign is to ask yourself a few questions and try to answer them honestly – what is it that you seek from this media publicity? How do you want to position yourself in the media eg as an expert in the subject you blog on? What could be the interesting things you want to say to the media? Would these things that you are going to say benefit the readers and viewers of the media channels?
Having gone through this exercise, it will be a good idea to research the media well and the people who write on them ie the journalists. What is the newspaper that you get in the morning at your house? Is that the newspaper you want to be featured in? Are there any specific places for blogs in that newspaper – a blog review, a reprint from a blog post, a mention of a blog, etc.?
Open an MS excel file on your PC and make a list of the newspapers and magazines that you want to target. In the next column against each media, add any specific page, location, name of a column, etc. where there are possibilities of stories on blogs or related items can appear.
Are you a blogger on a specific topic? Say, on finances or travel. Add a third column where you will mention all the page number, name of the page, column, etc. that features stories on that particular subject.
Having done this, we can come to finding out about the journalists. Add a fourth column where in you mention the names of the journalists writing those stories. The names of journalist are usually written below the headline or at the end of the story. Add a fifth column and typed in the contact details of the journalists. Nowadays the email addresses of journalists are usually written below their names alongside their stories. If you do not get them there, try calling up the reception of the publication. Just say you wanted to send some information over.
Remember that in any big media organization, journalists are divided on beats or subjects. In this case, we are particularly interested in journalist in two types of beats – those who are covering blogs, blogging, web 2.0, or related, and those who are covering that particular subject in which you are blogging on – in our case, say finance or travel. Try to get the names and contact details of this later set of journalists and add two more columns to your excel file.
This is your media list that you can use to do things systematically like a PR professional in your endeavor. Remember the more detailed your media list is, the better you will be prepared. You can add in further columns about your understanding of the style of writings of these journalists, the columns, etc.
2. Make the contact
Now that you are ready with the media list, let's get down to the real business- make the contacts. You can do this in three ways:
a. Comment on their stories – Every writer loves comments on their writings. Likewise, every journalist will try to see if somebody has left a worthy comment in their stories. You can send a comment by writing a nice mail to the journalist, or on the comment box if the story is in a portal providing such an option. The idea is to get you noticed. Remember to introduce yourself well in not more than two or three sentence and do leave your blog url.
b. Send them a good blog post – For example if you have written some thought provoking blog post on an industry, say again finance or travel, then send a link to the journalist covering that beat. Make the mail short, and do not expect any replies. If you get one, thank the journalist and leave it at that. The idea is again to get you noticed.
c. Pitch – This is what professional PR agencies do for their clients. Here you can do it for yourself. We will start with basic pitches. Send your blog details to journalists who review blogs – remember the second column of your media list.
There is a more advanced of this media pitch wherein you write to the journalist regarding some interesting development or thought process and ask journalists if they will be interested to do a story on that. However, this can be done at a later stage when you are a known name in the market or the blogosphere. But if you have some great story idea, there is no harm in trying. One point of caution is that newspaper and magazine journalist may not do an exclusive story entirely devoted to one single blog or a blogger. The cases may be different for the top blogs but for others, the chances are rare. The way to crack this is to get featured as a mention or get your quote included in general stories that they are doing.
3. Build up the relationships
It is always good to have good relationship with journalists. The reason is that this helps you to remain in the minds of the journalists. So when they are running a story on a blog or a particular subject and are looking out for quotes and inputs, they will remember to call you. Your inputs can become part of their stories.
How does one build relationships? By being a resource for them. Remember you are someone who is part of the blogosphere and they might not be. So during conversations, if they require your expert advice, being generous might be seen as nice gestures and remembered. It's better not to expect stories from journalists every time you give them some inputs. Conversations sometimes should be shared just like you do with friends.
Nowadays a number of companies are considering inviting bloggers to their events and you might soon be getting lots of invites. If you are a serious blogger on a particular topic and are attending such social events, press conferences, product launches, etc., do catch up and network with journalists as well there at the event venue. Many journalists share notes among them and you sharing some notes may land you in the good books of someone.
4. Seek editorial reprint opportunities
Trade magazines and trade portals ie magazines and portals on a particular industry or topic are in many occasions open to feature bloggers as columnists. Are there publications that feature columns by bloggers? If there are, you can send a mail introducing yourself and your blog. Sometimes there are magazines that might just get interested in a post that you have written and want to use portions of it.
There are also websites like Blogburst that sells the blog posts of its registered bloggers to a set of media publications. You can look out for more such services.
5. Be an industry critic and be media savvy
Whenever the media is running an industry story, they will always be interested in obtaining quotes and views from industry experts and critics. If you are writing on a particular topic, remember you can also speak not only on blogging but also on the industry. If you build up your personal profile as a good industry critic and your writings are thought provoking, the media will come to get your topics on topical subjects in your chosen subject.
When you are attending industry events, giving speeches, presentations, the media may always be present in a section of the audience and they might want to have a chit chat with you. These are platforms where you can be seen and gauged by the media. Such opportunities can be leveraged well.
To end this post, remember there are media-savvy CEOs and media-shy CEOs. It is always the media-savvy CEOs who get more featured in the media. It is because they are available to the journalists on a quick notice, they do not take long time to send back replies, they are warm and friendly and are open in discussions . Such people are the ones journalists who do not hesitate to call up whenever they need a quote.