Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Guest Post: 4 Secrets to Getting Press for Your Blog

This guest post is from Erin of CouponCravings.com. I think you're gonna love it!

I’ve been blogging at Coupon Cravings for more than five months now and have been fortunate to have been highlighted in NPR, WashingtonPost.com, USA Today and in local TV segments. It helps that I have a media relations background, but you don’t need to be a PR expert to get attention for your blog.

Like many of you, I started my blog with the goal of gaining a dedicated following and even making some money. I’ve been growing my blog everyday and reaching out to media, and my efforts are now starting to pay off. Read on to learn four secrets to getting your blog out in the public eye too.

1) Content is King, So Update Often. Lyn Mettler of Mettler PR recently dialed into a conference call on pitching the media and she came away with two key learnings. One, journalists use Google to research stories and two, media go to blogs for story ideas.

You won’t get the attention of these story-researching press unless you have good content. And you won’t get the attention of Google unless you post regularly. On weekdays I post at least 3-4 times a day to keep my site high up in Google search results. So, write compelling posts and post often. Enough said.

2) Journalists Really Are Looking for You. A great resource for finding out about articles and TV segments in the works is called Help a Reporter, or HARO for short. When you sign up for HARO you’ll get thrice-daily emails with oodles of queries from media seeking sources like you for stories on everything from wedding planning to saving money during the holidays.

If you spot a relevant query, send the journalist an email with what they need. If they want tips, send tips. If they want an expert source, send your qualifications. Through HARO I was featured in an NPR segment on clipping coupons and was also interviewed for a Washington Post article on coupon usage.

If a reporter reaches out to you directly, get back in touch right away. If you’re not interested, let the reporter know and ask that he keep you in mind for future stories related to your niche.

3) Media Need Ideas Every Single Day. I’ve pitched story ideas to my local CBS and FOX affiliates after checking their sites to see if they had regular segments where I might fit. My niche is saving money and WUSA-TV (CBS) has a daily “Living $mart” segment that was perfect.

So I called the news room to get the name and email of the producer in charge and pitched her a story on how to get free groceries using coupons and included four ways to do so. She liked the idea and we shot the segment a short time later. You can watch the piece that aired here.

I’ve also reached out to local newspapers in my area in a similar way. I went to their web sites for names and contact details of those who cover money-saving news. For small papers, I sent emails to the primary editors at each one to introduce myself and to offer story ideas.

4) Stay Top-of-Mind for Press Success.
One way to generate attention for your blog is to write short press releases or tip sheets and distribute them to press. You can use a free press release distribution service to put them out on the web. Check out Mashable for a list of 20+ Free Press Distribution Sites.

In addition to a press release distribution service, email the press release or tips to local media contacts. Here’s a press release I wrote on the 10 Smartest Ways to Save Money Using Grocery Coupons. I wrote this for Shortcuts.com, but I could have just as easily written it for my own blog.

Writing a short press release or tip sheet every month or so keeps you in front of media and gives you a reason to get back in touch. It doesn’t need to be formal, but do shoot off a regular email to contacts with tips and ideas relevant to your niche. The point is that you want to stay top-of-mind with media so that they will think of you when they do a story focused on your expertise.

Erin Gifford is a working mom of three little girls who started CouponCravings.com in May to share grocery deals and freebies with others who want to save money. She can also be found on Twitter at www.twitter.com/CouponCravings.

photo by Yan Arief via Flickr

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