In my time as an online entrepreneur I’ve got a lot of online press mentions and have been featured on top media sites like Forbes, The Huffington Post, Business Insider, Yahoo Finance and many more.
A few weeks ago I was having a meeting with a new client. We were working together to create educational personal finance content on their site and they were now looking for ways to get more media attention.
“We’ve tried four different PR agencies and we’ve gotten nothing,” my client said. Meanwhile I’d gotten major features on top authority sites without ever paying a dime to a PR agency.
This isn’t entirely unusual. Last year I was at a conference and I was asked to speak on a panel about how to get more press for blogs. I was sitting next to a writer for MSN who said, “I’m tired of getting pitches from your PR people. I want to hear from you directly.”
Tips to get free online press
Some things have changed when it comes to PR—especially online press. Additionally, depending on your budget you may not have the money to spend on PR agencies only to get lackluster results. The good news is you can begin to do a lot of your own online PR with success. Many of my colleagues have also gotten major features on their own, without shelling out thousands of dollars for a rep. Here are the traits we all have in common.
1. Have a compelling story
Media likes people. More specifically, they like people with compelling stories. For instance, my story of being a millennial who couldn’t find a job, moved back home and ended up starting a business where I teach people about personal finance and business is a good story. It’s good for quite a few reasons:
- It’s relatable.
- The media is always talking about millennials and our money/work habits.
- I was met with a challenge and triumphed over it.
- I do not fit the stereotypical mold of what the media thinks a millennial is or how one behaves.
While my story of challenge is not unique, apparently my story of triumph was. At a time when everyone calls millennials entitled and lazy, I was proving them wrong.
2. Have an angle
My first big media mention came as a result of publishing my opinion online. At the time the media was going crazy about how millennials had to move back in with our parents and how detrimental that would be to our financial lives. I wrote an opinion piece on my own blog defending the financial decisions of my generation. It got picked up by The Consumerist and landed me two segments on Huffington Post Live.
At the time I didn’t know what I had done. Now I understand that because I had a unique view on a popular media narrative that it would naturally get picked up and start some controversy.
You have to be careful with this method because it can backfire. Unfortunately, many people know they can get attention just by stirring up trouble and try to use that to get online press. That’s sleazy and people can smell it from a mile away.
Instead, you have to actually mean what you say. I didn’t write that opinion in an effort to stir up drama. I fervently believed and defended everything I wrote. It was my authentic opinion that got attention, not a PR stunt.
3. Befriend writers
If you want to increase your chances of getting online press and media mentions, you may want to consider befriending some writers. I am very heavily involved in a community of financial bloggers and whenever they need a quote within my area of expertise they do not hesitate to send me a message.
You’ll also want to consider attending events where the media channels for your industry hang out. For example, I go to a conference every year for financial media. I get to meet editors and often times I get interviewed for podcasts or shows while I’m at the event. I’ve already got three video interviews on the books for this year’s event.
4. Have a healthy mix of different kinds of media
People think the only media that counts is Forbes or The Huffington Post. The reality is there are several other forms of media that can be beneficial, like podcasts and other blogs.
For example, my media frenzy started by getting mentioned on other financial blogs. I’ve also been on several podcasts that then lead to other media opportunities.
If you’re just starting out you may need to start small. Check out other blogs in your niche or industry and write some guest posts. From there you begin putting your name out there for the media to stumble upon.
This method works because you never know who is watching. A writer could be looking for a quote and stumble upon your name on another blog. When I was interviewed for Seventeen Magazine the writer told me she’d heard about me from the editor at O Magazine. I was flabbergasted and said, “O? As in Oprah?!?!”
The reality is that getting online press isn’t that difficult. If you follow the steps above you will definitely increase your chances of getting more media mentions and skyrocketing your business.