This guest post is written by Mickie Kennedy, founder of eReleases, an online leader in affordable press release distribution. Grab a free copy of the Big Press Release Book – Press Releases for Every Occasion and Industry.
Bloggers have been hailed as â€œcitizen journalistsâ€ and powerful influencers for years. But bloggers have another, less frequently discussed role – theyâ€™re also citizen PR experts. Bloggers who intend to stand out need to manage their brand, interface with readers, snag media exposure wherever possible, and craft compelling messaging.
If youâ€™re interested in taking your blog to the next level, consider these lessons from the public relations world.
1. Network, Network, Network
Networking is a big deal in the PR world. Clients who pay through the nose to work with a big PR firm are paying as much for the firmâ€™s contacts as for its employeesâ€™ technical skill.
As a blogger, youâ€™re probably practicing DIY PR, which makes networking even more critical. You might not be able to afford ad space for your blog, but you can definitely afford to call a friend, write a thank-you note, ask a pal about guest posting, or attend a social event. Take time to maintain existing relationships and build new ones.
2. Plan Ahead – Way Ahead
Most bloggers respond to current events as they happen. PR pros also have to respond to news events rapidly, but they also take time to plan for whatâ€™s coming next. A Christmas pitch might well be perfected by July, leaving plenty of time to work on placing a clientâ€™s product in gift guides and other holiday-related editorials.
Top bloggers plan ahead without sacrificing the spontaneity that makes blogging unique. If thereâ€™s a big event coming up in your niche in the next few months, you should already know what angle your coverage will take and how youâ€™ll publicize your posts. You should also be reaching out to other bloggers who plan to cover the same story.
If you want to interview anyone who is speaking/competing/doing something else important at the big event, get in touch with them (or their PR people) well ahead of time. Tie this in to your blog marketing plan to keep yourself on track and focused on goals.
3. The Art of the Press Release
As founder and president of eReleases, Iâ€™ve seen press releases on just about every subject imaginable. Thereâ€™s no PR tactic more iconic or more broadly applicable than the press release. If there are a handful of people interested in a subject, thereâ€™s a reporter somewhere covering it who can be reached with a press release.
A great press release can help you promote your blog. If youâ€™ve also got truly great content and a perspective found nowhere else, media coverage might help you turn a moderately successful blog into one that pays your bills and more.
Take the time to craft your blogâ€™s press release carefully and distribute it effectively. Donâ€™t issue a press release just because your blog exists; wait until you have something newsworthy to say. Do something innovative and exciting through your blog. Then craft a press release around that news.
4. The Talk Show Circuit
When celebrities have something to promote or want to respond to criticism, they suddenly pop up on every talk show in town. Youâ€™ll also see them in weekly magazines and hear them on morning radio shows.
You can use the same classic PR tactic to draw attention to your blog. Use HARO to locate reporters seeking sources in your niche.
Consider reaching out to local radio shows and offering yourself as a guest, especially if youâ€™re a genuine expert who blogs about a subject which the showâ€™s hosts frequently discuss. If youâ€™re friendly with a group of bloggers whose blogs are similar to your own, you could turn the tables and ask to interview them on your blog.
Interview series usually go over very well, especially if you can get them on video and promote them on YouTube.
Youâ€™ll create interesting content and your interviewees will help to promote the posts featuring them.
5. Get an Angle on the News
PR pros love using current events to their clientsâ€™ advantage. When Al Gore and his wife, Tipper, separated recently, newswires were deluged with releases relating to divorce. Would you be as interested in a scientific study about how divorce spreads through social networks if the story werenâ€™t tied in to news about the Goresâ€™ separation and that of their daughter?
Great bloggers might be even better than PR pros at using news to promote their expertise. Even the slickest PR firm has to give journalists a little lead time. As a blogger, you can publish a story immediately, just as interest in related news is peaking. Donâ€™t just comment on every news story that makes waves. Make sure you have unique expertise that allows you to add something to the story.
Your Thoughts on PR and Blogging
Do you implement any of the above PR strategies or others for your blog? Do you utilize press releases for things such as changes on your site, contests, and other blogging news? Please let me know in the comments below how these techniques have benefited your blog.