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 How to Get Free Press Coverage

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There are two types of marketers ‐ the ones who believe that press coverage does miracles and the ones who believe it doesn't work at all. If you have never experienced the benefits of coverage by main media, you might fall into the second group but if you have, you know how beneficial to your business press coverage can be. So, how do you make yourself interesting to the media? Here are some tips to follow to get free press coverage:

1 Know Where to Stop

Before we get into the ways of getting free press coverage, a word of warning: yes, there is too much exposure and it can hurt. This is why, before you learn how to attract media attention, you need to learn that measure is key. If you are constantly in the news without being newsworthy, this will harm you because people won't be interested in you even when there is real news about you. So, don't imitate Z-list celebrities that get coverage on a daily basis because soon you might end into the Most Hated list instead.

2 Do Your Homework

It might sound obvious that in order to be covered by media, you need to be something. There are so many companies and individuals out there that if you aren't standing out in some way, you are not newsworthy. This is why you need to position yourself properly in your niche ‐ think what is special about you and what makes your company unique. Also, come with a clear message ‐ a short and to the point one. For instance, if you create affordable sites, your message could be, ´┐ŻAffordable sites ARE professional´┐Ż or something similar that stresses you are not expensive but this isn't because of poor quality.

3 Start the Hunt for Media and Reporters

After you know where you stand and what your message is, the next step is to start the hunt for media and reporters. If there is some really important news around you, reporters will find you but since this is highly unlikely to happen to the average company, you need to be pro-active. For a start, think of which media you want to conquer (local, national, newspapers, magazines, TV shows, etc.) and establish contacts with their reporters who are responsible for news in your niche.

4 Get in Touch with Reporters

Very often reporters aren't that difficult to get in touch with. However, it pays to get familiar with their work and style first and then contact them. You can watch/read their previous work to get an idea about their style because it might turn out their style isn't what you are looking for. As for the ways to contact a reporter, very often publications list their reporters' contacts, or they are available in the article/video. If this doesn't help, you may want to search for the reporters of interest to you on social networks and contact them there.

5 Always Celebrate Major Company Events with a Press Release

Reporters aren't lazy but they certainly appreciate when news lands in their inbox. This is why, when you have a major news to report, don't be shy but write a press release about it and send it to the media on your list. You could even invite reporters to your premises for an interview. However, be careful that you correctly identify what a major company event is ‐ a new product release, a new office opened, etc. Don't spam with press releases about insignificant events because this could easily make you a persona non grata with the media.

6 Comment on Breaking News in Your Area

After you have established a contact with reporters in your niche, when a major event happens, consider sending them an email or calling them with your point of view about the breaking news. If you are a real pro, reporters will be happy to quote you as an expert on the subject.

This way you are maintaining your contacts with the media and you are also maintaining your public image as an expert. Alternatively, when a major event happens, you can also comment on blogs in your niche - this also helps to build your reputation as an expert.

One practical hindrance could be the lack of news or more precisely the fact that you learn about the news long after it isn't news anymore. If you don't have the time to monitor news in your niche, consider using the free Google Alerts service. Set alerts with your keywords and Google will mail you every time a piece of news matches your criteria.

7 Invest in Your Relationships with Reporters

Reporter relations are one of the major assets for any PR practitioner. What is more, today's reporters are tomorrow's Editors in Chief and it pays to be on good terms with them. For instance, it always helps when you are being interviewed to provide useful materials to the reporter he or she can use later because this way you are making his or her work easier. You can also send follow ups ‐ this also helps to maintain healthy relationships with the press.

8 Make Your Social Media Profiles Outstanding and Easy to Find

If you are really newsworthy, reporters will be finding you, not vice versa. In order to make yourself easy to find, you need to create public profiles on social networks, such as Facebook, Twitter, G+, LinkedIn, etc. and allow people outside your network to contact you.

9 Regularly Release Useful Information for Free

You might not be a news source but you can be the source of tons of useful information the media will gladly quote. Some suggestions are to release poll results, reports, market research, case studies, tutorials, videos, and any other material you deem useful and send it to the media for free. Not every media will quote you but even if one in ten do, this is a great way to get some free press coverage.

10 Create a Gallery of Publications about You

A gallery of publications about you, preferably in reputable newspapers/magazines in your industry, is a great bait to show to reporters who are still not certain you are newsworthy. You can create such a section on your site and point reporters to it. However, always ask for permission from the media to list their publications about you. Alternatively, you can include only links to such publications but from time to time don't forget to check if the links are still working.

11 Promote the Articles/Videos about You

Getting into the news is awesome but if you want to amplify the effect, you need to promote the publications about you. Always promote the articles/videos about you among your partners and followers! If you manage to drive lots of traffic to them, the reporters will be happy and will consider you a popular topic to report about again.

12 Measure Your Success

Last but not least, your free press coverage includes metrics. You need to know how all this coverage affected you and your business. Did you get more traffic, new leads, new partners, etc. as a result of the free press coverage or not? Which channels proved most efficient? These are all questions you need to find the answers to because even though free press coverage is great, it might turn out you are doing it out of sheer vanity and the positive results on your business are not worth the time and effort.

Free press coverage can be a huge help to you. The tips in this article are just the tip of the iceberg and there is much more to learn, if you want to be a media star. However, for a start even these simple tips will help you to get the most out of free media coverage.

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