Written by Dan Anderson
“Without promotion, something terrible happens…nothing!” –P.T. Barnum
How do you promote your blog? If Facebook ads are your only idea of promotion, it is time to consider a few public relations basics to generate publicity for your work. It takes time and determination to be your own publicist, but there is a world of opportunity just waiting to be discovered.
Television stations, newspapers and magazines frequently include quotes from people who are knowledgeable about a specific topic. Think about the topics that you are passionate about and write about most often and then look for media outlets that cover the same topics. For example, local news stations frequently include short cooking demonstrations. If you often write about cooking, pitch a seasonal recipe to a producer of the show. Including a link to a YouTube video is a great way to show your on-camera personality and your ability to keep things brief enough for a short news segment.
If you frequently write about local events, get in touch with the journalists at your local paper. You can often find email addresses on the newspaper’s website or simply reach out over Twitter. Journalists are often looking for people to quote in their articles. If you are knowledgeable about local family activities, it is highly likely that the journalist will reach out when they are writing about a new show or event in your community. Better yet, pitch a story to the editor. A simple roundup of the top local activities for Mother’s Day would be a timely hook for a contributed article and a way to introduce yourself to new readers.
If you just want opportunities to be quoted in articles, Help a Reporter Out (HARO) is a simple way to get connected with journalists. The daily newsletter lists topics and stories where a reporter is looking for someone with expertise. You will be surprised at some of the topics where your personal experience could be a fit. Every time that you and your blog name appears in print, it is an opportunity to connect with new readers and further establishes you as an expert on a particular topic.
If you ever watch a press event for a new product launch, you will frequently see customers used during the press event as proof that people love the new product. In a similar way, you can make yourself available as a reference when the companies you love have a new product. Is your local zoo planning to open a new tiger exhibit? Reach out to the zoo’s publicist ahead of time and let them know that your family loves to visit and that you would be willing to be quoted. Journalists writing about the new exhibit will be looking for families to quote and your relationship with the zoo’s publicist could open a few doors. This same concept could be applied to new movie releases, restaurant openings, or other local events. Get connected with the publicists with the companies you admire. It is an opportunity to boost your exposure and eventually gain more awareness for your site and expertise on the topic.
When looking for opportunities to be your own publicist, think about the story you want to tell and make it timely. Pitching a segment on Cinco de Mayo recipes will gain more interest with your local news station than if you simply pitched “quick and easy dinner ideas.” If you write about health and fitness, reach out to your local media around the end of the year when New Year resolutions are on everyone’s minds. If you focus on crafts, holidays are a great time to showcase some of your Pinterest favorites.
Public relations work can generate awareness and drive traffic to your blog if you are willing to put in the effort. Instead of a financial cost, generating publicity often costs time and energy. You will need to contact multiple reporters before connecting with one who wants to quote you in a story. You will need to pitch a cooking segment several times before you are given a chance. But if you are willing to apply some elbow grease, you can make something magical happen.
About the Author: Dan Anderson is a proud father and self-proclaimed king of dad jokes. Dan began writing Dad Logic in 2009 as a way to share his family’s adventures and to connect with other parents. In his day job, Dan is a marketing manager in the software industry. Watch for his upcoming book, “101 Ways to Win a Coin Toss.” You can find him on Twitter at @dadlogic.