You’ve been told by marketers (and Google) that cranking out blogs can be the way to drive traffic to your site. True.
But did you know blogs are great content for pitching the media? As a PR professional, blogs can be your ultimate resource for sharable, newsworthy pieces that will get your company press and stand out in the industry.
First off, let’s be clear. Blogs are not a collection of press releases. They are your company’s unique and relevant content based on your company’s expertise. It’s the place where you show thought leadership, and offer how-tos and problem solving directly related to your industry.
What that means to the press
Blog posts are sources for potential producers, editors and reporters searching the Internet for quality content and stories to meet their next deadline. To give you two very different examples, one of our clients is an attorney in the railroad industry who represents injured workers. He spends most of his blogging year answering their pains and problems related to on-the-job injuries and suits against their companies. After this year’s Amtrak disaster the national media turned to him as a source for caps on victim payouts.
Another of our clients is in the natural stone industry and uses its blog to answer the technical questions of fabricators and give inspiration to designers. When a well-known design magazine was looking for a feature on innovative building materials, it turned to our client for technical advice and a product feature.
In the first case the media sought out our attorney client because he ranked high on the web for the keyword phrases railroad injuries and railroad injury lawyer. In the second case, I used content from our client’s blogs and ebooks to pitch the magazine via an email.
We got to thinking about the relationship between blogging and PR again this week when our own Stephanie Eichmeyer listened in on a Cision webinar with Gini Dietrich of Spin Sucks who had a host of tips on how PR reps can leverage their blog. Here are the most relevant tips she pulled on how to use your blog to attract the media. (Our thoughts in italics.)
Be deliberate with your editorial calendar
Don’t create content without the end result in mind. Have a strategy and build themes and content around holidays, pop culture, trends, etc. Ask yourself, How do we have that conversation with not only media, but the audience that is most affected by the theme?, and push that out to get excitement out there. At the same time assume of-the-moment topics will pop up. Having some evergreen content built into your calendar will help you swap out blogs as needed.
Know your audience’s keywords
Don’t just leave it to your SEO professionals doing things on the back end. You need to write from a content perspective to drive traffic and interest. What kinds of content do you need to create to ensure that you rank well when people search your main keyword? Be strategic and sophisticated. To do this we use tools like Yoast and HubSpot to tell us which words are key to searchers we’re going after but also are not so competitive that they’re not worth going after. Like Christmas. You’re not ranking for that one. But Christmas gifts for pets with three legs, you may have a chance there.
Think of your larger campaign focus
First identify your priority keywords and phrases around what people are searching for as well as around your strategic plan. (We discussed this in more detail last week here). From there, build a series of pieces targeted to those keywords. A few different posts on the same topic will give your more priority in search rank, and create more opportunities for reporters and producers to use you as a source.
Repurpose your content
Stop creating everything from scratch, reuse it. I think deep down we think this is cheating. It is NOT cheating. It’s a smart use of your time. Compile shorter blog posts into something larger. Compile blogs into an ebook. Take a speech and create a visual story around it and put it on Slideshare. Go back through your posts and do a content audit of the last year to see what you can repurpose. Example, we wrote this blog after giving an hour of free advice to a new business owner. Using it as a blog post gives us a chance to help other new small business owners while not using up our time or doing free work.
If your company has a blog, use it as a tool to help you do better PR. The result will be twofold: Your company leadership will 1) see you as an asset rather than an expense and 2) be encouraged to invest more in blogging, which will in turn make your job easier.