With the continued layoffs among many big names in traditional media, landing a mention or feature article has become an increasingly difficult task for PR pros. Faced with the reality of a shrinking media landscape PR pros must find new ways to create awareness for brands and products.
A great place to start is by pitching guest blogs to key influencers. Guest blogging is a great way to build thought leadership and create brand awareness. And, the article placement process is similar to traditional media relations.
Relevance recently hosted a webinar called How to Build Your Thought Leadership with Bylined Articles that provided a lot of great foundational advice to help you get started. This article offers a SparkNotes-like overview with a few additional insights I’ve picked up along the way.
1. Find The Right Outlet. Before you pick a topic and create an outline, you need to consider your organizational goals and search for an outlet or influencer that aligns with those goals.
Who are you trying to reach?
What are their pain points?
Where do they go for insight and advice?
Consider quality over quantity. One blog may have 100,000 unique monthly visitors, but if your company specializes in commercial real estate and the blog focuses on residential then you’re not targeting potential customers.
2. Pick A Topic. When considering topics, keep the outlet’s style in mind to make sure it fits. If the topic you want to write about is overdone then think about ways to offer a unique or controversial perspective. Challenging traditional thinking is a great way to ignite debate and raise visibility.
3. Create And Pitch Your Outline. Always create an outline and pitch it to targeted blogs before you write an article. This will save you time, because the focus of your intended topic may change based on feedback from the editor.
Draft an outline that provides a high-level summary of your idea and make sure it remains vendor nuetral. The idea is not to sell, but rather to build trust by providing insight.
Once you have an outline, cut it down even further into a succinct email pitch. If an outlet or influencer responds with interest then you can send them the full version.
4. Write The Article. Once you have a green light, you’re ready to write the article. Make sure you create additional value for your brand by including relevant links to other content. Just make sure you’re not linking for links sake, everything you include should help the reader.
5. Promote Your Work. Whether you’re securing earned media or guest posts, it’s important to amplify your reach.
Post on social media.
Tweet with relevant hashtags.
Share with appropriate communities on LinkedIn or Reddit.
Write a summary on your blog and link to the original article.
Post it on Medium.
And so on.
6. Evaluate Performance. Measurement is always one of the most important last steps in any campaign. Rate the effectiveness of your guest post by measuring:
Referral traffic to linked pages.
And backlinks (links to the article or your site on other blogs and webpages.).
Guest blogging is a great way for PR pros to build thought leadership and regain control over brand awareness.
Anthony Hardman (@ahardman) is a senior consultant at PR 20/20 He joined the agency in December 2014, with eight years of experience in broadcast news and public relations. He has previously led PR strategy for national rehabilitative sports programs, an information security company and an integrated ad agency.
Photo: Businessman hands via Shutterstock