While you can't necessarily build a sustainable marketing strategy on PR alone, media attention can go a long ways in substantiating your business and personal brand.
At the end of the day, it all comes down to customers and sales. And, most entrepreneurs think that if they could only get covered by TechCrunch, or The New York Times, money will fall from the sky.
However, most astute marketers will tell you that, more often than not, getting an article in a notable publication, really doesn't do that much for your signups (or sales). It will generally give you a momentary spike in traffic, a bit of sales and a ton of inbound interest from sales reps. Then it dies.
That's not to say that it's wasted effort though.
The real benefit is recognition, relevancy and momentum. But, that last benefit is on you to achieve.
Have you ever noticed that it's always the same people and companies that are constantly being covered? Have you wondered why that is?
These entrepreneurs and companies know that in order to really benefit from media attention, you need to be willing to a giver and not just a taker. And, just like anything worthwhile, that takes effort.
Here are some of the "secret" tactics these people use to stay in the public eye:
They have an opinion and aren't afraid to share it
They are subject-matter experts and generally have something to say when there is anything happening related to their field.
Back in my ad agency days, I was highly critical of the putrid ads that real estate agents seemed to be so fond of. I was so critical in fact, that I created a blog that, in a very tongue-in-cheek fashion, celebrated their lack of creativity.
As a result, I become the default real estate advertising correspondent for Ad Age.
If you want to be the go-to-expert, take a stance and start talking about it.
They make themselves known and available
In addition to responding to the needs of journalists on places like HARO, top marketers proactively make sure that they're top of mind when a writer needs an opinion on their industry.
When something newsworthy is happening, experts will often send out a quick note letting their publishing contacts know of their availability for comment or opinion.
Peter Shankman, founder of HARO, famously makes himself available when others are not (especially on Holidays). As a result, he's often called upon last minute to appear on National news shows as a source that reporters can count on.
They share tips and resources
Getting press isn't always about pitching yourself. Helping journalists find sources or news-worthy nuggets goes a long way in building press for yourself indirectly.
Mental health amongst startup founders has become a topic de jour over the past year. As the founder of a site (StartupsAnonymous.com) where founders talk openly about their mental health struggles, I tend to get a lot of inquires from the press.
Often times, I can't personally speak to some of the struggles, but I'm always more than willing to connect the journalist with someone that can. That might mean that I won't be included in their piece, but you can certainly bet that I'll be called on again. And, that's the name of the game.
Which leads to the next point ...
They build relationships
When fundraising, they say that the best time to raise money is when you don't need it. Same can be said for press.
Companies and people that are featured often, tend to have established relationships with the people that are writing about them. Maybe that relationship was formed through general networking or just random outreach. The point being, their first interaction wasn't to ask them to write about their company.
Marketers build relationships with journalists over time. It might start by complimenting an article they've written, or even by simply commenting on their posts.
They strengthen those relationships with loyalty. They give journalists exclusives or first-rights. They give them story ideas and tips to relevant media.
Start by finding the journalists you'd eventually like to work with and begin interacting.
They leverage their exposure
It's no secret that appearing in a high-profile publication can have a meaningful impact on your credibility. It's why you'll see companies use extremely valuable homepage inventory to display the media outlets they've appeared in.
Those that are often covered understand the importance of leveraging past coverage to get future coverage. Much like customers use media mentions to evaluate buying decisions, journalists use previous mentions to de-risk coverage. Journalists don't want to be the only sucker in the room.
Marketers use past media to their advantage by not only establishing credibility with other journalists, but also using them against each other to create urgency when they want something covered.
Like I mentioned previously, the steps above take time and effort. However, if you're willing to put in the work, it can payoff in spades.
As I've written about previously, press attention has helped me tremendously in my career, including to help raise $750k.
As I now begin my path as the Head of Marketing with Promoter.io, the years of building credibility and relationship building with media will help bring attention to a new company in need of some exposure.