A 5-Step Checklist to Maximize Press Coverage for Your Business

You're doing PR all wrong. The good news: It isn't hard to start doing it right, and it might even cost less than you think.

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By Ryan Erskine

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Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

In 2012, Mashable published an article titled, "Who Googled You? This Website Knows." The pieced trended on Mashable's front page for two full days and famously brought the team at BrandYourself 60,000 signups in 60 hours.

As you might imagine, a trending article is worth its weight in gold. Once the story was "hot," other major publications -- Huffington Post, Yahoo Finance and Tech Crunch, among them -- began picking up the story and linking back to the original piece.

Related: 6 Ways to Go Mainstream and Develop Your Brand

New users began signing up to use our product, sharing their experiences on social media and their personal blogs. This compounded the effect even further. Thousands upon thousands of people recommended the service and bragged about their Search Score.

One of BrandYourself's key takeaways from all this exposure underscored the importance of getting traction in the first few days. The more engagement with an article or other piece of content early on, the better. And when it comes to maximizing press, time is of the essence. An article's lifespan is short -- roughly 48 to 72 hours before it goes big or gets buried.

With that in mind, we're constantly looking for ways to get the most buzz for an article in the shortest period of time. We've learned since then that there are a few crucial steps to amplify reach through the press, get information in front of the right people and give a message its best chance of trending on social media and top-tier publications.

1. Share on social media.

As soon as press hits, it's time to open the social media floodgates. Now is not the time for modesty.

Share your article across social media channels throughout the day and week. Try several variations on the copy, hashtag and image so you can capitalize on different audiences and keep the message fresh. After all, nobody likes to see the same update 10 times in a row. Pin that tweet to the top of your Twitter feed. Tag the author, the publication and other companies or individuals mentioned in the article so they can re-share with their audiences, too.

In short, do everything in your power to get that piece in front of as many people as possible in the initial two- to three-day span.

Related: 10 Laws of Social Media Marketing

2. Implement digital ads.

Hitting new press with those early engagement levels can trigger an article to trend on social media or on the publication itself. Even individually, these outcomes exponentially increase your reach and the piece's chance to rank well in Google search results. Paid campaigns are one of the best ways accomplish all those objectives.

Digital ads allow you to reach a much larger audience than otherwise would be possible. More important, the demographic choices available on today's ad platforms enable you to reach the right audience.

Social networks are perfect for finding your ideal viewer. So are content suggestion platforms such as Outbrain, Stumbleupon and Taboola. No matter the platform, the key is making your audience want to click and share. Think about their wants and desires. What's in it for them?

  • Bad: Mashable just wrote a great article about our product's latest feature -- check it out.
  • Good: Ever wonder who's Googling you? Find out with our free product.

Related: Can You 'Feel' It? How to Use Emotional Decision-Making in Marketing

3. Tap your email network.

Email remains the No. 1 most effective platform to reach people online. That's right: It ranks ahead of Facebook. If you're not using email tactics to broaden the reach of your press, you're missing out on a huge opportunity.

Once your article goes live, send an email blast to everyone on your company's contact list. I recommend using an email marketing platform such as Mailchimp so you can track your open rate. This also frees you from manually sending out batches of emails.

Here's a neat trick to capture email addresses from your LinkedIn connections:

  • Go to your LinkedIn homepage and click on the "My Network" tab. Then click "Connections"
  • Click the "Settings" gear symbol in the top right corner.
  • Click "Export LinkedIn Connections" in the right column.
  • Choose "Microsoft Outlook (.CSV file)" and then click "Export."

If you're using Mailchimp, you easily can import your .CSV file before you send your email.

I suggest two important tips for your email blasts. First, send yourself a test before it goes out to the masses. There's nothing worse than finding a typo after 1,500 people already have seen it. Second, include a call to action above the fold. All it takes is a simple ask: "Please share this with family and friends!"

Related: 3 Reasons Email Campaigns Remain the Best Marketing Tool

4. Share with clients.

Don't lump your clients in with the rest of your email network. Instead, send them a separate message that acknowledges their role in your success.

Such an email goes a long way toward strengthening your relationship and making them feel good about doing business with you. A little confirmation bias never hurt anyone.

If they're proud enough to be associated with your brand after a big release, they may take it upon themselves to share the good news among those in their personal networks -- without your needing to ask. Who knows? You could be nurturing your next big brand ambassador!

5. Circulate internally.

This step is an absolute must. Share the news release internally, get your company excited, and encourage employees to share the information with their own networks.

Brand messages shared by employees on social media report 561 percent more reach than the same messages shared by the brand's social media channels. That's because employees have 10 times more followers than their company's social media accounts. What's more, their content typically receives eight times more engagement than content shared by brand channels.

The bottom line: We trust people more than we trust brands, and we engage with people more than we engage with brands. If you don't get your employees involved on social, you're absolutely losing out to companies that do.

Related: How to Run an Effective Social Media Employee Advocacy Program

When a positive piece of press gets published, your level of activity could be the difference between a complete flop and a remarkable sales funnel. Take promotion and circulation into your own hands. Even if your article would do well on its own, there's no reason not to give it that extra nudge.

Once you've followed these steps, don't forget to shoot the reporter a quick email, too. Let him or her know the work you're doing to drive traffic and engagement to the piece. They'll be thrilled to have your support in boosting their readership and will be more likely to work with you again in the future.

Ryan Erskine

Brand Strategist at BrandYourself

Ryan Erskine is a Brand Strategist at BrandYourself and a leading expert in personal branding and online reputation management. He empowers individuals and businesses to develop their personal and corporate brands, take control of their search results, and position themselves as thought leaders in their industries. He's completely rebranded online images for everyone from c-suite executives and entrepreneurs to middle market professionals and college graduates.

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