The role that social media plays in your ability to obtain digital publicity cannot be understated. Just like traditional (print) media outlets, most bloggers and podcasters are looking to cover stories, brands, and products with credibility. Digital publicity is most certainly a two way street.
While you are looking for coverage to help build your influence and visibility online, a blogger or podcaster is looking to cover a brand with enough existing presence, through social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc. that it helps them as well by driving additional traffic back to their site. Never forget that most digital media makers make their money from ad placements, so for them traffic is the ONLY name of the game.
Before you begin the outreach process to digital media makers, make sure you are:
1. Managing your targeted social media accounts with consistent content. “Consistent” has different meanings depending on the platform. Facebook might be one post per day, Twitter several times per day, YouTube may be once per month, and an email newsletter could be weekly or once or twice a month.
2. Engaging with your audience on a regular basis. Most bloggers are looking for a dedicated fan base, not a huge fan base. The numbers that matter here are the number of comments and likes you get per Facebook post, or comments and shares on a blog post, or re-tweets on a tweet, NOT the number of followers you have. Followers can be bought and don’t prove worth online.
Once you have established your brand online and start the outreach process to digital media makers, you may start to see features (placements) roll in right away or it may take several weeks of following up. In either case, when the features do come in, what happens next?
Well, you have two options:
Let the feature just sit there. Yes it will be seen by the blogger’s targeted audience (AKA your potential customers/fans). And yes it will help your search engine visibility. But that is it.
Leverage this feature so that it covers the above, but so much more as well, helping you to build your brand, further penetrate niche markets, and establish deeper conversations with your customers.
Here are four ways to leverage digital publicity online, helping you to achieve the most out of each and every feature you receive from a blogger or podcaster.
1. Integrate PR into Social Media (or Share Successes With Customers)
The first and most obvious way to leverage digital publicity is to share the success stories with your fans and customers. There are several places each feature can be integrated with to maximize its reach.
Social Media. A strong social media strategy is all about the content. There is no better content for you to share than what others are saying about you with your fans and customers, giving them an opportunity to feel a part of something.
Although it is not shameless self-promotion which is often viewed simply as spam, sharing these stories is self-promotional, so it is best to spread them out. Make sure that this form of content only appears once every 10 or so posts on Facebook or Twitter.
Also, remember that many social networks give you the option to add a bio or description. Adding in a strong quote from a blogger or podcaster in this section is a great opportunity to further establish your credibility as a brand.
And you don’t need to stick to just the standard, biggest social platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. There are MANY, more niche-focused social platforms such as Pinterest, Instagram, and Flickr, that have highly dedicated users, and which can present great opportunities to integrate and leverage your digital publicity.
Press Section on Official Website. Your official website is always going to be the hub of your online presence, no matter what social network is big at the moment. You own it, you control the content, style, and messaging, and it will always exist for your fans to find you.
Make sure that there is a “press” section of your website that covers ALL of the digital publicity you receive. The best way to do this would be to offer the title, a quick excerpt featuring some important quotes or highlights from the feature, and then a link back to the original placement.
This page on your website should have social sharing functionality, such as a Facebook “Like” button, a Twitter “Retweet” button, a Pinterest “Pin” button, and beyond. Depending on the platform your website is built on, there are several social sharing plug-in options to choose from.
Email Signature. Often overlooked as an additional opportunity to promote yourself to direct contacts, your email signature is the perfect place to integrate your digital publicity into your overall digital branding strategy. Below your contact information, add a quote and a link from an article on a highly-visible or credible niche blog or podcast.
Newsletter. Similar to your email signature, your newsletter gives you direct access to your customer, fan and even potential customer contacts. Sharing your recent digital publicity successes through links and quotes is again a great opportunity to further your branding meanwhile ensuring that your most dedicated fans and customers are aware of these successes, making it more likely that these features will be shared our further by others.
2. Monitor Conversations Surrounding the Digital Publicity
Digital publicity will often lead to social sharing through Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, additional blogs, and beyond. However, another result of digital publicity are the conversations that fans, customers and niche markets as a whole can engage in.
A critical opportunity for you to effectively leverage your digital publicity into something more is to ensure that you are properly monitoring these conversations and social sharing, as it will help you to identify:
• Your most loyal customers
• Your most influential supporters (these could be customers OR other digital media makers)
• Potential customers in target markets
Thankfully, there are several tools available for you to utilize in order to properly monitor these conversations.
Google Alerts. This is a free service that monitors specified keywords and will alert you weekly, daily or even in real-time when they are mentioned. Try setting up several keywords that reflect your brand name, your product name and key markets that you are targeting. Google will deliver results based on any site, be it a blog, podcast or otherwise that they are able to index and deliver in a search result.
Hootsuite. While there are paid versions of Hootsuite that offer an extensive suite of additional tools and services, the basic free version offers the perfect platform to create searches for terms, keywords, and hashtags (i.e. #yourbrand) that can be saved and monitored. Anything that appears on Twitter that matches these search parameters will appear instantly for you to engage with.
Hootsuite also offers apps that allow you to connect many other services to your Hootsuite account, such as Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, WordPress, and more. Plus, Hootsuite offers social analytic reports which will automatically compile all of the relevant information you are tracking into a single report for you.
3. Shine the Spotlight On Those Who Covered You
Let’s not forget that digital publicity is a two way street. While it is always great to be able to share your successes with your fans and customers, it is also critical to the relationship management strategy of your newfound digital media maker allies that you shine the spotlight back on the them (remember, most of these media makers make their money from traffic – this will help them to achieve more traffic!). There are a few ways that this can be done:
1. Tag through social media. This is the “kill two birds with one stone” method where you can simply tag the account of the blogger on Facebook, Twitter, etc. when sharing the feature with your fans and customers.
2. Include in #ff tweets. A #ff tweet stands for a Follow Friday tweet, which is widely practiced to shine the spotlight on followers, friends, fans, influences, etc. Use this opportunity to once again shine the spotlight on the digital media makers who supported you on their blog or podcast by letting all of your followers on Twitter know that you appreciate their efforts.
3. Blog. A blog is best used for original content, as it is the best way to create unique conversations and engagement on your own website. However, a blog can also be a good outlet to further share successes, especially if you have a strong readership and RSS subscription base.
Spotlighting digital media makers on you blog could take the form of a quote or excerpt, with a link back to the original article, but it could also go a bit deeper. Why not use this opportunity to return the promotional favor by interviewing the media maker for your own blog, or even offer a guest post to the blogger so they may be able to share their experience, expertise and opinions on a relevant topic with your readers.
4. Use Contacts as References to Further Penetrate Niche Markets
Once you have integrated the publicity into your social media content strategy, monitored all of the conversations that have resulted from the successes, and put the spotlight back on the digital media maker in return for the support, it is time to leverage the features into even bigger placements.
The reason this comes last is because you need to establish a credible enough relationships with the digital media makers so they are willing to stick their necks out for you by introducing you to other media makers in their own networks.
Very important word to the wise: doing this too early could mean an awkward rejection and a lost relationship, so make sure you have covered all of the above and build a strong enough relationship first. If you have managed to do each of the above points effectively, each media maker introduction could potentially result in exponential growth in your digital publicity.
Good News image via ShutterStock.com.