Done well, PR can be a great way to get a large number of eyes on your content. And because a story usually includes a tracked link back to the client's site, there should be some page and domain authority in it for them too.
If you are thinking of incorporating some PR, outreach, or guest blogging into your strategy, follow these steps.
Step 1 of the process
The content writer should research potential homes for their story. This means trawling the web for sites with news sections or blogs around the subject area of interest. Create a list of suitable places in an easy-to-manage spreadsheet.
Don't worry about being too particular at this stage. Aim for a generous list — you will start whittling it down in a moment.
Step 2 of the process
The content writer should review their list to determine which of the sites actually accept press releases or guest blogs. Many sites will only publish their own content. Others will not accept unsolicited outreach requests. Create a column for this in the spreadsheet.
Step 3 of the process
The content writer should check the domain authority of those sites that actually accept outreach requests. If the site has a very low domain authority, its backlink will not provide much SEO value or may even damage our SEO. Similarly, they should review the site's social presence. Does it get strong engagement and does it have a significant following?
Step 4 of the process
The content writer should now have a short list of sites with strong domain authority, at least a modest social presence, and the willingness to accept PR/guest blogs.
Before contacting them, make sure they haven't already written about the story you are proposing to send them. Take the time to familiarise yourself with the name of the contact and their positioning.
- What is their expertise?
- Is it relevant to the story you are proposing?
Review articles and stories they have posted and engage with them in a natural way, preferably for a period of weeks before sending your outreach request. If they’ve noticed your engagement and found it interesting (or even just flattering), you stand in better stead of getting a response.
Step 5 of the process
The content writer should reach out to the website. This might be over email or you could use a social media channel if they’re particularly active there. Address the intended recipient by name, introduce yourself, and, space and preliminary research permitting, consider opening with a line about how much you enjoyed one of their recent articles or discussion points. Start a conversation that doesn't sound like you are using them as a channel to distribute your content. Make the effort to build rapport in the aim of appearing more genuine.
Research suggests that asking the reader if he or she would be 'willing' to do something is more likely to result in a positive response. You might consider this and the rest of the language you use when getting in touch.
Don't send the story straight away. This will appear spammy and is a red flag that will most likely lead to you being ignored. At worst, you might find yourself blocked or blacklisted, especially if you do this repeatedly. Ask the reader if they would be interested/willing to read the story you have written and give them the ‘hook’/blurb.
Step 6 of the process
Depending on your success, maintain your contact list, keeping it up to date. Highlight websites that have accepted stories previously or contacts with whom you’ve built up a relationship.