It’s a common lament from people who work hard to generate free publicity in print and online versions of newspapers and magazines, or in blogs and ezines.
“The Daily Tattler finally wrote about me, but they never printed my website address!”
If readers care enough to learn more about you, they’ll Google your name. But most people are too busy. They won’t bother.
It’s time to outsmart the journalists, broadcasters and anyone else who covers you. Here are nine ways to sneak your website address into media stories and blog posts.
1. Tell them the name of your company is (fill in the blank).com.
Instead of identifying my company as The Publicity Hound, I’d say it’s PublicityHound.com.
2. Offer helpful tips.
Journalists love tips lists, like this one. But don’t stop there. Offer several tips on a topic, and then tell the journalist that readers can find 10 more tips on the same topic at your website.
3. Create a quiz.
It should tie into the topic of the article, or your expertise. A cardiologist might create one called “How much do you really know about heart disease?” Post the quiz at your website and suggest that the health reporter who’s interviewing you take it himself to see how much he knows.
4. Discuss your website if it’s relevant to the story.
For example, if a blogger is interviewing you about problems you’ve faced as a small business owner, and you tell her one of the biggest was getting people to your website, but you learned how to optimize it for the search engines and it’s now pulling traffic, quote actual traffic statistics.
A nonprofit might let the blogger know that people can donate to a specific cause or program right at their website.
Have you saved money on expensive websites by building yours on a free WordPress platform? Many people have. This can be part of your story.
It’s difficult for a reporter to write about a website without giving the URL.
5. Offer a free sample.
Use those words: free sample. It can be a sample chapter of your book at your website, or a two-minute clip from an instructional video you’re selling, or an entire series of videos on how to solve a problem. The free sample should include content-rich material, not a free commercial.
6. Offer a free “cheat sheet” or checklist.
People love these. And the media love telling their readers and viewers about them. There’s a chance the reporter might want to actually print the checklist as a sidebar to the article, instead of requiring readers to access it from your website. If so, don’t balk. Say yes. Make their job as easy as possible. And then suggest another idea on this list.
7. Answer people’s questions–for free.
Offer to answer readers’ or viewers’ questions, but they must submit them on a form at your website. Make sure the URL is simple and that the form works correctly. If the form isn’t on your homepage, include an easy-to-findheadline on your homepage that leads people to it.
8. Offer a pocket guide of industry definitions.
This is particularly helpful if you work in an industry that has its own lingo or difficult-to-understand terms. Those include technology, Internet marketing, health care and the financial sector. Invite the reporter to excerpt a few terms and definitions as a sidebar that accompanies the main story.
9. Offer a free calculator.
CNN Money has a free calculator at its website called “When Will You Be Debt-Free?” You can find lots of examples of free calculators at MyCalculator.org. Hire a freelance techie to make a calculator for you at sites like oDesk.com, vWorker.com and Elance.com.
Let’s assume one of these nine tips has worked. Always thank journalists and invite them to call on you again for story ideas, background, commentary and sources.
What about you? Have you used a clever idea that convinced a journalist to include your website address in their stories? Share it here.
Publicity expert Joan Stewart, aka The Publicity Hound, publishes a free weekly ezine that shows you how to promote any product, service, cause or issue. Subscribe to her free publicity and social media tips and receive free the handy checklist, “89 Reasons to Write and Send a Press Release.” Follow her on Twitter at @PublicityHound and on Facebook at Facebook.com/PublicityHound.