It’s great when PR opportunities fall right into your lap. Most brands dream of that moment when they open up the Sunday papers and see their own products beaming back at them; these features can be truly transformative for a small business.
But getting good PR doesn’t have to be left down to chance. In this post, we’re going to walk you through our top tips for proactively finding PR opportunities, as well as how to squeeze the most value out of them when they do land.
5 Ways to find PR opportunities
1. Check #JournoRequest on X
When journalists are looking for expert comments, they’ll often take to X (formerly Twitter) and use the hashtag #JournoRequest to find opinions from people affected by, or who can add a different opinion on what they’re reporting on. The turnaround time for these is normally very fast, so if you see a request that fits you, reach out immediately with the required information or opinion.
Keep in mind that most requests will get a large number of responses, particularly if the journalist is writing for a well-known publication. Make yours more likely to get picked up by keeping it succinct, forming a strong opinion, or adding a fresh take to the conversation.
2. Follow authors of gift guides on social media
Being included in online gift guides helps new customers find you, as well as being a great exercise in boosting your domain authority and ranking. While gift guides spring up around lots of different events in the year, the most popular by far is Christmas, where guides may be commissioned several months in advance.
Dig out gift guides from the previous year, as the chances are the same people may well be commissioned to write them this year, and might put a call out on social media for suggestions. Or feel free to slide into their inbox, too.
Here are some popular gift guides and gift guide sections to get started with:
3. Enter competitions such as Gift of the Year
Entering competitions can also bring you new customers and stockists, as well as a healthy boost to your SEO. Gift of the Year is a prestigious one, and it’s not too expensive to enter.
Beware of entering lots of very expensive competitions — it’s much better to cherry pick a few that you think you have a chance of doing well in, and which receive good press in themselves.
A quick Google of ‘Gift of the Year’ shows other sites report on the winners of the competition, which means the impact of that initial mention can really start snowballing; in fact, the award claims its winners see a 50% increase in sales after winning on average.
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4. Position yourself as an authority in your industry
You’re already busy enough building your actual brand, so building a personal brand alongside this may feel like a lot.
But flexing your founder voice on LinkedIn and X can help position you as a thought leader in your industry, which can make you a magnet for expert comment requests, or help bolster your profile when applying for them. So try to carve out some time to share your thoughts on current events impacting your industry.
5. Hire PR support
Landing PR opportunities often comes down to media connections and know-how, two things you may (understandably) feel you don’t currently have. There are plenty of people offering PR support for brands on a freelance basis, and this is definitely a worthwhile option to explore if you feel you’re not making much progress on your own.
How to spot press early on
When you receive a surprise bit of PR — be it a mention in an article or your product in a gift guide — you want to make sure you don’t miss it.
Enter Google Alerts. It only takes a couple of minutes to set up an automated Google Alert that will email you every single time your brand name is mentioned. You can also use it to alert you to discussions on topics relevant to your brand. Here’s a guide to setting this up.
How to get the most out of your press opportunities
Good press can lead to an immediate spike in traffic and sales, and longer term brand awareness. But there are more subtle forces at play, too.
When good, popular sites link back to yours, it gives your site a real SEO boost, meaning the positive effects can be felt long into the future.
How do backlinks impact SEO?
Each website domain has its own authority score from 1-100 called either Domain Authority or Domain Rating, depending on the tool you’re using to measure it.
Websites with a higher score are likely to rank higher for their relevant keywords more easily than those with a lower one. And your website’s backlink profile is a huge contributor to this score.
This is because of what’s known as ‘link juice’ which is a kind of virtual authority that trickles down to your site once an authoritative site links back to it.
Big PR mentions have a big impact here, but you can also make an impact with sheer volume of mentions. One stranger recommending your brand on social media won’t have much of an impact on your SEO. But tens, or hundreds? That’s when the benefits really start to show. So be sure to link your social media profiles from your website to make it really easy for Google to connect those dots.
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How to squeeze the most out of your backlinks
Now here’s an important tip for when you do get a great bit of press, and it’s something we’ve previously done ourselves when we’ve received mentions here at CREOATE.
When you’ve been mentioned in a write up, first check whether the publication has included an actual hyperlink back to your website.
Assuming they have included a hyperlink to your website, as in the example above, next you want to right click on that hyperlink and go to ‘Inspect’.
This will highlight the code that makes up the hyperlink, starting with <a href= and ending with </a>. If you see rel=”no follow” included in this highlighted bit of code, it means the website has opted to tell Google not to associate itself with your website, and in turn you’re not getting any of that great link juice. This probably isn’t anything personal, by the way — some sites are just set up this way.
Whether there’s no link at all, or the link has this no-follow attribute that we’d rather get rid of, politely reach out to this publication and ask for them to change it. Explain that you’re excited to have been mentioned, and that making this small tweak will really help your small business improve its SEO.
How to find PR opportunities: final thoughts
Make this the month you take charge of your own PR. It’s never too early to start; a good piece of PR can level up your business like almost nothing else.
But because PR can be transformative, it’s also highly competitive — so don’t be disheartened when opportunities don’t work out. And when they do, make sure you follow the steps above to get the most out of it, as well as sharing it far and wide.
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