Getting quoted in the press and getting juicy backlinks from high Domain Rating websites is one of the best things you can do to improve your SEO and increase conversion rates.
I've never reached out to a reporter but I've managed to get quoted by The Verge, Yahoo, and Wired. I've been interviewed by many of the largest media brands out there. Even for my ecommerce businesses, I've managed to get a boating brand referenced by the New Yorker and had my photo as the main cover art for a USA Today article on selling my ecommerce business.
Here are some tips I've learned to get more press coverage without ever sending a cold email to a reporter.
Why Do You Want Press Coverage?
You probably know why press is important but here's a recap:
- It gives you juicy backlinks
- It makes you (more) of an authority
- You get some direct traffic from it
Getting a backlink from a 90+ Domain Authority website is huge and will help your SEO immensely. However, aside from the added SEO juice, you can start to include “As seen on [enter huge media property]” which will help your overall authority and conversion rates.
While having your product or website ‘spotlighted' is the best-case scenario, most of the time, you'll just get a couple of lines of a quote and a backlink (if you're lucky). However, you'll still get some traffic from this. When we got mentioned on Tim Ferris' podcast (thanks Allen Walton from SpyGuy!), our traffic nearly doubled the week following a tiny backlink we got.
How to Get Press Coverage
Now I'll give you a few hints for having reporters emailing you all the time to speak to you and how to get them to quote you.
I am going to focus on strategies to get reporters to email you as opposed to you ever sending a cold email.
Reaching out to reporters cold is a whole other topic. There are even websites like Help a Reporter Out that give you a better chance of being featured on a prominent website, blog, or online publication. However, getting reporters to contact you first is by far the best way to get press coverage.
Have “Authority” Articles
This one is actually most applicable for SEO, but it's also great for press. Where a lot of people go wrong when writing articles is focusing entirely on search volume.
It's important to have articles that generate a ton of traffic. However, it's just as important, if not more important, to have “authoritative” articles that make you the absolute authority on a topic and subsequently generate a lot of backlinks AND press inquiries.
When a reporter is researching a topic, one of the first things that they're doing is googling that topic. They're then likely going to reach out to the authors of these pieces to start trying to get more background on a topic.
For example, this article on Chinese Amazon Seller Black Hat strategies has very little SEO volume around it. However, when a reporter googles “Chinese Amazon seller tactics” it's one of the first articles that comes up and subsequently, I'm one of the first people they reach out to as an authority on the topic.
Be Available Immediately & Be Flexible
Reporters work on very tight schedules. If they email you at noon on a Tuesday and you get back to them five hours later, you may have missed your opportunity. You need to respond to reporters as soon as possible, ideally within the hour.
You also need to be willing to tolerate reporters continually rescheduling with you. Many are on tiallght schedules and so expect to have your phone calls rescheduled, sometimes multiple times. The good news is that reporters are human too, and if they've continuously rescheduled on you, they're more likely to feel a sense of guilt and give you a quote.
Have a Press Inquiries Page
This was a big gamer changer for EcomCrew. On our contact us page we simply added a section on “Press Inquiries”.
Reporters don't want to be chasing down a source who may or may not be interested in doing a press interview.
By having a Press Inquiries section it signals to the reporter that we're able and willing to give press interviews (and on short notice).
In addition, your personal email below your writings should also be prevalent.
Phone Interviews Only, Not Email
Reporters don't want email interviews. They want to talk to you on the phone. I HATE the phone but it's necessary if you want press.
Phone calls can go on for 30-60 minutes if you're knowledgeable on a topic.
Talking on the phone also gives you another chance to build rapport with the reporter. The more they like you, the more you're likely to get quoted.
Be Quotable & Give Soundbites
When you get quoted, most reporters want something surprising, polarizing, or humorous.
My first major quote was for USA Today when I said “A few years ago most Chinese factories only knew Amazon as a river in South America. Today every single factory is looking to sell on Amazon”.
The worst thing you can do is be boring or dull.
Ask for the Backlink
I try not to be overly aggressive in asking for backlinks. Being knowledgeable and ‘quotable' is normally enough to ensure a relatively good chance to get a quote or backlink.
HOWEVER, reporters that quote you often have a nasty habit of not linking back to your website, which is one of the most valuable parts about getting a quote. It's not that they don't want to, it's that most of them aren't SEO experts and don't recognize the value in the backlink.
Your first step is to make sure you're aware of when you do get quoted. Most of the time a reporter will email you a copy of the article if you are indeed quoted. But not always. I continuously monitor a reporter's published articles for a few weeks after speaking with them to look for articles they've written on the topic we discussed and to see if they quoted me without a backlink. If they quoted but didn't backlink, I simply email them and ask them for a backlink. Most of the time they'll happily do so.
Finally, use a backlink monitoring service like AHREFs to monitor when you do get backlinks from major media. It's a great authority building tool to say “As seen in the…[enter major news media here]”.
On average, I'm spending a few hours a month responding to media inquiries for my websites (including EcomCrew). It can be a serious time suck but it's one of the most effective ways to get high domain authority backlinks for your website.
Have you been quoted in the media before? If so, did you reach out to the reporter or did they reach out to you?