Let me ask you a question. Who was the first to fly?
The Wright Brothers? Wrong.
That’s what the history book says. In fact, it’s Gustave Whitehead.
So why did the Wright Brothers go down as the fathers of modern aviation, when clearly, another man beat them by 2 whole years? Simple. The Wright Brothers had the power of press behind them.
It’s not who go there first. It’s about who got there first and (enough) people knew about it.
Case in point? Apple with the Xerox PARC’s mouse… Microsoft with Apple’s mouse & GUI (that Apple stole from Xerox)… Google with search engines (remember Ask, Altavista, etc.)..
The list goes on and on.
“If I only had two dollars left I would spend one dollar on PR.” ~Bill Gates, Microsoft
The more buzz you have, the more awareness you have.
Without awareness, you might as well scream into the vacuum about your product and how great it is.
As entrepreneurs, we’ve ALL had that problem: HOW do we get people to write about us?
Of course, there’s advertising. If you pay enough money, people will promote you. But unless you’re doing a direct response advertising (i.e. selling stuff directly), most advertising is just one big financial sinkhole.
So how exactly do you get cheap, sustainable PR for your company? Fear not. This problem has been solved by MANY people, and all you have to do is apply what others have learned.
Here are the 5 steps you must know about getting bloggers, journalists, and influential people to write about your company:
(First two are more attitude. Latter three more tactical)
1) Be genuine. Tell a story.
Influential people get pitched all the time, including fake BS’ers. If you BS, their BS-o-meter will go off and there goes your chance to ever develop a relationship with that person.
Instead of trying to sound high & almighty (ex. pretending that you have 50 investors interested in your startup, or you have 100 potential partners.. or some crap like that), just be genuine.
No one wants to hear how great your crap is. They want to know YOUR story. What makes you who you are?
why did you get into this business
how did you deal with your hardship
what happened to your dog’s tail
what’s with that black eye
what did you do to your best friend after he slept with your girl
how come your parole officer keeps calling you at odd hours
You know, the stuff that makes you REAL .. stuff that makes you unique.
In fact, show them MORE than you’re comfortable with. Hell tell them what you messed up on. I sure as hell came out in public with stuff I’m not proud of. (But hey, i helped save bunch of dogs.. so I guess my karma “evened” out).
That’s what they want to know. Your OWN unique words. So lose the mask… and if possible, try to be interesting.
2) Give first, take later
Ever go on a first date, and the guy just wants to sleep with you or the girl just wants to milk your wallet ?
I would argue that most people in this world are struggling emotionally, personally, and financially because most have the “take” mentality. Unfortunately, with that attitude, no one wants to give you anything.
This is called the law of reciprocity – if I give you something first, you feel obligated to give me something back because now you trust me and we have rapport. This is basis for all “freebie” marketing.
No different when you talk to journalists. They get pitched all the time with people saying “oooh oooh oooh.. ME ME ME”.
Not only are they annoyed, they will get jaded with people who approach them. (On top of that, a lot of them are underpaid and worse, underappreciated.) So why not be HELPFUL? I’m not talking about just sending them self promotional content.
Slip them content that YOU didn’t write.. invite them to exclusive events that you are hosting.. ask them to speak at your panel, send them thank you notes for job well done with a heart felt story.. stuff like that.
3) Write (Interesting) Case Studies
Fundamentals of content marketing – if you write good content, marketing it is easy.
Are you a dentist? Maybe you can write about the last 50 root canal patients that you had and how there was a correlation between jaw size and number of canals you had to dig (I don’t know if that even makes sense but you get my point).
Are you a graphic designer? Maybe you can write about your test on correlation between screen size and conversion rate in ecommerce companies.
Are you a owner of a tax preparation franchise? Maybe you can write about the probability of getting audited based on zipcode, income, and/or age. (i.e. Some “types” of people cheat taxes more than others.)
The point is.. you have some data, facts, analysis, or stories that probably serve great point to SOMEONE.
If you showcase your case study, it serves three things
1) that you’re doing this every day and that you know what you’re talking about
2) gives credibility to your community/audience of potential buyers
3) tells search engines that you know this stuff and that they should refer you (i.e. long tail keyword traffic)
For example, MailChimp is great at coming up case studies on email marketing (like email open rates, click rates, best time to send, frequency of send). Unbounce (site that helps you make landing pages) is great at case studies relating to what persuades people to sign up/buy, like what kind of headlines, call to action buttons, form sizes, pictures, videos, etc.
In other words, if I read you case study, I should be able to take ACTIONABLE points and apply it to my business.
So stay on point and be relevant.
(Don’t try to please everyone, just the ones that are gonna pay you.)
4) Feature Popular People (to Your Audience)
We ALL love talking about ourselves. Don’t believe me?
Look at how many users Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google+, etc. all have. It’s ALL about ME ME ME. People love talking about themselves.
So why not tap into that vanity?
Case in point – If you guys read a lot on internet marketing, Neil Patel and Jeremy Shoemaker are some of the most prominent in that field. After weeks of trying, I managed to score interviews with both Neil Patel and Shoemoney. Sure you can say that it’s in their interest to be seen, and I don’t disagree. But (once the interviews are up), they will let THEIR audience know about it.. and voila! Link love.
In fact, Under30CEO (this very blog you’re reading) does interviews too. Let some of that popularity rub off on you. Tap into the power of reciprocity by giving them love FIRST before you expect any from them.
5) Let People Guest Blog on Your Blog
Let go of the mic, and let someone ELSE speak to your audience. Why?
Two MAJOR reasons:
1) you’re getting free expert content for your blog
2) they usually have a following of their own and will write/tweet/email to their audience about your blog
But you remember, you have to make sure you don’t post some crappy content from people who are linkbuilding for sake of doing it instead of trying to give your audience some quality stuff (like THIS post, for example => *self pat on back*).
In fact, if you’re a marketer (or are really good at marketing), an entrepreneur, or someone really good at some aspect of startup strategies, i would LOVE to have you guest post on my blog.
– Provide value
– Be nice & genuine
– Share your knowledge
– Give first & reciprocate
Have you tried other successful ways to get people to write about your company?
Leave your thoughts in the comments.
TaeWoo Kim is an entrepreneur, online marketer, speaker, and blogger. With over 10 years of experience, he’s helped achieve multi million revenues for various companies. You can follow him on his blog, Twitter, Facebook, and Google+Subscribe to the Podcast