by Mary C. Long
The next time you (or the PR firm you've retained) manage to land a mention in a fantastically popular publication, you might be tempted to (or advised to) create a "news" post for your website with a sentence or two linking back to the piece.
Here's why (and don’t worry - what you MUST do instead will follow):*
1) It's lazy. Even if one of your carefully crafted sentences linking to the “news” item shares why the piece is relevant, it comes across as the last step in an amateur's checklist (pro tips to follow below).
2) It's braggy - and not in a good way. You were just named a “top” something or other? How nice for you! Slap a bumper sticker on your car, if you like – but don’t write a post boldly announcing it and DON’T tweet or create a status update about how “humbled” or “honored” you are, because it comes across as insincere (and kind of obnoxious).
But wait - what IS a good way to share such news? Certainly, you can’t be expected to NOT share it?! I’ll get to that soon. Patience, please.
Oh, and the same goes for when you’re quoted as an expert in an article, by the way. (Yes, even if it’s Forbes.)
3) Another great reason to NOT create a lame-o two-line “news” item about your PR mention: Your target audience will not click over to read it. (Think about it - would you?) Your competitors might click, but potential clients will not - because time is valuable, attention spans are short and reading that "you were quoted" somewhere does not hit that bar - not even close.
And if you’ve been lucky enough to have these folks subscribe to your newsfeed, they are bound to resent the interruption marketing for such non-newsworthy "news" as that is undoubtedly not the kind of info they signed up for.
4) And if they DO click over to read your non-news and it's gated content that requires a subscription (which happens a LOT), or if it takes them to a site that spams them with videos or ads before they can read the piece – congratulations! You’ve not only ticked off your reader, you’ve lost their trust when it comes to clicking links on your page – and good luck winning THAT back!
*Note that this advice does not apply to product or service reviews or investment/financial news. These are the only “news” mentions you should have listed on your site – with links to those items. THESE pieces are entirely relevant. Pieces that boost your ego are not (even when they provide proof of your expertise).
So now let’s take a look at what you SHOULD be doing instead – as there are many (and much better) ways to share these PR wins - ways that showcase your expertise while encouraging engagement. Ways that make the most of your hard-earned media (as many agencies promise and few deliver):
1) Write a complementary piece. A lawyer selected for Chambers could write (or have ghostwritten) a compelling “Representative Matters, Chambers-style” that focuses on best practices for presenting representative matters and how this worked out for him (without getting into confidential specifics, naturally).
Said attorney could then share that piece widely – as could the firm. And it would be a useful piece of collateral in just SO many ways really, but focus is important - so I’ll leave it at that.
Or, to provide another example - your big data dude was just named to a very niche Top 10. Get in touch with a couple of the other top ten and spin it using six-second sound bytes (yes, Vine) around each person's expertise and then embed these Vines in a post on your site that links back to the original list. THAT is PR that keeps on giving, my friend, as those included will share the post as well. And the rest of the top ten will likely reach out and ask to be included.
2) Have a colleague write a complementary piece and link to you – and not in a “we’re pleased to announce so and so’s award/mention” way. And it doesn’t have to be a “how to” like the example above (though it could be). It only takes a couple of paragraphs for this colleague to speak to a topic that's tangentially related and refer back to you and what you did/were awarded or were quoted as saying. “As my colleague, Jane, recently shared in this Forbes piece that explores the topic in greater detail . . . “
You can then share that piece, thanking the colleague for the mention (and offering some reciprocal PR), with a note about the linked piece where you/your business is named. And again – THIS can play out in just so many ways, but these are examples and not a personalized PR plan, so I’ll continue . . .
3) Share an honest, “psyched I got this!” post with your close friends via email and social media – and ask them to help you spread the word. And many will do so. Do NOT overdo this – and do not count every professional contact as a friend.
You can also create a public social media post along the same vein, expressing your happiness and tossing in a bit of self-deprecating humor to lessen any braggy sting. “They wanted social media experts and they found me. Hope no one gets fired for that! Haha!” Humor is often greatly appreciated online and it can help make prickly folks seem a bit more approachable/likable (even if they aren't) - so you get some reputation management bang for your buck there as well.
4) Add these mentions, “top” listings and/or your new status as an expert source frequently sought out for quotes in your niche area to your LinkedIn profile where applicable (or get creative with your narrative if you can’t find a specific spot to list it).
And as a side note – you should be refreshing your LinkedIn info as it happens regardless, but many do not.
Looping back now – aren’t these tips more appealing than slapping a static news item up on your website? You can’t allow random acts of PR to happen or you’re wasting your time and money – and no one wants to do that.
And yes, PR pro - each thing mentioned above requires additional work - your point? NOT following through on a PR win (like being named a Leading PR Pro by Entrepreneur Magazine ;) is equivalent to charging an exorbitant fee to write a press release and then just posting it on a few press release sites. That's crazy. And yes, I know many clients pay quite a bit for this exact service. Not really sure WHY - but I think that's another post!
Your key take away, client reader, should be this: If your PR firm is getting mentions or placements for you, that's great (and not easy, so congrats all around) - but it's only half the job. And I’ve only offered a fraction of the tactics you should consider, as I don’t like doing other people’s work for them =).
Feel free to contact me for additional ideas - and if anything you just read above is new, you should absolutely reach out regardless!
*Image from Helen Melissakis