For all the money marketers spend on building brand awareness online, some of the greatest things in marketing (and in life) really are free. You can always buy more advertising space and shoot out press releases to drum up attention, but nothing makes a splash for local businesses like real, positive news coverage.
Even while consumers turn to the internet to do everything from messaging old college roommates on Facebook to buying inflatable toast, traditional media like the local news is second only to search engines when it comes to trustworthiness.
Whether the media is covering your successes, participation in local events, or other contributions to the community, this trusted exposure can help consumers see you as an authority. And that's a big deal, since authority can sway potential customers — it's one of Cialdini's six principles of persuasion.
However, if you’re not leveraging that mention in every way possible, you could be wasting a lot of opportunities. In addition to boosting your authority, a mention can also lead to higher conversion rates, as well as search and referral traffic, with the help of the tips you'll discover in this post.
And best of all, these tricks are quick and easy to implement.
While getting mentioned in the news is a glorious win all on its own (I won’t cover how to get newsworthy in this post), I will discuss a few easy ways to leverage media coverage the next time you score a mention in the media.With these tips, you’ll have a few more handy ways of using that coverage to drive more traffic to your website and boost your authority online.
Using media coverage as proof
Since traditional news is generally regarded as one of the most trustworthy sources around, it follows that most businesses love to tout media mentions on their website. Our tendency to offer this kind of social proof has made the “Press” page practically a cliché in web design.
Our very own Megan Williams even noted how one new Boise restaurant, Kindness, had a press page touting their media mentions as proof, before their doors even opened for the first time!
Beyond the ubiquitous press page, there’s a wide range of other ways that media mentions can be leveraged on your website:
Repromote media mentions on your company blog
If you’re running a blog from your business’s website, there’s a couple of reasons you should repromote media mentions via your company blog. Other than impressing visitors on your site, you’ll also be redirecting some search traffic to your own site as people look up the story on search engines.
This could provide a substantial traffic boost to your site. Additionally, searchers who opt to go straight to your coverage are more likely to discover other pieces of content and pages on your site, leading them closer to becoming a customer.
Any chance to usher someone to your website is one you should take, especially if they’re getting there through a news article about how awesome your business is.
Display a badge
When you’re small-time, it can help close a sale when you have big-time names backing you up. Just look at Tilco, the “Intuitive Learning Company” that sells educational shower curtains.
These screen captures and quotes work as badges, or graphics that convey proof of trustworthiness. They feature prominently on their website, and are practically the foundation of proof Tilco offers to establish trust.
They’d be ever better off if these badges were featured on checkout pages, too. Given that badges such as these can boost conversion rates by 72% or so, it’s not a bad move to offer proof elsewhere.
You can learn about other various ways proof can take shape at Kissmetrics.
Now that we’ve identified some ways to promote the media promoting you on your website, here’s one more easy tip you can use to get even more traction from that media mention.
And this time, it’s from their site.
The “fresh mention” link building tactic
As valuable as exposure can be, you might be missing a huge opportunity if you think that getting talked about is all there is to it. While that buzz might drive people to find you online, your mention may be missing something.
Getting mentioned is good, but what if readers could more easily learn more about your business directly from that mention? (Hint: And find you more easily from search engines, too?)
Enter one of the fundamental tactics of SEO, link building.
To put it simply, link building is all about obtaining inbound links from other sites pointing towards your own. When a new link points to your site, the quality of the site providing that link, as well as whether that link is relevant and offers value to the user, is heavily weighted in terms of how valuable it is in impacting your site’s rankings.
The “how” of this process changes as Google updates their algorithms to punish spammers, but contextual links built by humans for real users are practically penalty-proof — and actually receive clickthrough traffic, SEO benefits notwithstanding.
Why does all of this matter?
Because when your business gets name-dropped in the news, two magical things happen from a link building perspective. First, there’s the fact that even small local news websites tend to be highly authoritative in the eyes of search engines. Getting a link on these sites can be a great signal of your own site’s authority.
Second, you have a valid reason for requesting a link. Your name is already there — why not shoot an email to the editor and recommend adding a link to your website so people can click through and see what you’re all about? For extra brownie points, offer a link to a relevant blog post on your site offering additional coverage on the story.
(But please, please, please don’t send emails requesting links on press releases.)
Link builders call this kind of opportunity a fresh mention, and you can read more about how to do it at Jesse Stoler’s post on Linkarati. As Jesse notes, they’re the easiest link building strategy to create great links, and an unbelievable number of businesses don’t take advantage of these opportunities.
And when dealing with mentions on local news sites, you’ll be boosting your website’s location relevance to Google as well, an excellent local SEO perk (just like in syndicating your content with local publications.)
If link building catches your interest, be sure to check out Kate Smith’s post, What An Ex-Link Builder Can Tell You About Your Website, along with the Linkarati blog.
While it might be hard to see the smaller opportunities when you’re hyped about the wave of attention that comes with the media spotlight, these strategies are excellent ways to fully take advantage of news coverage.
So the next time you get a media spotlight, don't just accept your "fifteen minutes of fame." The perks can last much longer.What else do you think businesses can do to amplify the benefits of media coverage? Leave your thoughts with a comment here or reach us on Twitter @WTCMarketing!