Andreea Ayers founded LaunchGrowJoy.com in 2011 after selling a successful t-shirt business, and realised she had plenty to share in terms of selling products successfully online. Her blog focuses on her experience with ecommerce and selling online, moving into PR and teaching product entrepreneurs how to get their products featured in print media and on influential blogs.
Andreea has some tried-and-true strategies for building a buzz around your blog or business through media promotion, both traditional and online. She walks the talk, with her blog being featured in more than 500 media outlets since she started five years ago.
I asked her what her non-negotiables are when it comes to seeking publicity as a solo blogger or entrepreneur.
What do you think bloggers should know about getting PR for their site?
As far as getting PR for your blog, bloggers should keep in mind that often times if they want publicity they have to go out and seek it. It does happen that a publication will reach out to you to feature you (as was the case with my recent feature in Entrepreneur magazine), but it’s more effective for bloggers to make a list of publications and websites that they want to be featured in and reach out to those directly with something of value.
How do you think they could go about it?
After they make their list of, let’s say, 20 media outlets they want to be featured in, they should reach out and provide value, rather than reach out and “pitch” their expertise or blog. Here’s an example of what I did to get media attention when I launched a Pinterest course a few years ago. I created an infographic with 100+ Pinterest board ideas and I reached out to different types of blogs to see if they would be interested in using my infographic as a resource for their blog and to share with their readers. I included the infographic and in my pitch I mentioned that Pinterest is growing in popularity and many of their readers are probably still learning how to use Pinterest, but coming up with Pinterest board ideas is what holds a lot of people back from using it for business. If they shared my infographic with 100+ Pinterest board ideas, they can help remove some of the blocks that their readers might have about using Pinterest for their business. Many bloggers said YES to this, which was a great way for me to get publicity for my Pinterest course.
If I had reached out and said something along the lines of “I’m a Pinterest expert and would love to be featured on your blog” I can guarantee that the response would have been a lot different.
When you reach out to media outlets it’s important to “provide value” rather than “pitch your blog.” And the most important thing to remember is that if you don’t hear back from your initial outreach efforts, it’s important to follow up a few times (after a week and after a month). Most of my success with publicity has come as a result of following up!
Do you think traditional media is still useful – particularly from a blogger point of view?
Yes, definitely! Being featured in traditional media builds credibility for your blog, in addition to helping you get additional traffic and sales (if you are selling something through your blog). Traditional media is still widely consumed, whether it’s listening to the radio on your way to work, watching a TV show to unwind or reading a magazine at the doctor’s office. People get their information from many sources, so why not expand your reach and be everywhere!
Where do you think bloggers should “be seen” in order to grow their audience?
Bloggers should be seen where their readers spend their time, which is different for every blogger. This can include other websites, podcasts, and traditional media. I’ve had a lot of success promoting my blog (and increasing my sales) by being featured on other podcasts and on other websites. However, it’s very important to “be seen” where your audience is. For example, if you blog about entrepreneurship, you should try to get featured on podcasts or other blogs about entrepreneurship. If your blog is about wedding photography, you should try to get featured on bridal or wedding blogs. With publicity, being in front of the right audience is more important than being featured in as many media outlets as possible.
How do you think bloggers should approach PR companies to be considered for marketing campaigns?
I think any time bloggers approach ANYONE, it should be from a standpoint of providing something of value. When you’re reaching out to anyone make sure to keep your emails short, provide value and ask for what you’d like.
What do you think brands are looking for when it comes to working with bloggers?
When it comes to working with bloggers, brands are looking for:
a blog audience that is engaged and relevant to them
sufficient traffic to justify their expenses (especially if they have to send out product samples)
a good amount of social media followers on at least one social media channel. In addition to followers, they are also looking for frequent posting and an engaged audience
mentions on the blog of other brands that are similar or complementary to theirs
trustworthy bloggers who share their honest opinions about the brands that they feature
What are some other ways do you think bloggers can position themselves for more visibility (and therefore more traffic)?
I think that bloggers should be proactive about publicity and cross promotions with other bloggers/companies whose readers are similar to theirs. When I look back at most of my “success stories”, they came as a result of me reaching out to the person who I wanted to connect with, not the other way around. Bloggers should also consider speaking at relevant industry events to build even more credibility for their blog and get in front of audiences in-person. Meeting someone in person or seeing them speak at an event can help to build credibility and a loyal following quickly.
What are the non-negotiables do you think bloggers should have on their sites for you to take them seriously as an authority?
They should have really great content and great branding that makes them stand out from other similar bloggers. They should also have a social media presence (one or two social media channels is great – they don’t have to be EVERYWHERE), a few relevant press mentions (whether it’s in traditional or online media) and a really great, inspiring story!
Do you have any templates or guidelines for pitches that bloggers could reference?
Here’s the formula that I use to reach out:
1st Paragraph – say hi and let them know that you are either familiar with their work (a past article, their blog, etc.) and love it and/or the specific reason why you are reaching out.
2nd Paragraph – Let them know 2-3 ways you can add value to their readers (answer the question – WHY will their readers love what you have to offer and how will it benefit them).
3rd Paragraph – Let them know 1-2 facts about you/your blog (answer the question – WHAT your blog/expertise is). You can also share one sentence about YOU/Your story here.
4th Paragraph – Thank them for their time and let them know what you’d like them to do next.
The most important thing is to keep your email short, to the point and provide value.
What would your tips be for bloggers who want to be PR-friendly?
Here are a few things every blogger needs to be PR friendly:
have a great ABOUT page that shares your story, what inspires you, why you started your blog, etc.
have media-ready images of you
have an easy to use contact page so they can reach out to you directly if they want to feature you. A contact form is nice, but make sure to provide your email address as well in case your contact form isn’t working properly (this happened to me when a TV producer reached out to feature me on a TV show!)
think about SEO and what the media might search for when looking for your expertise and optimize a few pages on your website for those keywords. I’ve had many media outlets find me while searching for “Pinterest expert” because I optimized my website for those particular keywords.
What do you think? Have you seen a good return when you’ve reached out to others to help grow your audience?