Proving that your story will perform well online

This seems contradictory at first:

Media love getting fresh, exclusive content so they can be sure no one else has it and therefore their site will get more traffic. But when media don’t get things first, they will still post it if it’s clear the content will “perform well online.”

How can they tell if it will perform well online? Well, there’s old school subjective news judgement. And there’s also modern-day quantitative metrics: if a photo of a mysteriously colored dress is getting a ton of traffic on BuzzFeed, it will probably get decent traffic on a different site, too.

Many journalists and bloggers do this, but for today’s purposes think of a morning show producer. She comes in to her office and obviously looks at what’s trending on Twitter and Facebook. But she also looks at Google Trends to see what people are searching for, and also at the accelerating posts on sites like Mashable, BuzzFeed, and Huffington Post. Here’s the best news: on a smaller scale, YOU can influence this factor.

What if you can drive traffic to a story you placed in a smaller outlet, so that it’s then a proven commodity? Then you point out to larger outlets that it’s performing well online, and, in contrast to being viewed as “old news,” it’s more appealing to them.

To do this successfully it helps for you to have an existing platform to reach a lot of your followers at once. Sure, your organization’s Twitter and Facebook feeds spring to mind, but the click-through rates from those are actually pretty low.

The best platforms for driving traffic to your placements are healthy email lists and high-traffic blogs.

One of my clients is a relatively small company but has built up an email newsletter with 360,000 subscribers. Another is a much larger organization with 500,000 subscribers. Of course, like all email newsletters, only a fraction of the total subscribers open any given email, but those are still powerful avenues for sharing links to media placements with followers.

An example of a powerful platform in blog form is Spin Sucks. It’s one of the top PR blogs in the world (as ranked by Cision, Forbes, Marketwired, and Traackr) with 72,000 unique visitors per month. Its principal voice is Gini Dietrich, co-founder and CEO of her own PR firm and a gifted writer. When she wants traffic to go somewhere, she has a platform in place to make that happen.

Gini is a loyal advocate for her “community,” as she refers to her blog readers. I’m honored she invited me to deliver a webinar for them on “Pitching Secrets of the New Media Relations Superstars.”

If you haven’t heard me speak yet, this is a quick way to get more depth on my sometimes contrarian approach to earning media coverage. (I only do free webinars 2-3 times a year).

The free webinar is a week from today at noon ET. Here's Gini's take on what I have to offer, along with more details on the free webinar.

This article was originally published on September 10, 2015

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