As PR pros we take a big chunk of our time creating exciting campaigns with a solid strategy that meets our clients’ goals. We pitch our most trusted contacts and strive for A-list media coverage. But even when we do get coverage in the top media outlets in our field the expected traffic does not follow. Coverage in the Huffington Post, People.com and other sites with millions of unique monthly users is all well and good, but clients are often disappointed if that media exposure is not accompanied by a boost to the brand’s website, if not some downright sales lift.
Why a lack of traffic? First, it is important to understand that even sites with millions unique monthly visitors have pages that are not noticed. The Unique Visitors Monthly (UVM) website traffic statistics are usually counted for an entire website, and not individual pages.
So the home page of People.com has six million UVMs, but your post may be buried way down and hard to find. Other sites are made up networks, so you might be featured in one area but the site’s traffic is stronger for another part of the site.
How can PR mangers ensure that an online post drives traffic and gets noticed? Here are five tips for maximizing posts from online magazines, news outlet, blogs and digital media.
1. Re-everything. Make sure your client reposts on all social media channels as soon as the link is live. It’s fine to ask the blogger to send you a link once it’s live, especially since your efforts will help her in return. Your agency should also repost on its Facebook and Twitter accounts while appropriate images should be posted on its Instagram and Pinterest pages. (Our agency produces a monthly newsletter in which we feature the top posts of the month, bringing additional visibility to our posts among new audiences.)
2. Be easy to find. Make sure that every communication has all social media information for the brand and that the information can be easily spotted by reporters, bloggers, and others. Identify bloggers who can be “brand champions” and work out a deal for them to repost a certain number of links a month, for example.
How many times have you noticed a story because someone you follow posted it, not because you saw it from the original source?
Prior to pitching media, know your SEO keywords and work them into your pitch. Media are likely to pull from your content and will include your key words in coverage, making the placement easier to find with organic search.
3. As seen on. If a campaign received a particularly impressive placement, consider an email blast with a promotion for that product to customers, and include a link to the post.
Customers love “as seen on,” and the media, particularly bloggers, will appreciate the extra effort to promote their sites.
This also gives your product additional credibility, especially from a respected voice in the market or industry. Make sure the blogger knows you are planning to do this so she can tweet a thank you.
4. Be (more) searchable. Include searchable keywords in photo captions and try and incorporate them into your client quotes. Ask the blogger if she can include alt tags in the image, which allows search engines to find the image. If you are promoting an infographic, submit yours to aggregators, which serve as resources for businesses and bloggers.
Provide links to bloggers from Google Analytics so you and your client know where the traffic is coming from and can work more closely with that blog, or try someplace new for the next time.
5. Be consistent. Success comes with being consistent and building on previous efforts. You know your target audience best, and how to reach them.
Time has been taken to develop the pitch and get it placed, now is the time to make sure you can reach the right audience with the right message. If you were able to secure that A-list placement, then chances are you have the tools and savvy to take it to the next level of visibility.
These are just a few ways to ensure that your virtual pass-along rate is the best it can be. Keep an open mind on new areas where you can promote your content.
Karen Bromley is principal of The Bromley Group. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article originally appeared in the May 26, 2014 issue of PR News. Read more subscriber-only content by becoming a PR News subscriber today.