It's no secret bloggers are the hot new target of new media savvy public relations professionals. Everyone wants to get coverage on the hot blog in their industry. What may be overlooked, however, is the continued power of newspapers when it comes to sparking a trickle-down conversation through the most popular blogs. Joe Mandese at MediaPost shares data on a new Millward Brown study showing that individuals who read online newspapers are more likely to be top "influencers" in the blogosphere than non-newspaper readers.

Joe writes:

According to the newspaper Web site influencer study, readers of newspaper sites are 52% more likely to be categorized as influencers - based on Mediamark Research Inc.'s definition of the consumer segment - than non-newspaper Web site readers.

The study found that, on average, adults who use newspaper Web sites influence 18 people weekly, 38% more than Web users who do not use a newspaper Web site.

The article goes on to point out that most consumers still feel an ad or article in a mainstream newspaper carries more credibility than ads on blogs, random web sites and social media networks. While I question just how much of a difference there is in judgement of credibility (anyone who has ever watched a focus group knows what people say and what they do don't always match up), there's no denying the fact that mainstream media DOES spark conversation.

What does this mean to you? Well, it means that while it may sound easier to root out the popular blogs and to fire off an email to them, there's real value in taking the time to craft a targeted press release or make a personal contact with the mainstream media. You don't need to have a subscription to one of the fancy media service directories to do this. In fact, it's pretty easy to keep a running spreadsheet file with the names and contact information of journalists who write articles that are relevant to your business.

In fact, I wrote an article about building relationships with the media earlier this fall outlining some tactics for building up your own media database. In it, I wrote:

Over the years I've built up a pretty decent list of journalists who have covered topics related to my various blogs and clients. Since I'm reading news related to these topics on a daily basis anyway, it's easy to pull the name and email address of a reporter into a database. If the article is of special interest, I may dash off an email or a blog comment to the reporting sharing my thoughts or simply thanking them for bringing attention to a specific topic. These contacts can come in extremely handy down the road when you're working up a story pitch.

A helpful hint? If you build a database like this, make sure you leave a field for links to articles they've covered and another field to make a few notes about what the article was about. You'll get a lot further with a reporter if your pitch includes reference to something they've written in the past and a creative way to tie your pitch into the past coverage.

Sitting down and crafting a media list and trying to come up with a pitch takes time. It certainly isn't easy. (This is why PR firms aren't cheap to hire.) That said, taking the time to add a name to a database after reading a really good article takes about a minute. Much like the pennies you find on a sidewalk, that effort can add up over time.

So keep working on your pitches to bloggers, but keep in mind that one good piece of media coverage can land you a ton of blog coverage as well.

December 11, 2007

Jennifer Laycock is the Editor of Search Engine Guide, the Social Media Faculty Chair for MarketMotive and offers small business social media strategy & consulting. Jennifer enjoys the challenge of finding unique and creative ways to connect with consumers without spending a fortune in marketing dollars. Though she now prefers to work with small businesses, Jennifer’s clients have included companies like Verizon, American Greetings and Highlights for Children.


Great reminder Jennifer not to pass up on traditional media. Earlier this year my LA based small business was featured in a national publication which came as a result of doing what you suggest.

Increased traffic is nice but full page printed stories look great on office walls.

Yeah, for the local Daily Arizona Daily Star newspaper here in Tucson. My company owns the SERPS for Tucson SEO related searches. This is all very nice, but the phone does not ring off the wall...
Or at least until the local newspaper featured us an SEO experts, in an article in the business section, about E-commerce.
This Internet SEO business took off not because of high search rankings, but because of an article in a newspaper. That article developed from a chance encounter with a reporter at a business mixer!
So lets see, a business mixer leads to a newspaper article that grows an Internet SEO business... All those great SERP's have not been as effective as one on one networking...
Even crazier still... I didn't work the crowd of 70 or so. I quietly sat in the corner of a darkened nightclub with the laptop displaying my SEO home page...
The rest is history.

Newspapers can make a comeback, especially if they embrace mobile marketing like the Houston Chronicle has. Just access from your cell phone browser and you'll see what they've done.

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