What's the point of press coverage?

If you run your own business, you may be wondering if it’s worth bothering with traditional PR i.e. coverage in newspapers, magazines and on radio & TV.

You get that it could raise your profile, but you're not sure how it could impact the bottom line of your business.

Here’s four reasons why you should care about traditional PR.

1.It will boost your credibility

Not everyone gets the chance to be interviewed for the BBC or quoted in a top-selling magazine like Marie Claire or Grazia. So if journalists from those kinds of publications or programmes think it’s worth talking to you - or featuring your products - you must be brilliant at what you do.

That’s what your prospective customers or clients will think when they visit your website and it says (ideally on the homepage) ‘as featured in’ the Guardian, Telegraph, BBC, Marie Claire, Huffington Post….’ (or wherever you have been featured). It will also impress potential sponsors, brands, book publishers, event organisers who are looking for speakers - anyone you’d love to work with, in fact.

And of course you don’t just get to share your media success on your website. Talking about your media appearances on your social media platforms - and sharing photographs, links and cuttings where possible - will also help you spread the word that you’re brilliant at what you do.

Vintage Style expert Kate Beavis has been featured in many national publications, including The Guardian, Elle, Psychologies, Marie Claire & Cosmopolitan,which she believes has raised her credibility. She's also appeared on national TV.

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Kate Beavis with Eamonn Holmes from ITV's This Morning, after she appeared on the show

2.It will sends traffic to your website

Being featured in the press often means getting a link back to your website from a more influential site. Not only can this be great for your domain authority (which means you should rank high higher in Google), it will also send traffic to your website.

For example, this article I wrote for the Guardian on how to write a press release (published three years ago) sends tons of traffic my way, as do my other articles for the Guardian on small business PR. This particular article ranks on the first page of Google - above my article on my own blog on the topic.

Relocation consultant Melanie Haynes says this article (published over 18 months ago) on how she built a business out of being an expat in Copenhagen still sends her leads and clients, as does her regular column in the expat newspaper the local dk.

Arabel Lebrusan jewellers saw a huge spike in web traffic when this Daily Mail article appeared about an unusual wedding proposal - featuring one of their engagement rings.

Even if you don’t get a link back to your website, if people read an article that features you or hear you on the radio talking about something that interests them, they will ‘Google’ you and head over to your website to find out more.

3.It can help you get clients and customers

If you’re getting more traffic to your website as a result of your press coverage, these are leads you can convert into customers.

Designer and photographer Emma Mapp had a huge increase in orders after her stylish camera bag was featured in the Guardian’s 2016 Christmas Gift Guide. She’s also made sales from her coverage in Stylist and various in-flight magazines.

This article I wrote for PR Week on why I think every PR professionals should spend time in a newsroom before they practice landed me a consultancy job worth around £2k plus dozens of sales of my book. I have even got clients from this piece I wrote about why we need to talk more about miscarriage - proof that people like to do business with people.

Academic Lucy Parsons had a big surge in book sales after her article on how to ace every exam you’ll ever take appeared in the Daily Telegraph. She also got a coaching client directly from the article.

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Emma Mapp's camera bag was featured in Stylist magazine resulting in an increase in orders

4.It’s free

A few figures for you:

Cost of a full page advert in a regional newspaper: around £2k/$3k (based on rate card price)

Hiring a PR company £12k/$18k a year (based on three days a month at a modest rate)

Cost of a full page advert in national newspaper £20k/$30k (based on rate card price)

Cost of getting coverage in a magazine or newspaper £0/$0

It gets better; not only is coverage in the media absolutely free, it’s also better for your business or brand. A journalist choosing to feature you because they think their audience will be interested in what you do (rather than because you’ve thrown a wad of cash at them for an advert) will give you far more credibility.

That being said PR is not a quick-fix solution. While you do hear of the odd article that leads to mass sales, for most business owners, PR is a marathon, not a sprint. A one-off feature in a newspaper or radio interview isn’t going to make you millions. But a steady stream of newspaper and magazine articles, and radio & TV appearances over a number of months - or more realistically - years, will help you build credibility and make sales.

If you’re serious about getting PR, you’ll need to roll up your sleeves and put in the ground work. As with anything you achieve in your business, success is rarely the result of a one-off action. It comes from a series of actions you repeat, day after day, week after week, until you get so good at it, you can almost do it in your sleep.

My blog and podcast are full of resources to help. But if you’re keen to get started and don’t want to waste time searching for everything you need,  join my online PR course Soulful PR for Starters.

You’ll be guided, step-by-step through everything you need to learn to get high-profile media coverage for your business. While you’re working through the course, you’ll also get access to me - both in a dedicated Facebook group and on a series of live coaching calls.

Click here if you're ready to learn more about Soulful PR for Starters.

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