Why is online PR important? Every company has a public image which reflects what people think about them and why people choose to do business with them. A PR savvy company is able to influence their public image in a beneficial way. It enables you to put forward your voice and dictate the conversation rather than risking others doing it for you and getting it wrong.

All businesses, even small ones, will benefit from having some kind of digital PR strategy. Small acorns grow into mighty oak trees and all that! Building backlinks is a great place to start. The internet is like a popularity contest and a backlink (a link from another website back to yours) is just like being talked about. If you are being talked about (getting backlinks) then in the eyes of Google, you must be popular. By undertaking some basic digital PR, you can make sure that your customers only see the good stuff when they put your name into Google. That said, we totally appreciate that not everyone has the budget or the time to invest in link building. We also understand that not everyone enjoys doing outreach.

With that in mind, this blog focuses on how you can answer requests from journalists to get your products and services noticed online and potentially create some inbound links back to your website. In the digital marketing world, it’s referred to as inbound PR and it works by you supporting someone else’s article rather than allocating time and money to writing your own.

You will have subconsciously seen this tactic at play thousands of times on editorial-led sites. For example, interior design magazines love to publish articles on inspirational design trends and to find unique angles they ask interior designers for their comments and ideas. If their comments are used, the magazine will source the designer/company within the article (and potentially link back to their website if published online).

How do you find these requests from journalists? Here are three easy and free ways to help you get started…

  1. Search #JournoRequests and #PRrequests on Twitter and sign up to the JournoRequests daily digest of PR opportunities to ensure you get relevant opportunities delivered to your inbox.
  2. Visit HARO (Help A Reporter Out) and register as a source, select your preferences and at three intervals (morning, lunch and evening) you will get an email asking you for stories. You will be able to see a list of stories that journalists are looking to write about, that may be relevant for you to provided comment on.
  3. Sign up as a source on SourceBottle. Select your topics and await the email alerts that will come into your inbox. Just click on the link within the email for full details on the call out and if you able to help, respond online.

Top tip:

Make sure you respond with exactly what they have asked for. For example, if they have asked you to supply one image, supply one – not 10! If they have asked for 50 words, refrain from writing everything you know and deliver the wordcount specified. Otherwise, your efforts may be discarded at the first post without even being read. Finally, check the deadline. There is often a very short window so, you will need to jump on things quickly.

As with most things, little and often works best so, sign up to one or all of the sites above to ensure you receive regular opportunities into your inbox to get your company, products and services mentioned online. You’ll soon be the talk of the town!