Almost every website owner has the same goal; get more traffic to the website. You can market your website using PPC ads, search engine optimization, and social media marketing, but one of the best ways to do this is by getting more press coverage. Getting mentioned in the press has several distinct advantages, including getting new exposure across multiple outlets and opening the door to new publication relationships, but there is one major disadvantage: the cost.
Depending on the nature of your release and where you plan on distributing it, a single press release could cost hundreds to thousands of dollars, which most new businesses don’t have available to spend (especially if you’re a solopreneur).
Fortunately, there’s more than one way that you can get press coverage for your new website without paying a dime.
How to Get Free Press
Try using these strategies to earn some free press for your new website:
- Prioritize local outreach. According to Active Web Group, one of the easiest ways to pick up free press for your business is through local outreach. Here, you’ll be contacting local outlets such as city newspapers or regional publishers in hopes that you’ll be picked up for a story. Local outlets have less visibility than their national counterparts, but they’ll also demand less effort and will have less competition to deal with. Usually, you can find a contact’s email address on their respective websites; write a detailed pitch about your new site and why it would benefit your community to learn about it. You’ll probably get at least a couple of bites, whether you’re asked to write the full article or are interviewed for more details.
- Partner with other companies and organizations. You could also get press by piggybacking off other companies and organizations. For example, if there’s a nonprofit organization hosting a fundraiser in the building across the street, you could offer your parking lot as additional parking or donate some of your equipment to the cause. Doing so increases the likelihood that you’ll get mentioned in the inevitable news article that covers the event.
- Get involved with public events and efforts. Next, you could monitor the news for upcoming local events, and make an effort to involve yourself in them. For example, if there’s an event for entrepreneurs coming up, you could offer to become a speaker or otherwise volunteer your services. Then, track down the journalists covering the event, and make your presence known.
- Use HARO. Rather than taking action and hoping journalists cover it, you could figure out what journalists are looking for and proactively give it to them. Help a Reporter Out (HARO) is an organization that connects journalists with business owners, professionals, and other experts to gather opinions and information. Simply browse through different journalistic requests, provide information for what you can, and you’ll likely get your name and site mentioned when the article is released to the public.
- Write and circulate your own press releases. According to Hubspot, it’s entirely possible to write and syndicate your own press release-and they even offer a template to help you do it. If you do write your own press release, know that there are certain formatting and editorial standards you’ll have to follow. Once it’s written, you can start distributing it; generate a list of potential publishers by searching for news outlets in your area and your niche. From there, you can use “contact” pages or social media profiles to get in contact with individual reporters with beats close to what you have to offer. Sending your press release manually will take lots of extra time–but if you’re tight on cash, it’s a viable alternative to get picked up by potentially dozens of different outlets.
Knowing When to Escalate
These strategies can help you generate initial visibility for your website, but they’re only going to get you so far. Unless you have some hook that can help you go viral (such as a free offer or uniquely compelling content), you’ll eventually have to invest more in your marketing and PR campaigns. Scaling a site effectively comes down to timing, so as soon as you start to see a steady stream of revenue, consider investing a portion of your income into new visibility strategies. Don’t go overboard with your new investments until you’re sure you know which strategies are most effective for your site.