Lean in to your monitor. No, a little bit closer. More … There you go.
I’d like to let you in on a secret most PR professionals don’t know: Some of the easiest placement opportunities you’ll ever land for a client or employer are found using one of the most common online tools—Google. It’s completely under-appreciated as a PR tool.
Let me share a few specific details, so you can get clients more visibility online. (By the way, you can stop leaning in now.) After all, when you do things that other PR pros don’t think of doing, or don’t know to do, it puts you that much further ahead of the game.
1. Use Google to identify where you can submit press releases, articles, and guest blog posts.
When you have a press release, do you ever consider investing a few hours searching for places to manually post your news?
Simply doing a Google search for “submit press release” or “submit news” can bring up an amazing number of opportunities. Be sure to try a variety of different searches to see what comes up, including the name of your city, industry, and/or product category.
For example, if you have a press release announcing a new home community in Scottsdale, Ariz., you might try the following searches:
• “submit news Scottsdale”;
• “submit your news az”;
• “submit news real estate”;
• “submit news new homes.”
You get the idea.
Searches are not case sensitive. Include the phrase in quotation marks, though. If you don’t, Google will bring up results for each word in the phrase, instead of ones exactly matching it.
You can also try “submit article” variations, if you want to place an article or blog post. Also, Google “write for us,” “submit guest post,” and other similar phrases. Sort through the results to see what applies to your client and topic or industry. The searches may take a little time to sleuth out the opportunities, but the overall process is very simple.
2. Use Google’s “Search News” and “Blog Search” features.
If you click the “News” tab atop the Google homepage and perform a search, such as “az new home sales,” it will automatically bring up the latest news stories on new home sales in Arizona—or whatever other topic you search. You can even customize the search period, which is important if you want news in the last month, instead of the last 24 hours, for example.
Just think of the implications. With a two second search, you can:
• Identify trending local or national news on your client’s industry, product, or service;
• See what has already been covered by reporters;
• Keep track of your client’s competitors to see who is getting coverage;
• Spot article opportunities to post an opinion or thought-leadership comment on behalf of your client.
Also, if you click the “More” tab atop the Google search page, and then “even more” in the drop down, you’ll find “Blog Search“—meaning whatever you put in that search field will bring up search results within blogs only.
Why is this beneficial? To identify guest blog post opportunities in a certain industry or topic. Let’s say we were still working on that new home builder client, and you wanted to find real estate blogs in Arizona, or national real estate blogs covering Arizona real estate news. This is where to do it.
3. Use Google Alerts to identify clips, comment opportunities, and fresh news.
Google Alerts enables users to receive an email every time news about their client or company hits the Internet. Most users set up alerts for the company name, stock symbol, executive names, brand or product names, etc. It enables them to capture a copy of the clip and monitor mentions.
One unlikely way to use Google Alerts for PR is to identify news articles where your client or company can post a client comment. When a news article hits that is relevant to your client—but the client isn’t mentioned in the story—posting a comment is a great way to join the conversation.
You can set up alerts to email you immediately when news goes live. This is important because you need to act quickly when posting comments, so it isn’t lost.
This practice also helps you identify reporters that should be on your media list. If they cover a topic relevant to your client, these reporters should be evaluated and potentially added to your list.
One last thing: If your client has a blog post related to the news item you are commenting on, include a link back to that post, so readers can learn more about the same topic or continue the conversation. You can even create a custom post for the specific opportunity and topic before you post the comment—if you can act fast enough to get it through your approval channels.
What search-related tips and tactics do you use? Share them in the comments section.
Carrie Morgan is a digital PR, content marketing, and social media consultant. A version of this story first appeared on her blog Rock the Status Quo.