The key to getting media coverage is to understand first of all what journalists sees as the main story, and second what messages the featured business wants to get across to the customers. Unless you have strong ideas in each of these areas, your PR efforts will not be successful.

In my previous article, The pinnacle of SEO and PR working together to get those editorial links, I showed how Majestic’s back link analysis can reveal the editorial context of any piece of publicity. In this post, I’m going to report the 10 media articles that included editorial links, and see what lessons can be learned.

Site Explorer, under the Backlinks tab, reports the URL of the page on which the link sits, and the URL of the page to which the link points:

 

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This gives you an immediate and unique perspective of any media coverage. By looking at those two pages, you’ll be able to infer the answers to our two core questions:

  • From the journalist’s point of view what is the story about?
  • What messages does the business want their customers to see?

From the journalist’s point of view, what is the story about?

 

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What is the crux of the story? Understanding this gives you a firm idea of what journalists look for in the stories they write about. And that means you can pitch them better ideas.

How do you think the story got there? Was it in response to a press release? (If so, do a Google search to see if you can find it) Does it appear to be a brief from an editor? Is it a story the journalist has a personal interest in? Is the story designed to explore a current trend?

Who does the journalist quote or interview in the article? Why do you think they choose people to interview? What do you think the quotes add to the story?

The more you can take the story apart, the more you will get inside the head of a journalist – and from that you will better understand what they may want in the future.

What messages does the business want their customers to get?

 

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Of course, the business only has partial control over what might go in the story.

However, a business that is media savvy will decide in advance what they would like to see in the story. And the more they are clear about this, and the more they can deliver it with surprise or uniqueness, then the more likely the journalist is to use it.

So take a careful look at the article from the business perspective. Explore questions like:

Is there a powerful and memorable message in the story? If there is, what inspiration can you take from it? If there is no great message in the story, why do you think that was and what would you do to improve it?

When the business owner is quoted, are the quotes interesting? Do they tell a story?

Are other people from the business involved? I like to look for stories about three groups of people – the business owner, the customers and the staff. You’re unlikely to get all three into a single story but looking for these personal stories makes you think about what you could say for your own company or your client.

Is there something worthwhile to link to? The first step in getting an editorial link to to ask for one – and back your request up with great content that the journalist will want to share with their readers.

Tiny home test drive – New York Times

This article follows the classic theme – letting the journalist try out your product and report on the results.

 

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This is a detailed article that includes a video and external links to many resources. The opening sentence explains what the article is going to be about – “last week, the first tenants moved into the city’s first micro-apartment development on East 27th Street. I did, to, for one night”.

The article explores a new development from New York architects, nArchitects. Not only do the company get great coverage that will be appropriate to anyone considering living in a small space – a growing trend in New York – but they also get to appeal to other developers by explaining their philosophy. Here is an important quote: “the building is a trial balloon for a medley of themes – the changing demographic of the city… A culture eager to make smaller environmental footprint… And affordable housing”.

There are high production values in the creation of this piece – the reporter has friends round to the apartment for dinner and the video shows the small space in active use. Obviously a lot of work has gone into it. Many editorial links are included – and not just to home pages – to specific deep pages.

I would guess that the architects pitched this idea specifically to the New York Times. And as part of their pitch, they researched extensive detail and resources that would save the journalist time and make the piece authoritative.

Takeaway: For your business or client, ask yourself is your product suitable for a reporter to try out? And what resources and websites could you compile, that would make their reporting job so much easier?

Motivate young savers – Washington Post

“How do we get young adults to see that saving for retirement must be a priority?”. That’s what the story is all about. Columnist, Michelle single party relates to a personal story of Hall to pass on good advice to her own 15-year-old daughter. She believes that, “maybe we have to let them help themselves”.

 

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In doing so she comes across an entertaining app from Merrill Edge Bank, called ‘Face Retirement’. This lets the user take a photograph of themselves using their web cam, and then allows them to see a mockup of how they will look 20, 30, or even 40 years from now.

The columnist not only gives them an editorial link, but that link points directly to the page on which the app sits – not just the homepage. (In a previous article, ‘Link Building: 3 strong pillars of value’ I have shown that this page has at least 350 referring domains)

The business gets positive media coverage showing them as an entertaining company, a potentially high number of click through’s and also specific marketing messages, for example, “Everything you do today, impacts your life tomorrow,” and “That’s not a stranger you are saving for, it is future you”.

This is a great example of getting an editorial link that points to a deep page on your site.

Takeaway: Is there a way that you can provide something useful and entertaining on your site that could generate similar links?

Repair businesses provide antidote to throwaway culture – BBC

This article is another classic type of media article. It takes a particular topic – repair businesses – and does a quick editorial around three businesses.

 

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From the journalist’s point of view, story is about “the idea of mending things, as opposed to replacing them, is one that is gaining traction in the US”.

There are plenty of quotes from participating businesses – and the more colourfully you present your ideas, the more likely it is that a reporter will build a story writing them.

For example one quote from Denim Therapy stands out – “sometimes repair will cost more than the price of the genes, and still people want to do it, because they are attached to them”.

This is probably a reporter writing up a piece after getting a brief from her editor – perhaps after getting a press release from one company. The writer will want to show balance and so will do Google searches to find some competing companies she could write about to provide balance.

Takeaway: There are at least two lessons here – first, imagine what searches a journalist will do when researching and optimise your pages for that. And second, make sure you spend time preparing and practising memorable quotes that you could use. Having these roll off the tongue could make all the difference between getting coverage and not.

Having a baby left me with no career path. It was the best thing to happen to me. The Guardian

This story explores heart women in the gig economy is doing women no favours. Not only does it mean that pregnant women have no legal rights the paternity leave and pay, but it also makes women question whether, with such unstable finances, they will be able to have children at all.

 

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However the article picks out a positive story of how one freelance mother launched an online culture and lifestyle magazine, The Early Hour, published daily at 5 AM and aimed at early risers.

It is an inspirational story and allows the business to explain how mother who would has made her efficient productive and committed.

And of course it gives a nice editorial link to the online magazine.

Takeaway: Are other elements of your own or your client’s business experience that have universal appeal? How can you turn that into an interesting narrative that could attract media coverage?

Taking the stigma out of buying used electronics – New York Times

 

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This article explores “how a used electronic sold by a reputable brand can often be as good as buying new”. It includes links to multiple websites, and publishes quotes from their representatives.

There are a number of editorial links in the article but for me one of the standout quotes is from Dave Maquera, the president of Gazelle who makes a great comparison – he said, “similar to the inspection programs used by certified pre-owned car dealers, gazelles process creates a new level of confidence in buying used phones and computers.”

People may not be used to buying used electronics, so the comparison with something they are already familiar with is sure to strike a chord – and make the concept more acceptable to sceptical customers.

Takeaway: What memorable quotes can you come up with about your business? Do they address a basic injection the potential customers might have to your product?

Selling surfers on a new way to ride the waves

People love entrepreneurial stories.

 

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Where did the idea come from, how was the business funded and if and when it became successful. It’s questions like these that the journalist addresses in this article.

The first paragraph starts off with a question that many entrepreneurs must ask themselves. “How to create a market for a product that most people have never heard off, and for the sport they know nothing about?”

The unusual product is a handboard for surfing that allows users to move faster and have more control in the water. The product idea was born from pulling surfboards apart to make them perform better. The man behind the business is Steve Watts, Australian-born and now living in Los Angeles. And the message he wants to get across – “we give customers a surfing experience no matter what skill level or age”.

The key to their success has been an ambassador program that is over 50 strong.

Takeaway: Having worked with hundreds of entrepreneurs over the years, I think that one of the most common things is they don’t really realise how individual and exciting their entrepreneurial journey has been. Yet this is an area of great interest to the media and exploring it from your own experience or your clients can be very productive. Spend time talking to your client or reviewing your own experience and then craft a compelling narrative from what you find.

Here are another 4 examples of editorial links that we’ve used in writing these two articles (see The pinnacle of SEO and PR working together to get those editorial links )

Solving delivery problems in a gridlocked city – BBC

Building an Estate Sales Business by Franchising a Name and a Brand – New York Times

Choosing to Skip the Upgrade and Care for the Gadget You’ve Got – New York Times

Brooklyn’s Wearable Revolution – New York Times

If you want to sharpen your own PR skills, have a look at the 4 articles and answer our two core questions:

  • From the journalist’s point of view what is the story about?
  • What messages does the business want their customers to see?

I’ll be coming back to this topic of editorial links so if you have any examples you’d like to share, or have any questions, please share in the comments below.

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Comments

  • Clay Smith

    Hi there Ken,

    This is the best editorial link that I’ve ever seen on digital marketing niche. I’m running a small blog, with big hope; I would really like to receive your email newsletter and any strategy from you.

    Cheers,

    Clay Smith

    (Link removed)

    November 12, 2016 at 5:24 pm

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