Want to get covered by the top blogs in your industry?
It’s the dream of thousands of businesses and startups—having your product promoted for free by the blogging experts in your industry.
But all too often, I see these very companies making huge mistakes and losing out on potential blog coverage.
Today, I’m going to explain the six things you need to have to get the attention of top bloggers and get promoted by them.
I won’t be covering the pitching process, just a few on-site changes that can make the difference between “internet fame” and crickets when you launch a product.
It all boils down to a simple idea: make the bloggers’ job as easy as possible.
Let’s get started!
1. Include screenshots and product photos
There’s nothing more annoying as a blogger than finding what sounds like a fantastic product or service and not being able to find a high-quality photo.
Brian Dean’s 2016 analysis of a million search engine results showed that images are important for pages to rank well in Google.
Because of that, most bloggers are on the lookout for product photos or screenshots.
But when a company can’t provide them? Well, sometimes the product gets cut.
There have been countless times when I’ve had to leave a company or product out of an article because I didn’t have immediate access to a photo.
The same goes for tiny or partial screenshots that aren’t big enough for a blog feature. It doesn’t take very long to get a few high-quality screenshots of a program in use.
If you have a physical product, the photography is difficult but even more important since I can’t make my own screenshots.
Macmillan, the book publisher, makes a point to provide high-resolution versions of the cover images for all of their books.
This is fantastic for book bloggers, who might be doing reviews of their books and want to include a high-quality cover image.
It’s easy to forget about the “little guy” bloggers, but remember—added together, they can make a big difference in the success of any product.
2. Offer a demo or free trial
This applies if you’re offering software. A free trial or demo is a great way to let bloggers or journalists get an inside look at what you’re offering, to see if it’s worth covering.
With a free trial, a blogger can sign up and play around with your software a bit before writing a review.
With a demo, you provide a login where someone can explore what you have to offer without setting up their own account. These are less common but can be helpful as well.
(It’s even better if the demo has some sample so I can see how to use the program without manually entering information.)
Crazy Egg, the heatmap app, has a free 30-day trial. This is the perfect amount of time for bloggers to learn about the software and promote it.
3. Have a press or media page
Imagine something huge has happened with your company, and you’ve suddenly become a media darling.
All the local news organizations (and a few national ones) are asking for information, and Google Alerts is sending links to blog posts raving about your company every few hours.
It’d be amazing, right? But without a media or press page, you’d effectively kill that kind of coverage before it started.
Media companies and bloggers are often interested in information about your company that your average customer might not care about.
We want to know things about how many customers you have, who your CEO is, and what your goals for the company are.
We also want to know the nitty-gritty details, like the timeline of your company or any partnerships you have with other organizations.
While you’re at it, offer a high-resolution logo and photos of your founder, CEO, and other key employees.
The more you make available to them, the higher your chances are for being included.
A great example of a company doing a media page extremely well is Facebook’s Newsroom.
In addition to a detailed company history, great photos, and executive team bios, they have B-Roll video, a live stock chart, and just about everything else a journalist could need.
4. Make your site’s purpose clear
All too often, I land on a site that has no clear purpose. Sure, I get the idea that it does something useful to lawyers, or accountants, or some other industry, but that’s about it.
Unless I’m intimately familiar with that field, I can’t really tell what the company does. It’s full of industry-specific jargon or assumes knowledge the average person doesn’t have.
Make sure that your homepage has a clear statement that tells casual visitors what the site is all about.
If nothing else, it at least keeps people who aren’t your target customer from wasting time on your site.
A great example of a super-clear homepage is Basecamp.
As soon as you land on the site, you know it’s a project management app that’s used by over two million companies.
If I’m working on a post discussing great project management apps, then I know I’m in the right place.
5. Showcase coverage by bloggers alongside other media outlets
Bloggers want to be taken seriously.
While things have changed a lot in the past few decades, blogs still don’t hold the prominence of a major news outlet like CNN or The New York Times.
By featuring blog coverage alongside mainstream media, you’re sending a message to bloggers that you value their opinion just as much as those other outlets.
Squarespace is a company that’s doing a great job, listing blog mentions alongside features in major news outlets.
6. Ditch the “marketing-ese”
There’s little that’s more annoying than going to a company’s website to try to find out something about them and being confronted with “marketing-ese”.
Remember—not everyone who visits your site is there to buy. Sometimes, influencers like me are just looking to understand your company to include it in an article.
If we understand it and like it, we can refer you a lot of buyers, trust me.
But if it’s not clear what you do because every sentence on your site is a hard sell pitch for your product, we’ll probably never feature you.
Everything on your site should be easy to understand, both for bloggers you’re hoping to get coverage from and customers you’re trying to sell to.
Be clear and make it straight-forward and friendly, rather than always going for the hard sell.
Basecamp is again a perfect example: they present a clear explanation of what they do without pushing you to buy in every sentence.
7. Cultivate relationships with relevant bloggers
Whether you’re willing to admit it or not, the reality is that relationships drive a lot of the traffic on the internet behind the scenes.
A blogger is far more likely to promote someone he or she knows personally, so set yourself up for success by starting this outreach as soon as possible.
Why does this matter?
For the simple reason that we’re more likely to promote people we like, and we like people who like us.
So if you want to start getting more coverage, start being the kind of person they’d want to cover.
A lot of people start reaching out to bloggers to feature their product, but they get turned down because there isn’t a relationship already. Don’t be like those people.
Instead, start building relationships with relevant bloggers. Help them and add value to what they’re building before you ask for a favor.
There are a lot of ways to do this.
One way is to share what they write. Keep track of what they’re writing and share pieces you like with your audience. Even if your audience is tiny, every bit helps.
Next, link to them from your site. Show that you’re recommending them to your readers.
And finally, a little flattery can go a long way, so don’t be afraid to compliment them. Sending a simple email or tweet can be the start of a great relationship.
Show that you appreciate their work, that you’ve followed their advice (and have been successful with it), and you read what they write.
Of course, doing this just for coverage isn’t the right mindset. But as you build friendships with others and help them out, they’re more likely to return the favor.
Getting positive media coverage can make a huge difference in the success of a business.
But all too often, companies focus on getting attention from the big-name media outlets covering their industry rather than bloggers.
Those smaller players in the media world might not seem important, but together they might just be more influential than their traditional media counterparts.
It’s important to make your PR efforts blogger-friendly.
Make your site easy to understand, provide plenty of pictures and details, and show bloggers you care about what they have to say.
At the end of the day, it’s all about making the work easier for a blogger. The easier it is, the more likely they’ll talk about your company in their next article.
How will you make your company site easier for bloggers to cover?
About the Author: Cameron Chapman is a freelance designer, blogger, and the author of Internet Famous: A Practical Guide to Becoming an Online Celebrity.