How to Use Traditional Media to Market Your Web Site
by Joan Stewart
If you create a great web site, don’t make the mistake of closing the door on traditional media as a way to market it.
Newspapers, magazines, newsletters and even radio shows remain excellent ways to capture the attention of people who might not know where to find you.
When I created my web site early this year primarily to market my subscription newsletter, The Publicity Hound, I vowed that I would write for as many print and on-line publications as possible. Since then, I’ve created more than a dozen articles that have appeared in various forms in more than 50 publications.
Sure, it’s time-consuming, but they have resulted in a steady flow of traffic to my site. And that has meant many new subscribers or people who want to buy back issues. Here are tips on how to use traditional media to market your site:
Establish yourself as an expert by writing how-to articles that give away free advice to your target audience. Start by writing just two or three articles that help people solve their biggest problems. A CPA, for example, might write “11 Mistakes You Don’t Want to Make When Dealing with the IRS.” A veterinarian might write about “9 Ways to Help Your Pets Beat the Heat.” Offer information in short bullets, such as the ones presented in this article.
Give one or two other resources where people can find more information that doesn’t compete with what you are offering.
At the end of each article, include an identifier paragraph listing your name, company, what you do and your web site URL. If you wish, you can also include your telephone number. But I’ve found it’s much easier if I include just my URL.
Insist that editors who publish your articles include the identifier paragraph. Without it, readers won’t know where to find you. If editors won’t agree to do this, don’t give them free articles.
In the identifier paragraph, you can also tell people that if they go to your web site, they will find a free report or a list of free tips on a topic that ties into your article.
With just a few minor changes, articles can be recycled and customized to fit the needs of many different audiences.
My favorite resource for finding print newsletters is the Oxbridge Directory of Newsletters, categorized by subject. Most major libraries have the print version. A shorter version is on the web at http://www.mediafinder.com/nlr_home.cfm.
A great online resource for finding newspapers and magazines is the All-in-One Media Directory by Gebbie Press at http://www.gebbieinc.com.
Don’t expect money in exchange for your articles. Many publications don’t pay. Besides, the amount of space you’ll be getting for free is worth far more than what you could probably afford if you had bought an ad.
If you do public speaking, offer the group a short article summarizing your presentation for their newsletter. You’ll get in front of the people you spoke to a second time, and you’ll hit those who missed the presentation. Don’t forget that important last paragraph listing your web site URL. And always offer a photo of yourself to accompany the article.
If you have a really great site, submit it to print publications that “review” web sites. USA Today Technology Editor Sam Vincent Meddis, for example, is looking for new site announcements. Visit the newspaper’s web site at http://www.usatoday.com/life/cyber/ch.htm, and send him an e-mail press release while you are there. New sites are announced every weekday, with a special expanded edition on weekends. Be sure to put “PR: (Title of Your Site) in the subject heading of your e-mail.
Get yourself booked on as many radio shows as possible. Be sure to ask the host to let you mention your URL.
Include your URL on clever bumper stickers.
Put it in your print advertisements.
Mention it on your fax cover sheet and invoices.
Include it when you are listed in business directories and trade publications.
Print your URL on colorful stickers that you attach to the outside of product packages.
***Joan’s bonus tip: Be sure to mention your URL on your voicemail or answering machine messages. I started doing this several months ago and have saved myself hundreds of dollars and a lot of time returning long-distance phone calls from people all over the country who want to know how to subscribe. Everything they need is right at my site. Give your callers an inducement to visit with a phrase like, “If you’re calling about how to obtain my mail-order catalog, come see me on the web at (your URL) where you’ll also find more than two dozen ideas creative ideas on how to use my fabrics.”
Joan Stewart is a media relations speaker, trainer and consultant. More information about her newsletter, The Publicity Hound, and lots of free publicity tips are at her web site at http://www.publicityhound.com.