PR Outreach – Radio, TV, Magazines, and News [Real Examples]

by Peter Attia on January 9, 2014

I know it’s been a while since I’ve put anything up, but now that the holidays are (finally) over, I have a little bit of breathing room. Since my time has been sparse lately, I’m going to batch up several different post ideas into one. They all revolve around local PR.

Aside from some brief info on radio advertising, all these methods are completely free.

What Does PR Have to do With Search?

I’m a firm believer that PR is a stones throw away from search and social. They make great accents to each other, especially if you’re focusing on local markets or brick and mortar businesses.

Think about the visits your business or client gets when you get a review on a popular blog. An interview on a local news section or paper has the same potential with physical visitors. In person traffic also has a higher chance to convert since they’ve committed to going to your establishment, however it’s an absolute bitch to track. I’ll cover that later, but for now here are some examples.

All the below examples are for Skinny Limits, which provides vegan products in retail locations and raw juices nationally.

Example 1: Local Paper Excerpt

This is going to be one of the easier ones. Local papers always have sections about what’s changing in the area. The content varies drastically depending on the size of your city, but there’s always something.

Below is an example of something we caught in a paper:

local news PR

I know the image is a little fuzzy, so basically this is a monthly section that tells you every establishment that’s opened, had an anniversary, or is doing something out of the ordinary in the city. Considering we had both an anniversary coming up, as well as new establishments popping up, this was an easy win. There was a contact column for this section of the paper, as seen below.

finding newspaper contact

They couldn’t have made it any easier. Local papers are getting a little more savvy (desperate) and are making it easier for people to reach out. Our marketing associate reached out with a simple email as seen below:

pr contact example email

From here it lead to a phone call and then a listing in said section of the paper.

Easy!

Example 2: Radio Mention

This ones a bit tricker. Radio advertising is massively over priced, so you can’t just ask for a mention.

Skinny Limits had a customer who came into the shop a few times and we discovered he ran a radio segment. Everyone made sure he was well taken care of when he visited.

I also found his twitter profile and tried to interact with him through our company account when possible. Basically, everyone made an effort to build a relationship with him.

radio lunchbox

Weeks later one of his co-hosts mentioned he was considering doing a cleanse and he gave Skinny Limits a shout out.

This is the traffic we received for that day:

analytics radio mention

At the time, this was a pretty successful day for us and brought in extra business for several days. However, it was short lived.

If you’re curious about the actual segment, you can listen to it here – Skinny Radio Mention

Soon after, they approached us about advertising on their show. Considering we got a decent amount of business from the one segment, we decided to give it a shot. For the next 2 months our segment ran, and while we got some extra trickle in business, it ultimately didn’t seem worth the cost.

I noticed it performed better as an introductory step to other forms of advertising. For example, we had an expo event soon after and several people mentioned hearing our ad on the radio. This was one of our highest converting days in expo sales, as people knew about us before they saw our booth.

Would I pay for radio advertising again? No. Would I try to target a natural mention again? Fuck yes.

Example 3: Live News Segment

Ok, while the example I’m presenting comes off easy, I attempted this several times before I got a bite.

The first thing that happened, is a follower we noticed on our twitter account:

fox reporter on twitter

After searching for any sort of contact information, the most valuable thing I could find was her Facebook account. So, I went for it.

news outreach on facebook

And she responded:

fox facebook outreach

I can’t share the entire conversation, but basically we were willing to bend over backwards and accomodate them with anything they needed to create their segment. This was the end result:

This became one of our busiest days at our store locations, but had little effect on our online sales. That was surprising considering the outcome of our radio mention.

Ultimately, it required little effort from us and was absolutely worth it. However, it necessitated some persistence. I reach out to roughly 12 people from various news networks before bearing any fruit.

Example 4: News Paper Article

Here’s another one for the paper, but for an actual article. We spotted a food section in a local paper, as seen below:

local austin food paper

This looked like a great section for us to be in, so we sought out a contact. After a minute of searching, it ended up being right in front of us:

local austin paper contact

I also did a quick search for her name and found some additional contact info, although it wasn’t necessary in this instance.

newspaper contact

Knowing this wasn’t as simple as asking a blogger to write a review, we attempted to soften her up a bit and mentioned we wanted to send her some samples to get her opinion.

newspaper outreach example

We went through the entire process of setting up a sample pack and got it out to her. I followed up with her the day she received her samples and she enjoyed the product. Soon after, we got a section in the paper:

pr in newspaper

Example 5: Magazine Article Mention

Lastly, here is how we landed a free shout out in a magazine article that costs well over $1k to advertise in for one month.

By chance, one of Skinny Limits’s owners picked up a magazine while in a waiting room and stumbled onto an article mentioning juicing. The editor stated they wanted to try juicing next month.

magazine outreach

This was an obvious opportunity for us to provide the author with their juice, in hopes of a shout out in the magazine.

After some digging, I found that this author was part of several different groups and was well recognized, but they did a damn good job of hiding any direct contact. I resorted to reaching out to them on Twitter, as it was the only direct contact I could find.

twitter magazine outreach

Another easy win! Our mention wasn’t huge, but it did give us a spot alongside much larger competitors, when normally we’d have gotten no mention at all.

magazine mention

We also got a nice positive review post on the magazines blog, which wasn’t the intention, but was absolutely welcomed!

skinny limits review

How to Spot PR Opportunities

I think people make this more complicated than it is. You know all those blogs you follow, comment on, and tweet about? Treat traditional media the exact same way. Subscribe to several local magazines and newspapers, follow local news social handles, and set up Google Alerts for relevant local terms.

Scan it all on your lunch hour until you find something even slightly relevant and just reach out. Do whatever you can to help that person find something to write about you. Provide them with whatever ammunition they need.

It isn’t more complicated than that. A lot of you do these same exact things when targeting blogs.

What do I Offer for PR

This isn’t straight forward. Every business is going to be different with divergent expendable resources. In most of the above instances, we were able to offer samples. However, just because you don’t have an inexpensive resource, doesn’t mean you’re screwed.

Let’s take the automative sales space as an example. If you run a dealership, you obviously can’t giveaway cars in exchange for PR (unless it’s a damn good deal).

But here are some things you may be able to do:

  • Sponsor a car for an event
  • Sponsor a van to help someone less fortunate move
  • Cut a percentage of your next few sales and donate it
  • If you’re expanding into a new space, offer that space up to an event until you move in. (It’s just sitting there anyway)
  • Create a reoccurring event for awareness and anticipation, for example a bi-yearly run that is donation based.

I’m going to be straight up, I have no experience in the automotive space and I pulled these entirely out of my ass. These could very well bomb. The point is, there’s always something expendable aside from your product.

How to Track PR Performance

This is probably the most difficult thing I ran into, and to be blunt, you’re not going to find a perfect way to do it. Here are some things we used for various instances.

  • If it’s something on print, but are selling a digital product, try a coupon code
  • If it’s digital, but want to sell in the physical world, try a printable coupon
  • If it’s print that’s in a neighborhood close to your physical location, try a coupon insert
  • If it’s a radio or tv broadcast, make it easy and have them mention the segment to redeem a discount
  • If it’s an expo or physical event, give them a coupon they can redeem at a physical location
  • If you have cashiers or clerks, simply have them ask the customer how they hard about you, and keep a list they can tick off
  • Create a survey card where customers receive a discount for submitting

I’m admittedly telling you these are not full proof, and you’re going to end up with a giant stack of coupons and papers that are going to be equally hard to organize, but it’s something. Anything you can do to track, helps.

Conclusion

A lot of you have already done these same exact things, but focus on the digital side of it. They work just as well with other forms of media.

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Michael J. Kovis January 9, 2014 at 11:14 am

I’ll get the discussion started… because this is fantastic stuff Pete! We need more real world examples of PR outreach being published on a regular basis. These are perfect examples of how we can still find digital value in traditional media.

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Peter Attia January 9, 2014 at 11:28 am

I was a little hesitant when I first started approaching traditional stuff, because I’d never worked with it much. I was pleasantly surprised when it was almost exactly like reaching out to bloggers.

I only approached these from the perspective of having a local business though. I’m not 100% sure how effective they’d be for a company that didn’t have walk up business. I know there would be even more severe tracking issues, which was already difficult.

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Gaz Copeland January 9, 2014 at 2:48 pm

Hey Peter – “bearing any fruit” don’t you go thinking we missed that pun, it wasn’t wasted.

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Peter Attia January 9, 2014 at 2:54 pm

Hah! I honestly didn’t even think about it till you pointed it out!

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Nick January 9, 2014 at 5:35 pm

This is just plain good marketing Peter. Thanks for sharing man, love the examples you took the time to lay out.

Cheers.

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Peter Attia January 9, 2014 at 6:38 pm

Thanks man! Glad you enjoyed it. I’m hoping more people will share similar tactics. It’s oddly difficult to find info about traditional marketing and I’m sure there are things I’m doing wrong.

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Steve Webb January 10, 2014 at 9:49 am

Well done Peter! These examples are fantastic.

I was a little surprised to see the radio-related traffic bump. I was a DJ in college (briefly), and I always assumed no one was actually listening to what I had to say ;-)

Was the spike mostly direct traffic, or was it branded search?

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Peter Attia January 10, 2014 at 12:37 pm

Thanks Steve! The extra traffic was almost entirely branded. It also aired during a busier season for us. I’m not sure it would’ve done as well during our off season.

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Brian Dean January 10, 2014 at 11:16 am

Wow.

Just…wow.

Whenever Wil Reylonds from SEER talks about SEOs getting away from the kiddy table and stepping their game up, THIS is what he’s talking about.

As much as I loved the real life examples, my favorite part of the article was the fact that it taught me that PR isn’t this top-secret skill shrouded in mystery. Anyone that’s willing to put in the hard work of finding journalist’s contact info and reaching out can get legit media mentions.

Really great work, Peter.

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Peter Attia January 10, 2014 at 12:42 pm

Appreciate the compliment Brian! Finding info on PR is kinda funny, because PR people keep trying to talk about social and they’re not great at it. In my experience, Link Building backgrounds do really well with PR. It’s really just good ol outreach.

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Chillatnove June 13, 2014 at 3:15 am

Dude, these are awesome ideas….how do you come up with this stuff…very creative…gonna try to implement some of these..heads up :)

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