Irrespective of the distinct polarity surrounding the structural parameters involved in producing press releases and guest posts,
Who’s to say these outreach techniques will guarantee copywriters/bloggers, PR practitioners, small businesses, or large corporations effective and consistent online notoriety?
FACT: For content creators diving headfirst into a digitised sea saturated with infinite information sharing, simply publishing press releases and guest posts is not enough to penetrate today’s online arena and see your website and online presence thrive.
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Consequently, I will share communication and outreach strategies adopted by successful guest post and press release creators that you can incorporate into your content outreach methodology, ultimately awarding you the online stature your quality content truly deserves.
But before we go into that, let’s look at different content types first as the outreach campaign will vary.
How Different Content Types Meet Collective Outreach Objectives through Pitches?
While press releases and guest posts support differential functional frameworks, they exist to serve the same purpose: mounting visibility in the marketing and media arena.
Nevertheless, the contrasting factors between press releases and guest posts are critical when configuring your content outreach initiative to meet the best possible outcomes for your site.
Comparing Press Releases to Guest Posts
Although either communication outreach tactic is employed to build online brand awareness, harness exposure, and boost page views, successful copywriters, marketers, and businesses are effective because they can identify how press releases differ vastly from guest posts.
For example, guest articles are single processes for a single post in an ongoing two-way dialogue between writers and site owners.
In contrast, press releases are one-way broadcasts of information, where you can be open to returning conversation without an overall expectation for a response. In other words, if someone wants more information, they can reach out to you, but most people and most sites will not.
Due to the influx of outreach emails that editors and publishers receive daily, the all-encompassing distinction between outreach success and failure in your chosen strategy lies in your overall pitching potential.
Pitching Press Releases & Guest Posts
Since preparing the perfect pitch can make all the difference in measuring the effectiveness of your specific outreach agenda, distinguishing between pitches for guest posts and press releases is just as vital in the implementation of your chosen success-driven strategy.
Differences for Pitches to consider:
1. Press release pitches communicate happenings in the present tense, which focuses primarily on the newsworthiness of the business or organization that submits it.
2. A guest post pitch will often focus on trending topics that are relevant to the website/platform they are trying to get published on to make a valuable contribution to the editorial of the publication.
3. Issued for ‘Immediate Release’, the publishing window period in press release pitches is time-sensitive in contrast to guest post pitches, which have wider coverage timeframes. It is vital to never push for a publication date sooner than the editors have suggested as that comes across as extremely rude.
4. In guest post pitches, guest bloggers often confirm their compliance with website editorial guidelines to increase the likelihood of getting their pieces published. In comparison, press release pitches are more flexible, offering authors a self-promotional platform that endorses their content on different levels.
5. In contrast to press release pitches, guest bloggers must remain cognisant of the fees websites may charge to feature their written material on such platforms, with the terms and conditions surrounding this fee varying per site. Many will outline these via their media packs or dedicated service pages such as here on these example sites that accept both press releases and guest posts:
Although there’s proven divergence in pitches for guest posts vs press releases, it’s also just as noteworthy to establish where similar structural frameworks for both converge to meet the same outreach outcomes.
Both content communication constructs, for example, share three components in common, namely:
- Personalised Copy
- A Clear and Concise CTA (call-to-action)
If you want to send a pitch my way you can go through the below pages, where I have listed different content publishing formats for guest contributions:
How NOT to Pitch Your Guest Post or Press Release to Publishers
To help prevent publishers from binning your work, below are examples of pivotal pitching no-no’s to consider when adopting either outreach strategy.
1. Lead with Costs
When following the basic principles of proper email etiquette, understand that quality trumps currency, so initially shift your focus more towards the value and credibility of the quality content you’re offering, with money matters eventually explored later in correspondence if a publication is interested.
2. Pester Editors
Follow-up emails remind recipients who might have missed your first outreach attempt of the collaborative prospects you still have on the table. Although journalists and site owners generally respond to follow-up emails, always avoid inundating them with a flurry of follow-ups.
Depending on the type of outreach strategy you are employing, there is a difference in the number of necessary emails to send before your returns start to diminish, potentially redirecting your emails to receivers’ spam folders.
If you haven’t received a response within a few days of submitting your pitch and you’re considering sending a short, polite follow-up message to an outreach recipient, use the infographic below as a benchmark that can help avoid landing you in the ‘heckler’ hot seat:
As illustrated in the statistics above, response rates to follow-up emails do not drop off significantly compared to the first email, giving them value. However, your general politeness, coupled with the frequency of your follow-ups, must be taken in high regard.
3. Be Rude
When approaching prospective publishing channels with your pitched proposal, the last thing you want to be is offputting – this is simply counterproductive to your outreach objectives.
Being rude isn’t worth the risk!
Given the high number of pitches that publishers receive daily, drawing their attention through expressions of sincerity and genuine fondness for the publication goes a long way.
With your online reputation and credibility always on the line, don’t foil your chances of potentially publicising your impactful stories by leaving a bad taste in the emails you send to influential editors.
With your pitch offer them something rather than making demands.
4. Veer Off-Topic
Always avoid including unnecessary exaggerated information or connections to names and topics in your news/press release pitch:
As demonstrated in the old-school trick above, editors can easily get misguided by any insignificant information you provide, having the potential to completely overshadow your hard work.
How Both Outreach Initiatives Influence Online Notoriety
You’re probably wondering,
Which outreach option is better?
The answer is simple: both.
While guest posts should be your primary link-building method outside your usual network of sites, press releases serve as helpful tools for building an online hype, which could potentially lead to securing additional media coverage such as interviews.
Furthermore, both are instrumental in sparking social media cohesion and garnering site traffic to a landing page where additional information is accessible to readers and publishers alike and SEO copywriting skills are key here.
Guest posts and press releases are essential drivers in helping you gain an online reputation that mirrors your expertise in a field/area of interest. So, when setting out to get your name and face out there, if building long-standing relationships with specific sites is at the core of your outreach objective, guest posts are the way to go.
Conversely, if you want a lot of eyes to see one specific piece of information (i.e., a new product launch or event announcement, etc.), a press release is ideal.
How to Implement Guest Posts in Your Link Outreach Strategy?
Often incorporated in link-building practices carried out by guest bloggers, backlinks form the virtual backbone of any site’s success, acting as an effective SEO tactic adopted to meet overall outreach objectives.
Using Backlinks as Your Building Blocks
Backlinks are vital because top search engine optimisation platforms like Google give websites with more backlinks from other authority websites a higher domain rating, consequently resulting in higher rankings in their search results for related search terms.
By turning to various link-building services to help boost your SEO, you can accumulate backlinks to your work, further broadening your target audience.
- Industry Relevance & Expertise
- High Domain Authority
- Large Audiences of Loyal Readers
- Guest Post Pitch & Backlinking Accepting Platforms
Alternative Link Outreach Strategies
Aside from adopting the expected yet effective link-building methods mentioned above, you can also build credible notoriety by having a go at more unique outreach tactics, which include:
- Pitching requests to have your links added to published posts.
- Fortifying relationships with site owners by sharing helpful updates on broken links.
- Targeting high-ranking bloggers in addition to premium publications.
5 Steps to Executing Your Press Release Outreach Work
As a proven method for influencing a brand’s public perception, developing a full-proof media outreach plan is essential when conducting rewarding press release outreach work.
Although teaming up with top press release publication services like the ClickDo digital publishing services can offer you customised content publishing and marketing solutions via top-quality digital news channels, simply following my five steps to creating a full-proof media outreach plan is guaranteed to get you well on your way to widespread online notoriety:
1. Understand Your Target Audience
Knowing the audience allows you to connect with prospective customers, investors, business partners, and other stakeholders. By researching and understanding your target audience, you can identify the appropriate media outlets to approach with your pitch.
2. Create a Media List
After identifying your ideal audience of interest, the next step in your press release outreach work involves building a list of media sources and journalists who create content that appeals to your audience by conducting web searches for keywords related to your niche.
For example, imagine you’re the proud owner of an independent cosmetics startup company that develops herbal organic skincare products. You might start your search by looking for published articles involving herbal cosmetics, organic skincare, small businesses, startups, cosmetology clinics, and eco-friendly skincare topics.
Identifying popular sites, blogs, and online platforms where media influencers publish similar content to yours can also help you develop a list of networks and journalists to contact.
3. Gather Contact Information
While some publications may include instructions that describe how to contact them with a proposal, others may not. Worry not, however, because you can contact journalists directly via social media or a listed email address showcased on their platform. Many journalists work freelance and include their contact details on their professional platforms or digital portfolios.
Networking is another effective method for gathering contacts. The growing influence of networking through establishing relationships with media influencers is crucial for developing a database of contacts to leverage for future outreach initiatives. Since media heavyweights often host events (i.e. conferences, professional meetups, conventions, etc.), attending those events and developing an extensive network of media professionals may help you promote your online material via diverse channels.
4. Define Your Media Outreach Goals
By adopting the SMART method to set your outreach objectives in motion, you can work toward your goals and accurately measure your progress.
The SMART method involves setting goals that are:
An example of a SMART goal for a press release outreach campaign may include contacting 20 journalists and obtaining three or more responses within two weeks. This media outreach goal uses specific numbers, sets a realistic expectation that applies to the task, and establishes a timeframe to be met.
Based on the results of your outreach work, you can adjust goals that will help ensure future success for your site.
5. Execute & Monitor Your Plan
Once you’ve developed the perfect press release pitch that caters to top contactable publications, with a desired audience and goal in focus, the final step of your effective media outreach plan involves executing your outreach strategy to the highest degree.
As you contact journalists and publishers, consider creating a spreadsheet or another document to organise and monitor your plan. For example, you might be partial to creating a spreadsheet that lists your current, completed, and planned outreach campaigns.
Other items to incorporate in your spreadsheet might also include:
- Pitch Recipients
- Pitch Statuses (i.e., accepted, ongoing, developing, etc.)
- Expected Completion Date
- Relevant Notes/Comments/Links
Despite the glaring differences between guest posts and press releases, the two outreach strategies share the common interest of limitless online notoriety for the betterment of your site’s or blog’s success.
Although both link outreach initiatives bear striking similarities in their pitch proposal frameworks, content creators and marketers must understand that they differ vastly, each with individualised defining factors separating them as outlined here.
Hopefully the above tips will help you with the best possible guest post or press release outreach campaign for your brand and online presence. If you’d like to ask some more specific questions about your unique outreach campaign, feel free to contact me and I’ll get back to you ASAP.
Blogger and Educator by Passion | Senior Online Media & PR Strategist at ClickDo Ltd. | Contributor to many Education, Business & Lifestyle Blogs in the United Kingdom & Germany | Summer Course Student at the London School of Journalism and Course Instructor at the SeekaHost University.