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Newspaper coverage and website traffic

Posted by Michael Bloch in web marketing (Saturday May 21, 2011 )

A request to be interviewed by a major newspaper can be an exciting time; but the resulting coverage may not match expectations in relation to web site traffic. Here’s a few reasons why.

I see newspaper coverage more as a status thing than serious traffic driver. It’s nice to get the exposure as its something you can use to boost your online credibility, but its not something I break my neck to get as it can at times be at the expense of other more productive activities.

Too often, journalists (or their editors) have a habit of thoroughly gutting or misinterpreting important information you provide them; particularly if the story they are publishing isn’t a major one.

Some years ago, I decided to cease telephone interviews for this reason and nowadays I’ll only communicate with journalists via email. Even then, problems can still occur, but at least there is a record of what was actually said.

In the cases where an email interview is requested, I do tend to provide the journalist quite a bit of info so they have plenty of detail to pick and choose from – but it’s not that I’m being a nice guy. Knowing that they will likely only use a few paragraphs, I use the exercise to prepare content that I post after the journalist’s article is published to give people more information on the topic.

Another challenge with newspaper coverage is while most newspapers now have an online presence, they tend to be shy of linking to sites in news stories. It’s an odd habit and according to this article on the topic, mainly occurs through a fear newspaper sites have of sending traffic elsewhere.

While readers can always enter your business name into a search engine, folks sometimes couldn’t be bothered doing that; and if your online business name is a generic term or a series of generic terms, if your competition ranks higher than you; then you have a problem.

When you receive a request for interview, 9 out of 10 times the journo will tell you they have a “today” deadline; so you really need to weigh up whether what you may get back from your effort is more than from whatever activities you will be dropping in order to help them meet their deadline.


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