13 Ways To Get Press Coverage For Your Online Community

November 9, 2008Comments Off

Once your community has been going a while, you might want to go big. This means either implementing tactics that will ensure most members invite more, or gain mainstream media coverage.

Here are a few ideas that might get press coverage for your online community.

  1. Get Journalists To Join. Invite journalists to join your online community and keep them engaged. Treat them as a VIP and the press coverage will follow. It’s difficult though.
  2. Talk About Journalists. “Who do you think is the top journalist in {Niche}. Talk and rank them. Journalists hopefully register to join the community. Keep a list of their latest articles each journalist has written, maybe give each a user averaged rating.
  3. Talk About Articles. “Did you see what Cory Bowell wrote about {big issue} in {important media}? He’s so wrong, here’s why…” Start discussions about articles and drop an e-mail to the journalist asking them to see the response their article gets. Don’t ask for anything more.
  4. Let A Journalist Represent You. Don’t give a journalist a choice, pick a journalist your community admire as a figurehead or star for your community to admire. This works well in environmental and cause-related communities. Ask your community to congratulate them every now and then.
  5. Ask Your Community To Write To Journalists. If you want a journalist to write about an issue important to your community, ask your community to write to him/her. It’s harder for a journalist to ignore 23 e-mails from the public on a big issue. Use sparingly.
  6. Create A Sub-Group For Media Types. Great a sub-group in your online community just for journalists. They can discuss stories and talk about issues important.
  7. Pitch A Feature Idea Involving Your Community. Ask your community what ideas they would love to read about in the news, then pitch them to journalists.
  8. Be The Pulse Of Opinion and Trends. Become the pulse of opinion for your community. Openly put together a roundup of trends in your community and the general opinion on the big issues. E-mail it to select journalists who join your community.
  9. Compile A Collection Of Stories. Invite members to add their stories of how they became involved in your community and anything related that they find interesting.
  10. Offer Experts. Your online community is the hive of experts for your niche. Offer interviews and become a source where journalists can post queries for case studies.
  11. Be Controversial. A little PR 101, take a side on an issue and state your opposition. Don’t forget to let journalists know.
  12. Offer Pictures. Journalists struggle with pictures, if your members can provide pictures of people
  13. Get Your Community To Comment On News Stories. Many online news sources allow comments. Use them, send your community members to comment on relevant stories.

The problem with a sudden rush of new members, is it might crush the existing communities. Prepare and make room for the rush. Give existing members somewhere they can go and talk, or don’t allow new members full access for the first 21 days.

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