When it comes to public relations, many businesses tend to focus on the short term. They create a press release, send it out to reporters, and hope for the best. If they're lucky, they might get a few articles published in various publications. But what happens when that content is no longer relevant? The PR strategy fails to generate any long-term results, and the business is left disappointed. That’s where long-tail PR comes into play.
Long-tail PR is the practice of creating newsworthy content that is relevant to a niche target group and has a long shelf life. This content may be published once, but it continues to generate links, traffic and leads for your business long after it's been released.
In other words, while many of your competitors are focusing on the latest news or trends, you're creating content that will still be relevant months or even years down the road.
To better understand long-tail PR, we need to take a closer look at the theory of the long tail. In today’s age of hyper-digitalization, the average person is spending almost seven hours on the internet every day, consuming massive amounts of content.
This has created a shift in the demand curve from a small number of hits in the head of the curve, to a huge amount of niche content in the tail.
In other words, if you placed the same article in The New York Times vs. a collection of niche publications, the smaller publications might yield higher dividends for your business. Why? Because The New York Times may not reach your niche! However, the right combination of micro-publications and the 600 million blogs out there can reach your targeted audience.
Chris Anderson, the former Wired editor who first coined the term "long tail," explained long-tail PR in this way:
“It's not about reaching everybody through The New York Times now. Instead, it's about [millions of] blogs and learning to communicate with those fragmented audiences or communities. Traditional PR is oriented around mass media. The new era is about niche media. That is PR 2.0. It's also "Long Tail PR".”
Long-tail PR allows your content to drive traffic to your website months or even years after publishing. Take for example this article about on-page SEO; it's published in 2018, but it's still one of the top-performing blog posts on the Backlinko website. According to Ahrefs, this page has an estimated organic traffic of 9.1K visitors per month.
Of course, this is an extreme example and not all blogs have that much traffic. The long-tail PR strategy can still be applied to any type of online publication or blog, no matter the size. The more you are mentioned all over the internet, the more likely you are to generate leads.
The best approach to getting your name out there and being referenced in long-tail blogs and media is by creating great content. And when we say great content, we mean the kind of high-quality, newsworthy content that will make people want to reference it and share it with their audience.
In a long-tail PR program, you are not looking to produce generic, mass-produced content; it's critical that the content is specific, unique, and educational. Instead of repeating what is already found on Google, fill in the missing gaps. Instead of talking about a subject broadly, try to explain the specificities related to it.
Remember, in a long-tail strategy, we are focusing on the long end of the tail, and the long end is looking for niche content. That means using long-tail SEO and keywords in your strategy.
When you become known as a resource in your industry, you will be able to attract more attention from the media and win more business. Your long-tail content should be aimed at positioning you as an expert in your field.
One way to do this is by providing original research or data that is not readily available elsewhere. This will make your brand stand out and demonstrate your commitment to delivering value.
The whole point of long-tail content is that it is relevant months or even years down the road. So, when creating your piece, make sure it's something that will still be valuable to your audience a year from now. Consider following the below tips for optimal evergreen content:
If you want your content to be referenced by long-tail blogs, it needs to be shareable. That means creating something truly valuable and interesting enough that people will want to share it with their network and audiences.
Long-tail content is often discovered through search engines. So, when creating your piece, be sure to include relevant keywords and phrases, so people can easily find it online. Here are nine quick tips for beginners to improve keyword research.
If you simply publish your content on your blog, there is a high probability that bloggers who are a potential PR opportunity will have a hard time finding it. Instead, highlight your long-tail PR content in the sidebar of your blog or a banner on your homepage. You could also consider re-running long-tail content on your blog periodically, and be sure to update your old content to keep it evergreen.
Now that you have invested time, money, and resources into creating evergreen content that is guaranteed to stay relevant for months or even years, you have to find ways to profile this content in multiple channels.
Here is the shift in your public relations strategy: instead of putting all your energy into one potential PR blockbuster at a big publication, aim at smaller influencers and market analysts willing to share the story directly to the niche markets. However, one doesn't cancel the other: you can do both at the same time, once you've created long-trail content.
Traditional news and media outlets are your typical radio, broadcast television, cable and satellite, print, and billboards. The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Guardian do not target niche markets. Being featured in one of these media outlets is arguably a dream that every business has, but the chance of success is really low. You might put a lot of effort into creating your content, only to see that it’s published nowhere. Also, chances are you won’t even reach your target audience.
However, if your content is newsworthy and relevant, then sending your work to every traditional news and media outlet can work for you! This is not part of your long-tail PR strategy, but there's no need to skip this.
HuffPost, Engadget, Moz, and Mashable are examples of top-tier blogs. These blogs are some of the biggest, most successful websites around, and their writers generate millions of dollars in revenue.
Getting your business to be featured there is challenging, but the results are often well worth it. If your content is referenced in these blogs, chances are that it is going to get picked up by smaller websites to be copied or to be used as a source in their blog.
You can also try guest blogging on these websites. Here’s a step-by-step guide to doing guest blogging right, and reasons why your guest blog might get rejected.
When thinking long-tail, we focus on distributing our content in many places. Here are some ideas that might help you get started:
After you've created and promoted your content, be sure to set up media monitoring for both mentions of your brand name and for link-only media placements. You can do this through free tools like Google Alerts as well as paid tools like Muck Rack, BuzzSumo, and Ahrefs.
In this post, we discussed how to use a long-tail strategy to improve your public relations program. Long-tail PR is a great way to get your business in front of your target audience. It’s also an effective way to build relationships with reporters, bloggers, and other niche sources of influence—which can lead to more opportunities down the road.
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