Create Something Newsworthy -- Branding, Marketing, Links

How do you get people talking about your company? Create the news.

That's right, create something newsworthy to get people talking. With a little luck and promotion, your company will end up getting exposure from the mainstream press. It might even go viral.

Last time, I went over methods to increase your company's online visibility, such as contributing articles and becoming active in online communities. Now it's time to turn things up a notch for companies that are serious about online exposure.

It isn't easy to create something newsworthy, especially something that will get picked up by the mainstream press, unless you're a celebrity or politician. This is where hard work and diligence comes into play.

Research, Research, Research

Everyone thinks their child is beautiful. Everyone thinks their idea is the best. Well, that doesn't mean other people will agree.

Instead of putting time and resources into a project that others might find ordinary or mundane, do preliminary research to find out what people are interested in. Find out what the press will write about and reference.

The process is the same whether you're targeting major news outlets, such as the Associated Press, or a specific niche of media for your industry. Study what has received the most attention in the past. Research what they're most likely to write about.

A good place to start the research is Yahoo News. Notice in the top right corner they have tabs for "Most Emailed," "Most Views," and "Most Recommended." That's a great way to find out what's important to people and what's being discussed the most.

Yahoo News

Another tool for research is Yahoo Buzz. It can be searched by topics such as travel, health, sports, and business. The time frame can be adjusted from the past six hours up to 30 days.

There's also a scrolling bar at the top for "just added buzz." For those who cover industry news, this is a great way to be one of the first people writing about a breaking story.

Yahoo Buzz

Yahoo Buzz, on the top right, lists the top searches and updates hourly. That's very revealing about current events and insights into culture in general. It shows what's important to people. The point of the research is to find out what other people are most likely to write about, e-mail, discuss, and link to.

That's where Google News plays an important part in the research. They list other trusted media sources that have written about a story. A good indicator about how other media outlets are covering a topic: are there 455 news articles, or three? Remember, you want to create news that others will write and talk about.

Other useful tools for research include Google Trends and Google Insights. Several paid services also monitor buzz and news.

These are just some research methods and tools to get you started. The key is to do the research to increase the probability that your news story will be popular with the press or go viral.

In part two, we'll look at testing and promoting your idea.

About the author

Justilien Gaspard is an independent consultant that provides custom link building, seo consulting and link training. His area of focus is organic search. He has spoken at Search Engine Strategies conference (SES), authored 3 advanced search optimization courses for Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization's (SEMPO) Learning Institute and runs a link building blog. He has worked and consulted on link development campaigns that included Fortune 500, top online retailers and small to medium size businesses in competitive fields.