White Paper: Helping Your Small Business to Be Found More Easily Online


Discoverability marketing can help you reach potential customers when they are looking for a product or service like yours to satisfy their needs. Your success rate will increase by reaching them when they need your product or service, rather than interrupting people and force-feeding them your advertising messages at unwelcome times. This is a more passive approach to Internet marketing than traditional ads. Discoverability is more like a conversation in which the potential customer is a participant. This approach includes Search Engine Optimization and other tools to ensure that potential customers can find you and interact with you so you can provide them with what they need. 

Let this be your guide to strategies that have proven to be effective for boosting discoverability.  Here are several ways to improve your results:

  I-  Using Search Engine Optimization Techniques in Your Feature News Release

 II-  Create Engaging Multimedia Releases

III-  Build Relationships With Bloggers and Media Contacts

IV-  Build Relationships With Media Contacts on Twitter

 V-  Connect on Facebook With Influencers Whose Interests Align With Yours

Let’s begin with one of the most critical components of your discoverability plan, SEO.

I-  Using Search Engine Optimization Techniques in Your Feature News Release

Optimizing your feature news release is essential for maximizing the value of your content. You need to use the right mix of keywords and messaging and to distribute through the right online channels to be seen by thousands of journalist and prospective customers moments after you approve the release. 

Here are a few basic principles to follow for optimization that will make management proud of your results:

  1. Content Must Be Newsworthy

The quality of your content will determine the interest value to the ultimate target audience. A professionally written article will include appealing information in the headline and lead to entice the readers to read on. You need to answer the question “What’s in it for me?” Show readers right up front why they should care about what’s in your story. Writing engaging copy is an art that relies on good storytelling techniques and useful information. If it’s accurate, unique and interesting, many journalists and influencers will be happy to share it with their audiences. 

Be sure to avoid the most common blunders of writing feature news releases:

  • Don’t be too commercial. You need to have no more than one or two mentions of your product or service and those need to be a subtle part of your story, usually not in the headline or the caption.
  • Don’t wait too long. If your release is dated, you need to get it out well in advance of the deadline to give journalists and influencers a chance to work it into their formats. Some have longer lead times than others and you need to be respectful of their time.
  • Don’t forget an image. Your success will increase dramatically if you can illustrate your article. People are scrolling through hundreds or thousands of items every day so you need a picture that can grab their attention to cut through the clutter and make a great first impression.
  • Cite your sources. Journalists and influencers are not going to want to stand behind your facts if they don’t know those to be true. They don’t have time to do a lot of fact-checking, so make their jobs easier by including the source of your information for easy reference.
  1. Keyword Research

Search algorithms change constantly but the fundamental SEO concept will apply to your story. In order for people to find your information, services or products, people will type words into a search engine bar or request that information by speaking into an app such as Siri or OK Google. For your keyword strategy to be most successful at boosting organic search traffic, you need to consider who your target audience is and which search terms they may use to find your information. The Google Keyword Planner will help you find the main words that will work well in your field of endeavor. 

Use those keywords in moderation or you may risk negatively impacting your search results due to algorithms that detect when those are overused. If you put too many in your headline, subhead or caption, journalists will pick up on those and may shy away and think your message may be too commercial, unless those blend with the overall look and feel of the publications you are trying to fit into. You probably don’t want to put a brand name or a copyright symbol in the headline, subhead, opening paragraph or caption but those may be good places to put other important keywords that search engines and readers will be able to find easily.   

  1. Use Links Sparingly

Major search engines tend to treat press releases as ads of poor-quality content, which could negatively impact the search engine indexing. Feature news releases that are well written will have a better chance of being discovered. 

One important writing tip is to be careful not to have too many links in your article. No more than three or four links should be used. Don’t link to the same website several times. Try to choose only the links that lead to good information, not just the company home page, which most people can find without much assistance. 

  1. Related Content

Link referral services such as Outbrain or Taboola will help your content get discovered by suggesting that people may like your related content and putting a blurb about it, usually an image and a line of copy, in a box next to some relevant content they are reading. These are paid services, so your amplified visibility will improve with your budget. 

Let’s explore the best ways to develop your multimedia release with images, videos, social media and more. 

II-  Create Engaging Multimedia Releases

Feature news releases have evolved over the years to satisfy the increasing variety of ways that journalists and influencers like to receive the information and how the general public, which consumes the content, likes to have it delivered. To do the most thorough job possible, going above and beyond using typical media lists of contacts, and taking into consideration the preferences of the users of your content for a multichannel release that will get maximum exposure to your target audience, you can take a few careful steps to be sure that you aren’t missing anyone:

  1. Templates

There are a variety of templates online that will help you to format your story. Feature news releases are a little different than ordinary press releases and tend to be used as is, so those are written and formatted in a way that is ready to be repurposed online, in print, or on air. The anatomy of a feature news article usually includes the following components:

  • Masthead— This can be the same for a series of articles that is run much like a syndicated column or it can be a variety of different ones to appeal to different editors each time you do a release.
  • Headline and subhead— These have to be intriguing enough to get people to read on and want to know more.
  • Image— Photos, drawings, videos or graphics can be included individually or dispersed throughout the article as the eye candy that will attract people to your story.
  • Lead paragraph— This is the news hook that will indicate how this article differs from all other articles and provides original ideas that will be interesting and helpful.
  • Body copy— Feature news tends to be lighter and easier to read than a fast-breaking news release. It’s meant to inform and entertain the public as a way to get attention for your message and influence people in a compelling way with facts and expert sources.
  • Call to action— This is usually at the end of the feature and provides a source of more information such as a website, hotline number or an e-mail address. 
  • Tweetable quotes— These can be included for people to click on to instantly tweet and you can track the results.
  • Social share buttons— These are usually at the bottom of each release to enable readers to easily share your content.
  1. What Gets The Best Results

There are a variety of topics for feature news releases that tend to be most appealing to a broad scope of people, and if you can tie your message in with one of those, you will increase your chances of getting your content online, in print or on air. The most popular topics for feature news releases are as follows:

  • Health
  • Personal Finance
  • Home
  • Technology
  • Food
  • Auto
  • Entertainment
  • Travel
  • CSR or Charity
  • Pets
  • Environmental Issues
  1. Social Media Amplification

Organic growth is the best way to spread the word, but many social media channels are primarily pay for play so even the best-written and illustrated content could benefit from a little extra push with some paid options to amplify the message you have worked so hard to create.  The following are the most common ways to boost your results for a price:

  • Facebook or Instagram Boosts: Get more people to like, share and comment on the posts you create and reach new people who are likely interested in your content but don’t currently follow you on Facebook. 
  • Promoted Tweets: You can reach a wider group of users or increase engagement from existing followers and enable people to retweet, reply to, like and more. 
  • Google Search Ads: Search ads appear next to Google search results when people look for products or services you offer. You pay only when people engage with your ad by visiting your article on your site or calling your business. 
  • Promoted Pinterest Pins: Pick a Pin, decide who sees it, pay for engagements or visits and track what is working.
  • Outbrain Native Ads: Use paid ads to match the look, feel and function of the media format in which those appear. Those look like part of the editorial flow of the page. Expose the reader to your ad content in a nondisruptive way. 
  • Taboola: This works similarly to Outbrain. 
  1. Tracking

You can insert trackable links in your feature news release and use the analytics to see who is clicking on your content so you can generate a list for follow-up. Some people may be influenced by your content to try your service or buy your product without ever clicking on your links or filling out your online form or calling the toll free number you set up for an article, so the tracking is not 100 percent reliable as far as evaluating the effectiveness of a particular project but at least it will give you a basis for comparison with other similar efforts.

To build on your success, you will need to maintain relationships with all the interested parties that reacted positively to your feature news release. 

III-  Build Relationships With Bloggers and Media Contacts 

The appeal of feature news releases to bloggers and community news outlets is strengthened when there is a personal relationship built on trust and understanding. Knowing the right people to reach out to for the kind of content you provide, and knowing the format each likes to receive, are essential for building the foundation of relationships. Bloggers and influencers like to know that you have at least looked at their sites and know their work so you are able to send them the right content at the right time and in the proper format. It takes a lot of time and effort to research the style of the people you are trying to work with. Here are several tips for blogger relations and media relations:

  1. Whom to Pitch
  • Be sure to find people who are using content like yours by checking their sites or seeing what they have used before. 
  • Make sure you are on topic. Don’t send a story about recipes to someone who writes about the latest trends in cars or vice versa. You could try a story that includes information for both, such as tailgating party recipes, but that may be too much of a stretch. Your content has to be relevant to what they are working on. If you seem to be a spammer, they may never look at your e-mails again.
  • If you want earned media only, don’t bother to contact people who only accept sponsored content for a fee. Sponsored content is a great way to get more of the kind of attention you want, if you have budget for it, and you can negotiate a reasonable rate.
  1. Where to Start
  • For most feature news releases, the top priority is the major news outlets such as “The New York Times” and “The Wall Street Journal.” Those publications get bombarded with thousands of requests for submissions every single day. It may feel like your chances of getting attention there are like those of getting struck by lightning, so be sure you are on target with your message. 
  • You can get a lot more play out of your content if you try reaching out to second- and third-tier media outlets or “microinfluencers” who aren’t pitched nearly as often but do need content that is ready to run, to fill news holes or that they think might help them to build a stronger following.
  • Cross-channel promotion to ensure that all your bases are covered would be essential for the messages that are most important to management. It’s easy to repurpose your content for use in a variety of different formats and publications, for online, on air or print.
  1. Professional Organizations
  • There are a variety of membership organizations that you can join to take advantage of networking opportunities and online resources.
  • You can subscribe to trade publications to follow the latest trends and get valuable insights.
  • You can hire a pro at an agency, who will bring relationships to the table.
  1. Social Media
  • LinkedIn is a great way to connect with bloggers and media contacts who share your interests. Most journalists prefer to be contacted by e-mail so try to be selective with your invites. Be sure it’s someone you know well enough to feel comfortable with inviting. 
  • Referrals from online introductions will help you spread the word like wildfire, if you get in with the right crowd, using groups found online.
  • Host an online event and invite people in your target audience to participate either as a presenter or as an attendee, online or in person.

IV-  Build Relationships With Media Contacts on Twitter

For the best results on Twitter, be direct, be concise and be timely.  You need to boil down your message into 140 characters or less.  Sometimes it takes a long time to consider how to get all you want to say in such a small space but it doesn’t have to be a masterpiece.  You can do some simple A/B testing to try out different wording, different time frames and different images to see what works best. Here are some basic tips for more effective outreach:

  1. Find the Right People
  • Following journalists is also an invitation for them to follow you back but that rarely happens unless you know them well. Listen to what they are saying and try to join the conversation.
  • Limit the number of journalists you will follow to the ones who are most likely going to use your content. You may risk getting blacklisted as a spammer if you overdo it.
  • Don’t contact journalists on Twitter if you have already tried them by e-mail or phone. If they didn’t get back to you, they are just not interested.
  1. Share What They Care About
  • You should have a list of core influencers for the topics you are interested in covering with them. Be specific in your outreach so people will be interested in what you have to say and understand why they should care. 
  • If your following includes a lot of like-minded individuals, the people you are trying to reach will pay more attention to you.
  • Don’t make exaggerated claims such as “This is the best story ever!” If it’s a good fit, they will use what you have, if they possibly can.
  1. Twitter Tools

To maximize your effectiveness on Twitter, here are some tools you may want to research and try:

  • Hootsuite
  • TweetDeck
  • Buffer
  • SocialOomph

V-  Connect on Facebook With Influencers Whose Interests Align With Yours

The value of your content will appreciate with your ability to connect on Facebook with a community of professionals who can help you to succeed. The most powerful and important people are sometimes the most difficult to reach. You will have more success if you can build a social presence on Facebook for business purposes. Here are a few ways to use Facebook to your advantage:

  • See and be seen. If you listen to what others are saying about the topic you are working on, including industry experts, your competitors, the general public and others, you will be better prepared to join in the conversation with the people you are trying to reach. 
  • Facebook ads will help you tremendously. Facebook can’t survive without revenue from ads, so those who pay to play are richly rewarded in proportion to what they are willing to invest.
  • Keep up with the trends. The social media landscape is constantly changing and evolving, so to fully leverage the power of earned media, you need to be on the lookout for what’s new on the horizon and ways to combine the power of paid, owned and shared media. A great place to start is by joining an online community that can inform you and where you can bounce ideas off of members.


To survive and thrive in a competitive media world, you will need to carefully plan your journey on a path to online, on-air and print stardom. Practice what you have learned and you will soon be an even more successful hero to your team than you thought possible. There is a world of opportunities for those who are willing to work harder and smarter to create thought-provoking content that will be irresistible to journalists, influencers and your target audience. There is no better time to start improving the process and begin reaping the rewards.