Unlock the potential of your podcast’s reach and engagement by mastering the art of leveraging press articles for effective promotion. In another Coaching Crasher episode, Tracy Hazzard sits down with international content expert and business owner, Sara Diehl. With expertise in content marketing and entrepreneurship, Sara helps clients looking to gain exposure and establish their voice and brand. She dives deep into the power of press articles to promote your podcast and gives us a great overview of the process. How do press articles differ from press releases? How do you reach out to publications and pitch your article? What are the publications looking for content-wise? Plus, how is AI changing the game of content creation? Find out the answers to these questions and more in this conversation!
Watch the episode here
Listen to the podcast here
How To Leverage Press Articles For Podcast Promotion With Sara Diehl
In this episode, I have a coaching crasher. This is someone who comes into our coaching call and gives us some pieces of wisdom in a very targeted area. The area that we’re going to talk about is press articles, which are different than press releases. We’re going to define that a little bit. I am so excited because I have an international content expert and business owner, Sara Diehl. She’s worked with thousands of startups in businesses throughout her career, including me.
Her expertise in content marketing and entrepreneurship creates a trifecta for clients looking to gain exposure and establish their voice and brand. She’s based in Columbus, Ohio. High Level Content Creation is a firm focused on all things content. She’s a lover of all things outdoors and spends her free time with her dogs experimenting in the kitchen or lost in a good book. She likes to read as much as I do. Sara, welcome. It’s funny a lot of people won’t admit they have a ghostwriter but I love to because you’re so good at it. It’s been several years that you’ve been my ghostwriter.
I would have to go back and look at maybe original articles but we’re going way back to the entrepreneur days. It’s been a long time.
This is the funny part of that. When I first started writing for Inc. Magazine, which I got from my show, an editor at Inc. Magazine heard me give a speech that I gave because of my show and then realized that I had this show. She thought it would be a great idea for me to have a column. She invited me to write this column. I was agonizing because when you agree to a column, you have to agree to a certain number of articles per month. I was trying to start this business.
It was in the early days of us starting this business. I was struggling to write it. I went to a couple of my writer friends and they all said, “I don’t write all the articles myself. Why don’t you have a ghostwriter?” I looked at them and was like, “Why didn’t somebody tell me months ago? I’ve been through struggling to write these articles myself.”
I asked around and someone was gracious enough to introduce me to Sara Diehl. One of the things that I love is that because I did write a couple of articles here and there and many at the very beginning of my Inc. column, I can go back to them. I’ll look at them sometimes and I’ll go, “Did I write that or did Sara write that?” That’s such a testament to your skill, Sara.
The great thing about ghostwriting if you’ve zeroed in is that you can get to know someone’s voice and then it’s your experience and expertise. I’m learning to mimic it and package it in a way that people want to see.
One of the things we’re going to touch on is some of the AI tools and other things that people are out there using but I still find that piece of that deep understanding of what’s valuable about my experience doesn’t come across when I go and say, “I want to write an article about this.” You and I developed this model where I would give you the recording from my interview or thoughts on it when I was recording a topic and you would get my stories. It’s not like you had to manufacture these stories out of the air. You write them from me. That’s a beautiful part about taking podcasts and turning them into articles.
It’s the smartest thing and the next step and why we’re talking because if you’ve already put the work in with the episodes, and I can even hear the fluctuations in your voice through an episode that you’re excited, concerned and all in, I can pull some great stuff out of that. The episodes are gold.
Let’s talk about what’s going on in the articles. I stopped writing my Inc. Column a few years ago because of a departure in the way that they were editing. I didn’t love the integrity that they had. I have yet to find a home where I feel comfortable writing. We’ve been exploring this model of my writing an article for many magazines and different types of press publicity and publications out there. What’s going on in that magazine, newspaper, and newsletter world?
There are hundreds of millions of people that read online magazines, whether it’s Inc., Entrepreneur, TechCrunch, or even niche publications but what happened was everything got busy and saying the same thing. I even read articles by big heavy hitters. I’m like, “1) They didn’t write that. 2) It’s regurgitated information.” What I’m saying is a lot of the publications are tampering with that backdown. They’re getting some stricter regulations and looking for organic content and original thoughts.
To me, that’s a good pivot because everything went to chaos for a little bit. That’s when you stepped out from the Inc. column because it didn’t matter. Things were getting thrown up. You and I are on the same page. I don’t want to add to the noise. It’s got to be valuable and solid. I love playing around with AI tools. It’s so much fun for me. I create a lot of content. A lot of people have said to me, “I bet you use ChatGPT a lot.”
There’s another notion like all these different platforms. I’m like, “Not really.” It’s not the same and people know it’s not the same. I’m not even so fearful of that shift. It’s fun. It’s great to put in your toolkit but at the end of the day, the internet is going to keep moving towards organic content. Even in marketing, that’s the vibe that I’m getting.
They want thought leaders. That was why I was originally asked to write my column and then they didn’t want that anymore. They wanted us to mention Elon Musk and what Steve Jobs would do when he was already dead. I was like, “Why should I have to put this in there? It has nothing to do with what some small startup needs to learn and do.” We are ruining that direction to a very specific audience.
There’s opportunity out there. I’m hearing a lot from these publications that they’re looking for guest writers and articles to be submitted. That’s the model that you and I have been talking about. How can we create something that works with the podcaster’s original voice and yet works in this model of being able to submit articles to publications that are going to serve the authority of your business well? What have you been exploring over there in this new part of your business?
Authority is a whole topic we could talk about forever but you are the queen of getting the most out of a piece of content. That is your shtick. You are so good at it. I’m not surprised that when we started talking about this, you were like, “This is going to be a good thing.” The publications are realizing that shift and are looking for thought leaders and people to come in and offer valuable content to many people who have the easy road for a bit. We’re pushing stuff out and it was getting published.
You and I did an email and an article series about how everyone isn’t Elon Musk. They need actual business principles and steps to move forward and grow their authority, not my Twelve-Step program. You end up at the same place you work as I give you a terrible explanation about how to build a funnel. It’s all of that. I hope it’s going away. I do see a lot less of it but I’m excited about that.
I try to ask people, “How would your business be impacted if not a sales pitch where a sales ad was popping up everywhere but a positive, impactful story, thought, or strategy was coming from you? How would that change how people saw you in your industry? If you’re already doing that on your podcast, make the most of it. Turn it into something where you’re in front of these 220 million readers and showing up in different places.” Everything is keyword-rich. That is the rule. It has to be but that’s on the back end, contributing to your Google ranking and then you backlink that on your website. All these benefits piled into one. A lot of it is for work that podcasters are already doing. They’re already putting out that good stuff.
They are already thought leaders telling stories and giving strategies, lessons, and tactics. That is missing in so much of the content that’s coming out there. It is a lot of regurgitation of the same five principles for SEO or creating a funnel. They’re doing it over and over again instead of saying, “Throwing out your funnel altogether might be the answer, and here’s why.” It doesn’t have to be contrary but let’s explore a thought like that.
One of the things that we’re going to do is one of the articles Sara and I are going to work on from a conversation that I had. There are a lot of companies out there who are getting investments, going and doing IPOs, and other things like that. They have a lot of bad and old outdated information out there. If you look them up, there was some lawsuit that was from a few years ago that hasn’t been wiped away. It’s still showing up on the first page at Google.
We have a strategy that we’ve worked on with crisis publicists before. I thought, “It is the time to rediscuss that in a new way for these companies that need to push these things down and bring out the good information that’s current that they’re doing and how you bring that up to the forefront.” There’s a whole strategy we have on that. What a great topic. Who wants to bring that up? There are tons of investment magazines that might want to bring that up or crisis publicists are always reading all the information about what publishers should be doing.
Maybe this is a new strategy they hadn’t considered. These are some of those things where you think about that topic. You’re not writing a column like I was so you can think about what the best publication for that message is that’s going to resonate, lead someone to subscribe to your podcast, find your business, and hire you for whatever it is that you sell but they’re doing it through the content that’s uniquely suited and relevant to them.
This is probably great for your specific audience to read. A lot of times, podcasters drop gems of information. It’s something they know so well. They don’t even think it’s this big thing. I’ve listened to shows before even years where I hear something. I’ve emailed you and said, “This is a whole article by itself. What about this? This is your forte.” I love listening to those episodes. When I find something, I always get so excited because I’m like, “There it is. That’s a good thing.”
We call them press articles here because you’re putting it into a press publication of some kind but I call them spin articles because it’s taking a maybe some concept and then spinning it into the niche. If I were discussing concepts about publicizing your podcast, those same things might be the same ideas you might want to do if you were an author of publicizing your book. We write for Breakthrough Author Magazine. That is our Juliet Clark publication where Sara and I are both involved.
We do that a lot. We will take the same concept and say, “This applies to authors, too. Why don’t we use the same advice and slant it a little bit differently for that audience to make it relevant to pull out the gems that are author-related?” This is something you can do. It helps to create those niches of audiences without you having to focus specifically on that in your episode when you’re trying to serve your community. I need to speak to podcasters predominantly here. I’ve got to be careful that I’m not drafting into all the little niches but I can do that with an article.
A lot of podcasters are authors. A lot of authors are entrepreneurs. There’s a lot of overlap in these different industries. Every single business owner is a content creator, whether you’re pushing that out, hiring that out and having someone come in and help, or doing it on your own. That’s always fun. Don’t be afraid to slant your content a little bit and make it a little more interesting and different because most of the time, there’s overlap in all of those.
Let’s talk a little bit about how this process works. Are you out there researching these publications? I’m not sure I know all the publications that publicists or authors might be reading. How does this work when you’re looking at trying to do this press article sitting out there of my show and thought leadership?You should own your content. Click To Tweet
Right off the bat, you said to me that I am interested in going in a tech direction. I have myself and one other researcher. It’s very much a customized process because it’s brand new and I want it to be perfect. I can’t help that. It looks like this. There’s an initial consultation where we talk about whether there’s a specific direction you want to go or what your goals are with that publication and that piece of content. We spend some time researching and pulling what we think is going to be the best direction and shoot that back with some different options.
Some people I’ve noticed already want to be hands-off. They’re like, “You decide.” That’s fine. We are capable of that. You see proof, you approve it, and it gets pushed out to the publications that you agreed upon. There’s a timeline. We’re noticing about a two-week response time. The larger publications are a little quicker which has been surprising to me.
It doesn’t surprise me because they’re desperate for enough content to feed the machine. They’re like, “We desperately need more.”
If the first publication picks it up, we’ll let you know if it links to your content. One important thing that I want to share is that a lot of these publications are like, “One month after we publish, you can do whatever you want with that.” You own that piece of content. Not only are you linking to where it gets published but then you can repost it. It can become a blog post. You can do whatever you want with it, pull blurbs out of it, turn them into social media posts, and all of that. That’s a big point. The other services I’ve seen that are similar are not offering anything like that. I’m very excited about that. I feel like you should own your content.
You’re speaking my language and you know that in listening to me over the years. “You should own your authority and content.” Another part of it that people don’t understand is having these cross-links and that’s what it is. When you get authorship or a byline in Inc. Magazine, TechCrunch, or any of those other publications out there, it doesn’t matter how big or small because even small ones in the right niche can help you.
When you get a cross-link where they’re linking your byline, they usually have a link that links to your main website, About page, or your podcast which many of them do. They give you one link and that’s in that little brief bio. Make sure you mention your podcast name in the bio. Don’t mess that up. When that’s linking through to your website, that’s cross-linking to you. If you do the same thing and link back to them, you create the full cross back to them and link directly to that page where your article is featured. That gives you a tremendous amount of digital and perception of authority.
If I come to someone and see a poll-like banner of logos of all the publications you’ve been in but none of them are clickable, I go, “Somebody put out a press release and made it into an entrepreneur. It made it into Forbes. There’s nothing real there.” You won’t believe it. It seems suspect. If I click on the logo, it goes to Inc.com instead of the article or my column within it. If it doesn’t do that, you’re not doing that deep-level connection job that is going to be creating a lot more authority for your site. That’s what this is doing for you. It gives you credibility and true technical digital authority that is required by SEO standards. That’s all happening in this process.
You think about these publications. They’ve got good SEO and Google rankings. If someone goes in and Google searches your name, what do you think is going to come up? That’s important because it’s that perception that you’re building.
I always used to set it. One month after the article was published, I would publish it on my website and then have a link back to the exact page. I would put that technically in the press section of my site so that people could see that but it was also in the regular main blog area. If someone were searching for the topic, they might find the podcast and that article. They would get both at the same time. It was powerful to be able to have both available because sometimes people want to read a shorter blog than your podcast episode. They want to read the summary version and that’s the summary version. It’s nice to have those things go side by side.
I remember because I spent so much time on your website how clean and simple it was to see what was available and what my options were with each article or podcast episode. It is super important. If you’re doing this in any way, make sure that you’re making it as easy as you can for anybody who’s coming to your website to see what they came there to see and access it. I cannot stress that enough.A lot of times, we don't even realize what we know and how valuable it is because we live in that space every day. Click To Tweet
If you’re an article reader, you want to read more articles, and vice versa, if you’re a podcast listener, you want to listen to more podcasts. You want to make that very easy to search and sort for. I knew because I had written in a column that I had readers in addition to listeners. It’s also one of the ways we always say, “You may have viewers so you want to make your YouTube accessible and easy.” What do you think makes it easier to pitch an article to some of these larger publications? What are they looking for in specific?
The most important feedback, a lot of it is very personal. They’ll email you directly and say, “This is not what the guidelines are. This is perfect with the guidelines but we were hoping for this.” They do give feedback from time to time but the most important thing is original content. It’s their job to find what’s new. Everything is new every day, especially in technology. We are pivoting constantly. Everything is exponential. They need to be on trend with that or even ahead of it. They need to be constantly in that forward-thinking space. That’s what they want and what’s going to get published every time.
Podcasters out there, I want you to think this through. There is a lot of stuff in our back catalogs that become popular episodes over time that are still getting a lot of listens. That says that you’re on to something. It’s relevant because someone’s scanning through. They find your podcast, scan through these episodes, and pick these because the topics are resonant to something they want. When you see that, those are the ones to turn into articles and reposition into the right area to maybe update them and make them more relevant today.
That is a great strategy as well. This crisis publicity thing that we’ve talked about before is in our first 100 episodes. We found it and dropped it into our chat or Zoom call. It’s old to us but it’s new to the startups that are struggling with this like these companies that are bad to IPO. You’re not just thinking, “It has to be something that I’m talking about today.” It’s taking something you’ve talked about consistently and saying, “How do I make it relevant for today?”
A lot of times, we don’t even realize what we know and how valuable it is because we live in that space every day. I asked every client that I’ve worked with on these publication articles so far, “What is your most downloaded episode?” A lot of times, they’re a little surprised too.
We have to be careful because in our download numbers with our Podetize experience, usually, the first five episodes are the most downloaded overall. That’s because somebody finds your show and is testing it out. Unless they exceed all the others at an extreme rate, then you probably want to pick something that’s farther into your catalog. Unless they were so fundamental and foundational, then you should include them. I always like to say, “What was the most popular episode in the last 50 because that would be within the last year?” That might be a better way to ask.
I might have to pivot that. I like that. That’s a good transition.
The other thing that we find is that if you’ve got a good guest who’s doing a good job of sharing it and you feature them in an article, you’ve given them a little bit more than they would have gotten otherwise. That’s the strategy you and I were using with Authority Magazine. I would do the interview and we would write their advice in a more generalized way but we’d say, “This came from this interview. If you’d like to hear more, here it is.”
Authority Magazine didn’t allow us to put the podcast in but they allowed us to put the YouTube video of it so you get the full-length interview. That was driving viewers and subscribers to the YouTube channel. Anytime you can find a publication that does that and you can work that in a quote from someone, you’re giving them an additional benefit from being on your show and the ability for them to then promote your article for you, which is what we do.
If you feature them again, you already know they’re going to share. They’re going to do a little cross-promotion. It’s so much more beneficial than constantly sharing your stuff. We’ve seen that over and over again.
What would you like everyone to know about the world of publishing articles? Is there any piece of advice for how we could approach this in a more effective way to get more publicity and power out of that?
1) Don’t be overly salesy. That’s the number one rule right off the bat. Whatever you’re thinking about presenting, it’s okay to speak to your expertise but it’s not okay to drown them in sales talk. They won’t get published. They’ll get kicked back immediately. The other thing is to take a look at the publication that you’re thinking about. If you’ve got something in mind and you think you want to push it out, look at their guidelines first.
Go to their home page and see what’s getting published and what styles of writing they are picking up. A lot of publications are different in the sense that they want 600 words and they want it to be shorthand sweet to the point. There are publications that want 1,200. They want you to lay it out and build this whole story of what you’re trying to say. Look at the publication. Do a little research first so you set yourself up for success.
We don’t usually do a lot of selling on this show but this is such a valuable non-podcasting. It’s what you do after to get more from your podcast that you might want to reach out to Sara. I don’t have to know if the publication is going to take 1,200 words or not. I can just say, “Sara, pitch to this publication,” and she’ll figure that out for me. It’s a fabulous part of having a partner in that model. Sara, thank you so much for being with us. I am so glad we’ve had this ongoing partnership over the years. It has been so wonderful to work with you. I hope others reach out and take note of the power that this has created in my platform and model that with you as well.
Thank you, Tracy. As always, it’s so much fun everything we work on together.
We’ll be back with another episode.