What impact does being featured in a mainstream media publication have upon a blog?
Skellie asked in comments about what type of traffic a mention in a mainstream media story can bring into a blog. I answered in the comments on the post but thought it might be something worth exploring quickly in a post as well.
I’ve been featured in a number of mainstream media publications of the last few years and would make the following observations:
It doesn’t bring a lot of direct traffic – I’m sure it varies from publication to publication and story to story but I’ve never seen much of an increase in traffic from any mention in a paper, magazine or even TV appearances. This is sometimes due to there not being a link mentioned – and sometimes just…. well just because.
The benefits of being featured in mainstream media are not so much about traffic but include:
- branding/profile/awareness – whether it’s in a MSM publication or anywhere else – every time you are featured can help (more on this theory of personal branding here). I regularly meet people who have never seen my blog – but say things like ‘didn’t I see you in The Age?’
- contacts – everytime I get some mainstream media attention I get calls, emails etc from people wanting to connect. Many times these are fairly low level and incidental connections, but sometimes they lead to great opportunities.
- flow on media attention – there’s something about being mentioned in one paper that tends to trigger other media outlets (or even the same one) to do similar or followup stories. I find that MSM attention often comes in fits and starts with numerous in a short period and then nothing for a while.
- credibility – whether it be with your family and friends, potential clients, book publishers or potential readers – there are just some people who respect a mention in a mainstream media outlet than if they see you mentioned on another blog.
- widening circles of influence – connected to much of the above is that an appearance in MSM tends to widen your circle of influence and gives you access to a different audience. The problem that many bloggers face is that they grow to a point but then exhaust their natural circles of influence (or reach a saturation point). Mainstream media can open up a new audience to you. It may not be a large audience – but it can often be an influential one and you never know what might come from it.
I don’t spend a lot of time trying to get mentions in mainstream media publications – however I don’t knock them back – for the above reasons and one more. The last reason is that I find that I learn something new every time I’m interviewed, quoted or featured in an article. I learn about communication, journalism, media etc – and I’m a firm believer in putting yourself in situations where I’m always learning – this makes me a better blogger.