Online Media: Just as Powerful as National Print/Broadcast Coverage

Let’s be honest, when most people think of successful consumer publicity, monthly glossies like Real Simple and Good Housekeeping are at the top of the wish list. However, securing coverage with the right online media sites can make just as big of impact for your brand and/or product and help support organic search engine optimization.

At a time when the number and size of traditional print consumer magazines is shrinking and competition for prime editorial coverage is fierce, the online magazine industry is growing and online publishers are learning to deliver content in a format familiar to magazine readers.  In fact, a recent article in the New York Times highlights The Thriving (Online) Shelter Magazine Industry.

Following are important reasons your publicity and media relations campaign should include an online component:

1. Focused target audience. As the New York Times article identifies, many online publications are focused on one particular niche or topic.  For example, an online shelter magazine is entirely dedicated to design while a national glossy like Good Housekeeping may only have five pages worth of home décor and care tips.  There is more opportunity for your company or product to be featured in an online publication dedicated entirely to one subject.  Also, the publication’s audience is already interested in the topic, otherwise they wouldn’t be on the site.

2. Coverage appears sooner. Typical lead-time for a national consumer print publication is about 6 months.  That means even if you start pitching today, the earliest you will see coverage is November.  Online magazines and news sites operate on a much shorter editorial cycle, providing an opportunity to secure quick media coverage.

3. Coverage lives on. Once an article is published online, it exists on the Internet indefinitely, while print pubs are often tossed or recycled after reading.  Online media coverage has the longer shelf life, and, if it is positive, serves as a testimonial for your brand for consumers conducting online research for years to come.

4. Drive consumers directly to a website. Often online media include a link directly to a product or service website.  This can make measuring online media simple.  With Google Analytics properly set up, it is easy to track how much direct traffic a particular article resulted in, and whether any of that traffic converted to sales.

5. Enhances organic search engine optimization:  If a well-known media site, especially one with a good Google page rank, includes a direct link to your site, it will help to increase your organic search engine optimization.  Media sites are seen as more credible sources by search engines than your average site.

6. Reach mobile consumers. As we shared in our recent post on QR Codes, 1 in 2 Americans will have a smartphone by this Christmas.  Online media is easily accessible to smartphone users through apps and mobile sites.

7. Gain feedback. Some online publications – those not developed in e-reader formats – provide readers with the capability to post in response to articles.  Marketers can gain feedback about their company/products and even respond to consumer comments/concerns/questions.

8. Powerful reach. A common misconception is that online publications do not reach nearly as many readers as traditional media. Whether it is the online counterpart of print media or an online-only publication, these sites reach large numbers of unique monthly visitors.  Find the site’s online media kit or use free tools like or to identify an outlet’s monthly visitors.

9. Real-time sharing. If a reader thinks your product or story is useful or compelling, they can share a link to your story immediately.  With print coverage, pass-along readership has value, but often takes longer to occur.  With online coverage, your message has the potential to spread faster and bypass geographic barriers.

Need help launching a traditional and online publicity and media relations campaign? Contact me at kayleigh (at) sweeneypr (dot) com.


Jim Sweeney


Jim is a veteran of the agency industry and the founder of Sweeney. He is uncommonly passionate about the idea of creating and implementing insanely great marketing campaigns that achieve insanely great results. He pioneered the full-service, full-circle agency model and continues to forge new ideas in an ever-changing industry. And he is accessible to everyone about anything, seemingly all the time, serving as a mentor to all agency personnel and clients.