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The Benefits of Being Featured in Mainstream Media

What impact does being featured in a mainstream media publication have upon a blog?

Mainstream-Media-1Skellie 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:

  1. 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?’
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
  1. Cool thing getting featured like that. It would probably help more if it was something like Reuters, CNN or MSNBC covering it.

  2. If I may share my experience as someone who blogs and has written for MSM — I think you’re right, you won’t always get so much direct traffic from links provided in MSM but it’s a great to generate awareness about your blog, to network and expand influence. When I was a columnist at Citylink, I was expecting a ton of traffic for Sex and the Beach every time I published a column, but I never noticed any huge spikes. Nevertheless, with a circulation of 60,000, that was how many more folks had the potential to become aware of the blog.

    One thing to keep in mind is that many print publications are short-lived in people’s hands and that their online versions don’t archive stories. Silly me, I never cached my columns (as they appeared in publication), my links are dead and I have to retype each column and repost on my blog.

  3. 6. It’s just cool!

  4. hello darren, congrats for being featured..maybe next time you will call for the live interview in “late night show” :D

  5. This is an interesting perspective, Initially I imagined it would have resulted in a great deal of traffic, so I was interested to learn of your results.
    However, I would imagine that media exposure such as you received, does expose your brand position to a great deal of influential advertising people, and over time, this translates to major companies putting blogging product into their budget allocations.

  6. Funny you should bring this up. One of my sites is featured in the Maine Sunday Telegram today.
    At Seguin, A Tragedy of Insanity and Mayhem
    I have been interviewed for the National Journal (no link provided in that story :(), and was interviewed for a Fairfield CT newspaper.
    I have noticed some additional traffic from it, but certainly not enough to crash the site. Of course, that remains to be seen, since it’s still early in the day here, but I think the benefits are more to setting yourself up as an authority in your field.
    Somehow, the print medium is still more respectable than the web. Go figure.

  7. Congrats Darren! I’ve been featured a few times in local media and it gives you the opportunity to reach a whole new level of audience.

  8. Presumably you could also use it as a way of charging more for your advertising. Hey, advertise on this blog, as featured in XYZ magazine etc.

  9. I love the attention that I get from main stream media. It serves to add credibility to the site and that is half of the battle with everyone and their dog throwing up blogs these days.
    My site was recently featured on XM Radio and it wasn’t so much the traffic that I liked, but my buddies calling me up and saying “Was that really your NHL Digest.com that was mentioned on XM today?”

  10. 4 years ago I got mentioned on a TV-show. Since this was a TV-show for computer gamers. I got about 30.000 unique visitors on the same day. The day after only 5.000 more since there was a post on the website of the show. Only a couple of subscribers after that…

  11. Our blog was chosen by The Guardian newspaper as one of their favourite travel blogs – the mention was in the online version, not the paper itself.

    At first I was disappointed, don’t get me wrong I was still excited, but I quickly realised the online version is better because there’s a link.

    With the paper, although they would publish a link, you’re relying on the readers firing up their browser and entering it, if they could be bothered.


    Now that Problogger has put the stamp of approval that media coverage help bloggers, this is a post titled ‘Top 5 steps for bloggers to get written about in newspapers and magazines’ that was written as part of the Problogger group project months back. The content might be relevant:


  13. Hey Darren- I totally echo your sentiments, The Budget Fashionista been featured tons of press (including big American TV shows like TODAY show and Good Morning America) and in major publications like New York Times.

    I think it has to do to with the fact that unless there is a direct link present, The reader has to take several extra steps in order to get to your site (cut out the article, turn on the computer, type in the url or type keyword into google,).

    However, it does give you credibility in your field because traditional media is still looked upon as being the “gold standard” in terms of branding and if you’re looking to expand your platform offline having MSM is crucial.

  14. Hey Darren,

    Great points, and that’s where we are to. These days we don’t chase these appearances, but we do take advantage of what comes our way.

    Media is not that great at driving traffic, that’s not what it’s about. It’s about exposure and getting in front of a new audience, often times an audience rich with people who have access to many more new audiences (read: other journalists watching what their colleagues are doing). That’s huge.

    As our Dating & Relationship site has really taken off this past year, we’ve been fortunate enough to get a number of media opportunities, including newspapers, radio, and TV.

    These have been overall really great for instant credibility, but there are also some down sides that we didn’t know about beforehand.

    While our URL was clearly visible in most every one of these (because we always requested that), we were surprised at the relatively small amount of traffic received as a result.

    Radio is great because there’s virtually no prep overhead… you call in and they put you on. Just like writing or filming a piece for our website really.

    Newspapers and magazines are great too, same benefits and little drawback.

    But TV has a lot of overhead… With the exception of CNN Headline News (which has Dallas offices), every show we’ve talked to asked us to fly out to their studios, whether it was in Hollywood or New York.

    Between preparing the trip, packing, traveling, etc, you break your routine. So unless you’ve got your content producing down to a fine science (we’re almost there), your output can take a hit.

    On the bright side our unplanned recent Hollywood visit was a great excuse to take a romantic day off together at the Four Seasons Beverly Hills, but our weekly productivity schedule was still severely disrupted.

    So upsides and downsides, but overall having a few of these is definitely a good thing.

    Have an awesome day!
    Dan & Jennifer

  15. It may not increase traffic as much as some other marketing efforts might, but the amount of contacts you receive must be a little overwhelming at times.

    It is hard to keep up with email as it is, but a mention on mainstream media might flood the inbox with more email you don’t want to answer than usual, mixed with a few gems you wouldn’t want to miss :)

    Great post, thanks. Scott

  16. A few months back I got a blurb in the Chicago Tribune’s Home & Garden section and it was picked up by popular Chicago area blog. I didn’t get that much traffic from it but I did notice how after it ran my blog started getting more visits from people searching for the name I use for it and my on-line alias. I still get hits to my blog from the on-line version of the Trib’s article and from the popular blog that picked the story and published the link to my blog.

    But mostly what I got was a bunch of spam and paypal scammers offering to buy links on my blog. Made a few nice on-line friends because of it but I’m still waiting for the phone to ring and hear Martha Stewart, Burpee or Smith & Hawken on the other end.

  17. When MDJ was published as the “featured” article on the front page of the main local newspaper, my traffic tripled nearly a week. However, I don’t think that it had a lasting effect as the local visitors have dropped with time.

  18. Well this makes sense to me. I (or my company) have been mentioned a few times recently in the last couple of months and although I did see a little increase in blog traffic, I didn’t see a ‘holy cow’ increase. I have blog ties from my corporate site so I see some increased hits because readers are more likely to go directly to the corporate site and then click on links to the blog.

    Who knows maybe some advertisers will see the article and then want to buy some ads on my blog!

  19. I had a site featured on NBC’s “The Today Show” a few weeks back. While the “cool” factor was a 10… the traffic factor was a 1… ;-)

    In regards to TV… Most folks are not sitting on a computer while watching a morning TV show… hence you don’t get any immediate boost in traffic.

    We did get intangibles like additional media coverage along with some exposure to bigger ad networks interested in working with us.

  20. I’ve been featured in most local papers and a few mags and one-off mentions don’t do much. It comes down to the old advertising equation that to make an impact you need to reach a load of people frequently. Having had my blog mentioned at the end of my column in the Herald Sun since march my traffic has nearly doubled. Being features in a blog is a different matter. Two years ago in my early days my traffic went up tenfold to over 2,000 viists a day after a mention in Lifehacker.

  21. Here, here on your last sentence, Darren.

    Now – how do I ask my editor to please allow me to make reference to my blog in the magazine I am writing for?!

    (Note: that was a hypothetical question……although I am asking myself this this week!)

  22. A link to a blog from one of the major media’s Websites has a significant impact on your pagerank. It appears that this type of back link is given much more credibility by algos than a sponsor or advertising link that is detected.

    But the only time a major media outlet will mention another Website or blog is if there is a controversy. Now media outlets have their own blogs that they are promoting.

  23. Nice going Darren. This fine site finally got some traditional press. Hope it encourages more people to start blogging, and gets you some new readers.

  24. I know that I check blogs that I’ve read about in the mainstream press–and have even subscribed to a couple. Maybe I’m an unusual customer, but I can’t be the only one!

    That said, it sounds like a lot of folks do not in fact notice much increase in traffic, but for smaller blogs every little bit helps.


  25. No to boast or something.

    I was twice featured in our national newspaper, Gave me around 100+ direct traffic and increased my name search a bit.

    Nice observation Darren, 2 tumbs up.

    Here’s the link to the news BTW:

  26. I do follow links published in print media if the article seems interesting, but never on TV or radio for the reason mentioned by Sockmoney above, I’m never near a computer when I see or hear a link and can never remember it later.

    Bye the way, love the picture.

  27. The Manolo, who have been mentioned and featured in the traditional press many times, must agree with the above sentiments, that these mentions rarely results in the substantial increase in the readers.

    The only exceptions have been in those cases where the newspapers or magazines have also had the online version, one which included the links to the Manolo’s humble shoe blog.

    Even the Manolo’s own weekly column in the Express of the Washington Post, generates only the few hundred extra visitors each week.

    But, as the same of the time, these exposures have greatly increased the Manolo’s visibility and credibility, and now he is considered one of the experts in the world of shoes and fashion, and weekly receives requests for the interviews.

  28. I agree with you completely. It helps lend credibility to other projects. It’s also important for brand perception and communication to your audience.

  29. That’s why when looking at advertising,
    I reco linking the medium of the advertising
    with the medium of the product.
    For example:
    Advertise eBooks online.

    Sounds like a no-brainer
    but you’d be surprised…

  30. I’ve been featured in a few publications and on some radio shows, the best one for my site was when I asked the show host to put a link up on his blog. Major traffic for several days, rather than a couple of hours instant traffic (which is all radio will get you normally).

    On another occassion, I spoke for about 5 minutes in a radio show (recorded interview) and the host read my URL out totally wrong. Thanks for that! Total waste of time.

    If you ever get interviewed by a paper/radio station or on TV be sure to request a blog or homepage link from their site – just drop it in there as an innocent request!:)

    If nothing else, once in a while, it is always good to have your opinion ratified… and your ego stroked

  31. The impulse buyers will very rarely follow offline url to online. The gap is too large.

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