I'm a little bit biased as I own a PR agency, but there's no denying the power of PR. I wrote an article in Entrepreneur that generated high quality leads at http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/239077
One of my clients who we also got into Entrepreneur and Business Insider saw a 900% increase in quality web traffic since (high time per page and low bounce rate).
This type of PR is also known as thought leadership articles, guest posting, guest blogging or bylined articles.
Here are some rules of thumb to both write and land these types of opportunities with top media:
-Come up with a catchy headline. These days it's all about clickbait. Read the websites you want to get on and you'll get a feel for how to craft an intriguing headline.
-Use the 25/75 rule. The first 25% should identify the problem. Back it up with statistics and data if possible. The last 75% should provide concrete specific ideas to solve the problem. Usually about 4 to 6 points should do. The more you back up your points with data or real world examples, the more powerful it will be.
-Find the editors or contributing editors at the outlets, send them the entire article pasted into your email. Do not use an attachment for your first email to them. Also acceptable is a proposed headline and just a one paragraph synopsis of what the article would be about.
-Length should be between 800 to 1,000 words.
-Grammatical tense should avoid second person, meaning do not use "you" or "your" in the article.
By no means should PR be the only lead gen tactic, but it's one that can continue to pay dividends for a long time.
Other areas I'd recommend:
-Posting thoughtful comments on related articles as soon as they come out. Set up a free Google Alert for your area of expertise. One comment we left on a Business Week article a few years back generated a very high number of inbound traffic to our client's site.
-Answer related questions in a thoughtful and educational manner on Quora. Same type of principle as the commenting on articles above.
-Post educational videos on Youtube and/or Powerpoint presentations on Slideshare.
These are more guerrilla tactics, but are quite cost effective and powerful.
Contact me if you need more assistance.