Last week I was fortunate to attend and speak at PRSA’s International Conference 2016 in Indianapolis. There are so many marketing hacks that as integrators, we use to shorten up the timeframe it takes to get earned media placements. Here are the main points. I’ve also included the presentation below.
Create media personas. Most of us know how to create customer personas, but personas for media can be helpful too. Print journalists, bloggers, TV producers and other members of the media all have different ways they like to be reached. They also have unique content acquisition behavior, which has become more and more important as the search for stories (the media’s “buying cycle”) becomes more and more self-directed.
Put your information when and where they’ll find it. Media has less and less need for story ideas that are pitched. Understand where your media personas find their content and ideas, and when they’re most likely to access them. Customize your pitch and background information not only to what they like to absorb, but where and when they like to absorb it.
Give them a great “customer” experience. Studies show that the main differentiator in any buying cycle is fast becoming the customer’s experience with that product or brand, not the product or brand features or price. Thinking of the media like a customer, how can you improve the relationship with your media contact? Can you provide more background information, or media experts for their stories? What sort of value-add can you provide them?
Create the right hook. Trending information is easily accessible via Google Trends, Buzzsumo and other tools. Try to use the right subject lines and first or second sentences that include keywords and phrases that are trending in the are you’re pitching. It’s bait, but it works. (Visit LinharPR.com for this great blog on using Google Trends for pitching.)
Test iteratively. Stop creating one pitch and one subject line and sending it out, hoping for the best. Based on your trend research, create two subject lines and send your pitch in waves. See what garners the most attention, and adjust. Save your well-tested subject line and openers for the most important media on your list.
Get in bed with analytics. Digital marketers often look at results daily to see what’s happening. Don’t pitch anything that can’t be tested, whether it’s a unique landing page for your release, or even just an expert’s LinkedIn profile page. See what’s happening on the other end to traffic, referrals and other stats as you pitch and at the end of your pitch. Develop some baselines so you know what’s working…and what isn’t.