18 Jan How to Use Content to Drive PR
Public relations center around one major objective: gain coverage. The basic techniques for this involve pitching reporters on new product releases, events or stories in which your company is featured. However, with significant shrinkage in editorial staffs, it’s harder and harder to secure placements because reporters have less time to listen to pitches or read releases. Content can offer an interesting workaround—but you have to treat journalists like any other target market and speak to their needs to be successful. Here are some ways to pare your pitch to journalists by using content.
Give them data. As you browse news stories, you’ll see plenty of coverage of studies in different areas. Journalists can quickly build a story based on new results in a specific area, whether it’s weight loss, business, travel or more. A company can put together an e-book that pulls together data from other sources and offer the e-book to reporters, giving them a handy source. By branding the e-book, it’s likely that your company will be cited as the source and gain coverage, especially when you pitch it by teasing key results with a headline as if it were a news story.
Another option is surveying your own customer database to produce your own study with relevant conclusions and offering that to journalists. So with one tactic, you obtain coverage and position your company as a thought leader.
Create events. Another way to distribute an e-book with data is by creating an event in which to present it. Depending on your industry, you could target customers and prospects to come to the event where you’ll present highlights of the e-book. But you can also invite journalists to the event as well. If your topic dovetails with their beat, you can generate interest and coverage—while also having your sales team on hand to connect with customers before and after the event. So even if you don’t capture a ton of media interest for the event itself, your sales team has a different way to engage with customers. And you can follow up any missed invitation to a reporter by sending them the study after the event to try and generate coverage.
Engage them regularly. A common use of content is creating newsletters or blog posts. If you research the areas of focus of relevant journalists, you can start reaching out to them regularly with your content by personally emailing them links to posts or e-books. This way, you get on their radar screen as a relevant expert in this area. More importantly, you can also construct pitches for stories similar to your content and rather than offer them an idea, show them a finished product that could spark their interest.
Create content with news pegs. Analyze the popular stories in your targeted outlets and use them as a basis for some of your content. That gives your story a “news peg”—a direct relationship to what’s being covered—and this added relevancy improves your chances of catching editors’ attention and getting coverage. The challenge is ensuring that the content serves your brand while also working with the news peg of popular stories.
Offer your content. One challenge that many media outlets face is smaller budgets, yet they still have the need to fill space. If you develop your content like a news story—heavy on analysis and with no self-promotion—you can offer it to editors to fill space. This tactic can often work, especially with industry publications that face tougher budget constraints. The key is to forego overt promotion in favor of positioning one of your team members as the expert author of the piece. With a simple byline and bio, you can obtain the same mention you’d get in a news story—but with control over the article content itself. With this tactic, it makes sense to offer content to both the short and long tail of the Internet, i.e. both mainstream outlets and bloggers with smaller audiences who may need content and have a relevant readership.
Contact us to find out how we use content to drive PR.