Earned Media Tips for a New Era By Lenny Santiago, Director of Public Relations for Moxē Integrated Marketing Agency
Public Relations practitioners have increased their creativity when pitching stories to generate earned media in a time when the news outlets are swamped with Covid-19 coverage. In a recent webcast hosted by the Public Relations Society of America, Michael Smart, a PR trainer, and coach studied recent successful media outreach campaigns and shared what made them work. Examples spanned all industries and organization sizes, but Smart provided seven overarching factors that came into play in making a particular pitch successful:
- Be a Strategic Advisor – Speak with your clients or bosses and advise them on what makes a good story angle. How is a particular news item relevant to the reporter and their readers? Create newsworthy angles that stand out in the face of intense competition during a pandemic.
- Develop Journalist Relationships – This one seems like a no-brainer as relationships are key to developing opportunities for story and content pitching. Take the time to get to know the journalists in your industry and coverage area.
- Share Objective Data – Become a valued resource for a reporter by providing objective data that is relevant to their story and beat. This data can be in the forms of studies conducted by your client or company, or third-party research that is relevant to a specific pitch topic. The point here is to provide data that helps tell and shape the story.
- Do PR for yourself – It is important for those within your company or client to be aware of the work you do to generate earned coverage. Doing so helps them understand how they can help in providing story ideas, thus allowing you to mine other departments or divisions to find story angles to pitch.
- Personalized Pitching Pays – Blast email pitching is never recommended and rarely results in a positive outcome. Take the time to understand your target and personalize the pitch to the particular journalist. This includes researching their prior stories, searching their Twitter feed, and understanding the topics that are most relevant to them.
- Think Beyond Earned Media – Earned media is one of the four pillars in a fully integrated communications approach, a practice that is followed at Moxē for all our PR clients. The others are Paid, Shared, and Owned media. Use opportunities for thought leadership and blog pieces, and make sure you leverage your controlled media spaces to tell those stories. Then you can pitch those topics to reporters who might be interested in running the content as a contributed piece.
- Pursue Non-Traditional Outlets – Think beyond the major publications and focus instead on niche publications that might be interested in more specific topics that mirror your client or company’s area of expertise. Email industry newsletters also represent good opportunities for contributed content and are sent directly to a reader’s inbox. Lastly, podcasts can be a good target for a longer-format interview opportunity.
Despite operating in such a challenging space during the pandemic, these seven tips can be applied across any industry and they will help drive earned media coverage for your client or company.
Lenny Santiago is Director of Public Relations for Moxē Integrated Marketing in Orlando, Fla. He can be reached at [email protected]