Why Local News Coverage Is So Important

When it comes to building your brand and standing out in the market, so many CEOs only focus on the big picture and on the national coverage. While this is important, it isn’t everything. In fact, most business owners are ignoring one of the most important types of coverage that there is; local coverage. It is important to never miss the opportunity to speak with local journalists or to take advantage of local media coverage, and here are five of the main reasons why.

Local Tv Producers Are Actually Very Well Connected

There is a really big misconception about the role that local news producers tend to play in today’s fast-paced media world. Chances are these individuals are actually some of the best contacts you can make if you want to start getting traction at a national level. You never know when that great relationship you built with a local producer can end up being a great relationship with an established news contact. 

Local News Experience Can Help You Build Your Media Experience

If you want a national news organization to put you on air and you have never been on television before, chances are they are going to be hesitant about how you will perform. After all, it is very important for national news producers to have a quality program and this means quality guests. If you have a bunch of local news appearances on your resume, it will only help showcase the media experience that you have and prove to national producers that you have what it takes to be poised and professional on-air and to handle any issues that may arise. 

Many Times National News Outlets Simply Take Local News Stories And Re-tell Them

In fact, this is often one of the best ways to get national coverage for the first time. If you are on air with the right story and the right angle on your local news outlet and the right national producer sees it, it can easily be your foot in the door to the country-wide coverage you have been looking for.

You Can Gain Credibility For Free

Getting coverage from your local news outlet can start helping you gain credibility in your industry, even if it is only in your local market. The best part? You can gain that credibility for free. There are so many people who will end up paying for an on-air segment because they can’t get on the news. Don’t waste your money, when you can usually get local coverage for free. 

Local News Still Can Still Help You Reach Lots Of People

The great thing about local news is that it is actually one of the fastest ways that you can reach tens of thousands of people. Trying to stand out in the national market without any experience, will not gain you this type of recognition. Plus, local news channels will still publish their stories online, meaning you are not only getting on-air recognition but building your online portfolio as well.

Keep these tips in mind whenever you consider doing local news spots. They may not seem like the most glamorous or headline-grabbing appearances, but they can really go a long way in helping you build your brand and your reputation in the market.

 

4 Ways PR Can Help Your SEO Campaign

PR and SEO go hand-in-hand, and an effective public relations strategy can play a major role in the success of your search engine optimization efforts. The entire digital ecosystem is constantly evolving, and today, more than ever, PR has a direct impact on SEO.

High quality content and outreach is mandatory for a successful SEO campaign, which is exactly what PR is built around. PR has its own strategy and direct benefits, but when you understand how it also impacts the success of your business in Google’s organic search results, it helps you realize just how important — and mandatory — it is.

Here are four examples of how PR can help your SEO campaign, directly contributing to more organic exposure and website traffic

1. EARN HIGH QUALITY BACKLINKS.

Backlinks have always been, and will continue to be, the number one ‘signal’ that Google’s algorithm uses to determine where your website shows up in the organic search results for keywords and search phrases relevant to the content on your pages.

There are hundreds of factors, but links are still the biggest contributor, although the types of links that Google loves has most certainly evolved over the years, and this is where PR comes into play.

It’s no longer about quantity when it comes to links — it’s all about quality. The most desired links are from high quality websites and publications, and these are not links that you can simply buy; they must be earned, and a well-executed PR strategy can help you secure the most desirable links within your industry.

2. DOMINATE THE SERPS FOR YOUR BRAND NAME AND KEYWORDS.

PR campaigns are designed to get publications talking about you and/or your business. When done successfully this results in several placements and mentions on high-authority outlets. The content on these authority-leading websites typically ranks high in the organic search results, which helps fill the top with content related to you and your business.

When someone is searching for your or your business and they see your brand name on top outlets it paints a very positive picture and helps to instill consumer confidence almost immediately.

Filling up the top of the search results page with content that you essentially control is also a very good strategy for brand protection in the event that an upset customer or a competitor writes something negative online.

3. LEVERAGE HIGH AUTHORITY WEBSITES TO RANK FOR KEYWORDS YOUR WEBSITE WON’T RANK FOR.

Ranking your website for specific keywords is sometimes very difficult, due to major players like Amazon, Apple or Walmart dominating the top spots. While you may not be able to reach the top on your own website, you can often leverage the authority of PR targets to rank on top and then use that placement to drive traffic back to your website.

When the PR effort is executed with SEO in mind, the article titles and content can be designed to target specific keywords and search queries that you want your brand to pull traffic from.

4. TRIGGER MORE BRAND SEARCH QUERIES — WHICH IS BENEFICIAL FOR GOOGLE’S ALGORITHM.

PR is designed to create buzz for your brand, and when done correctly it results in more people searching for more information. When you land a placement via PR, it puts your brand in front of a new audience. If the piece is done well, readers become interested in learning more and perform searches for more information.

These brand search queries are highly beneficial, as Google sees this as a sign of brand popularity, and begins to place more weight on your website, when determining where your content will show in the results. If two websites have similar authority and similar content, Google is going to display the one with more brand search queries in the higher position, as it assumes it’s what its users wants to see.

Best Tools For Measuring And Improving Your PR Coverage

Every marketer knows that the key to any public relations campaign is the human touch. But the reality of the industry is that we need the help of innovative technology to take your public relations strategy to the next level. From media outreach tools to advanced reporting, I’ve compiled my top nine tools for improving and measuring your PR coverage.

CISION

Cision is a holistic public relations management tool. Its platform allows PR professionals to identify influencers, create and track campaigns, and automate reports and analytics. One of its most prominent features is the Influencer Search tool, which enables users to search for influencers, decision-makers, and media contacts from media outlets all over the globe. You can pinpoint these contacts through filters such as contact topic, demographic area, outlet type, and more.

MUCK RACK

A cheaper “all-inclusive” PR management tool, Muck Rack is another great option for PR professionals to keep all of their public relations campaign elements in one place. A key feature of Muck Rack being the ability to create a profile as a contributor to showcase content you have written on multiple platforms.

GOOGLE ALERTS

Google Alerts is a “hidden gem” functionality within the Google G-Suite, allowing you to set up personalized notifications sent directly to your inbox notifying you of trends, interesting topics, or really anything on the internet. For example, you can set up an alert for your clients, which will notify you when the media is talking about them so you can be in the known of any buzz. You can also set up an alert for a trending topic or story. This allows you to take control of your newsfeed and have curated news delivered straight to your inbox.

MELTWATER

MeltWater is one of the most intelligent PR platforms on the market. What sets MeltWater is  AI-driven insights. They’re one of the first providers on the market to offer AI-driven media intelligence, ensuring you are always on top of the latest news and trends pertaining to your clients, including tracking impact and sentiment analysis in real time.

COVERAGEBOOK

CoverageBook is a simplified PR reporting tool. It allows you to just copy and paste the links of media placements into the platform, and CoverageBook compiles a visually appealing report that displays valuable metrics including social media shares, estimated coverage views, average domain authority, just to name a few. This tool is essential for agencies who want simplified, accurate reporting for any type of PR coverage, whether it be online or print.

GRAMMARLY

An essential tool for any writer, Grammarly is a virtual writing assistant. This AI-powered product allows you to upload any document or piece of writing, and Grammarly takes a look at it, providing specific recommendations for improvement including spelling errors, plagiarism-check, and word/grammar suggestions. No piece of content, article, or social media posts at Fifth Avenue Brands gets published without the help of Grammarly.

GOOGLE ANALYTICS

As a PR professional, chances are you’ve heard of Google Analytics. But are you using it to help measure the impact of your PR campaigns? Set up correctly, Google Analytics allows you to track the number of website or landing page visits a particular media placements yields. This is essential when determining the reach and impact of each media placement.

TRENDKITE

TrendKite is an intelligent communications platform, focused on earned media. Their PR Attribution capability helps PR pros understand content and publications that are driving the most traffic. This enables you to pivot your strategy to focus on the most powerful publications you should be honing in on for future strategy.

YESWARE

Your own personal “inbox assistant,” Yesware is an email tracking tool that tells you what happens after you click send. Designed to help you understand who is and who isn’t opening your email, Yesware can be installed in your email inbox, and is offers feature to help better streamline your inbox such as open rate stats, a meeting scheduler, and Salesforce integration.

Modern public relations is much more than relationship building. Use these tools to foster and grow your relationships with the media, and ensure your PR efforts as impactful and laser focused as possible.

How To Handle Media Rejection

No matter how much time you have spent creating a plan, honing the perfect launch strategy and fine-tuning your press releases, there are many business owners today who find that even with all of their efforts, sometimes the media just doesn’t care. You can do all of the prep-work you want and start pitching with confidence, but sometimes even the most talented pitches fall of deaf ears. So many of us have been there before, we try everything we can in order to get coverage, only to find the media never contacts you back.

Nothing can be as frustrating as putting in a great deal of time and energy into a pitch only to be faced with complete silence on the other end. You can have the most textbook pitch and something that looks utterly perfect on paper, only to find that you never get the attention you have been looking for. It can be frustrating, but there are some ways that you can handle this type of rejection so you can make the most of the situation you have been dealt.

Know When It’s Time To Stop Following Up

If you haven’t followed up yet with your pitch, feel free to send a follow-up email. Be polite and don’t be pushy or even try a fresh angle. Sometimes a follow-up can help. However, there are very few situations where multiple follow-ups can help you. If you have not heard back from the media and already followed up, you need to know when to stop.

There are lots of reasons why you may not be hearing back, some could be your fault, others could just be what has been going on in the industry lately or what is going on with a certain publication. If you keep following up to the point where you become a nuisance, you can end up hurting your chances for attention in the future. Don’t annoy the media and don’t take it personally.

If you’ve been met with silence more than once, let it go until you have something new to pitch.

Add Some New Info

So no one responded to your pitch. It can be frustrating. However, this is a great time to go back and look over what you sent. If you are looking to get some media attention and your pitch sounds like you’re selling something, then this could be a problem. There are so many editors who are understandably put off by the idea of a company trying to sell them a product or service instead of selling them a story.

Take a new approach to your pitch. Add some research information or insight on trends to show how your company is leading your market or how they are different from others in the space. You need to make sure that you provide enough information and the right angle to show the editor that they have a story in front of them. Sometimes, adding something like this can be just what you need to turn silence into acceptance.

Go Back Through Your Email List

There are so many companies who create a contact list and then constantly utilize that media list every time they need something to go to press. If you aren’t getting the attention you want, then it may not be what you are sending, but who you are sending it to. Make sure you research your media list and make sure that your contact information is still correct, if it is an old list, and that you are actually sending something that would appeal to the people on your list. If you are trying to sell a story about a small local business, don’t send it to the finance editor.

Don’t expect people to tell you that the story doesn’t fit within their realm of coverage either. Editors are very busy individuals and chances are they don’t have time to send an “I’m sorry but I don’t cover this type of story,” email to every message they get. If you want to find out if you are sending the wrong stories to the wrong people, you need to do the work yourself.

While it can be frustrating to deal with media rejection, if you keep these three tips in mind, you just may be able to get the answer you seek and prepare yourself to prevent rejection again in the future.

Could Fear Of Failure Become An Entrepreneur’s Greatest Teacher?

Those who venture into business on their own do so wishing and hoping they succeed on their first attempt. They open lines of credit, sacrifice family gatherings and devote all their time and effort to make their business succeed. Unfortunately, in some cases, hard work is not enough and ventures fail.

But the prospect of failure is not even in the picture for many of those who decide to invest themselves in a startup. There’s just too much riding on its success and, of course, that imposes a great deal of pressure and anxiety on the entrepreneur. Some even suspect that even thinking about the prospect of failure could jinx the startup.

However, could this refusal to even think about failure hurt you as an entrepreneur? Could it hurt your business? While failure itself can be a great teacher, showing us the way things could have been done differently, we are socially conditioned to fear it and that could be an entrepreneur greatest weakness: fear, not failure.

Fear is part of the human nature. It’s needed for us to move forward. How so? Whenever we step outside of our comfort zone we are frightened by those things that are new to us. And that’s natural; it’s not a sign of weakness or lack of resilience: it is a sign of humanity. There could be no drive pushing us to overcome our fears if it wasn’t for fear itself.

At first, fear freezes us. We stand shocked. Paralyzed. Should I go into business on my own? In this economy? Is it worth it? But what if it doesn’t work out? How much debt will I have if it fails? These questions are all too familiar to anyone who’s ever been interested in launching their own startups. However, those who have done it successfully were able to overcome that inner voice. How did they do that?

Believe it or not, when we use it to our own advantage, fear of failure can be a very powerful driving force. It forces us to be flexible with our goals, to be open to reframe them in case that’s what it takes in order to move forward. It also forces us to stay on our toes and visualize all possible obstacles that could stand in our way. It helps us, in conclusion, to stay sharp, to move fast, and to be responsive.

What Are The Benefits Of Public Relations To A Business?

The benefits of a public relations campaign to your business may seem evident: media coverage sends more potential clients to your website (and as a result, grows leads and revenue). But actually public relations campaigns offer a much wider array of ROI drivers that often go unrecognized and unleveraged by marketing teams– leaving money and brand equity on the table. Accounting for and measuring all of these benefits of a public relations campaign is necessary to know the true effectiveness of your efforts and optimize them accordingly. As management expert Peter Drucker said, if you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it. So before you update your public relations strategy, make sure you’re accounting for each of these ROI drivers below.

What Public Relations Benefits Are Businesses Overlooking?

The list of benefits to measure from a public relations campaign is long because of the unique ability PR has to also complement other channels in your marketing mix. The industry you’re in and the audience you target also plays a role in the ways your business will benefit from public relations. We’ve put together a guide that highlights the most important ones to consider, especially many that are often overlooked in the short term by many companies.

  1. Referral Traffic: The most obvious benefit from any public relations campaign is, of course, the referral traffic. Referral traffic is the traffic to your website directly from those who read about or see your business featured by a news network. In the case of a press article published online with a link back to your website, it’s the traffic from readers clicking that link directly back to your site. Referral traffic is the most basic benefit of a public relations campaign and one of the easiest to measure. However, it’s typically a short-term benefit unless you are consistently securing new press coverage to continue sending new referral traffic to your site. For one individual piece of press coverage, the bulk of referral traffic happens in the first 48-72 hours of the publicity going live because that’s when your news article is likely on the homepage of the press outlet.

  2. Social Proof: In marketing, social proof (coined by Robert Cialdini) is a term used to describe something that gives a brand social influence. Positive customer testimonials, critical reviews and positive press coverage are all examples of social proof that provides your brand more credibility. When social proof elements are incorporated into your marketing and sales materials, it increases your ability to sell a product. Customers trust and do business with brands that have a high degree of social proof, or in other words, a track record. Showcasing the press coverage your brand has received on your company website, your pitch decks, online advertising and even in your sales proposals has been a proven way to increase your conversion rates by building trust with prospects faster and shortening your sales cycle.

  3. Search Engine Rankings & Traffic: Although referral traffic from a piece of press coverage is often short-term, there is another form of traffic provided by public relations campaigns that lasts in perpetuity and that is search engine traffic. The website of a major news outlet often has a far higher Domain Authority than your own website. This means that an article about your company on a news outlet can often rank better for search keywords in your industry than your own website can, especially the very competitive keywords. When a press article about your own brand ranks well on a search engine for a beneficial keyword that your own website doesn’t rank for (or even if your website also does rank for that term) you are now benefiting from an additional search engine position that promotes your brand. When visitors find that article on a search engine and ultimately click through to your website from it, it provides a stream of traffic that lasts for as long as that article continues to rank in search (which for a high authority website, it can often be years).

  4. Activate Sales Leads from Your Email List: As was mentioned in the advice above about social proof, you can also take advantage of the same benefits by sharing your press coverage with your email list. Creating an email blast that announces your feature in the press and also provides a call to action back to one of the sales pages or offers on your website is a proven strategy for reactivating potential prospects from your email list that may have gone cold previously.

  5. Use PR in Social Media Advertising: For brands who are running social media advertising campaigns, incorporating your press coverage into your ads can help drive up your click-through and conversion rates. One of the most effective methods for doing so is to incorporate a mention of your press features in your ad copy or visual graphics. It helps establish credibility for your ad faster during a moment when you only have a matter of seconds to capture the attention of scrolling users. This credibility helps warm your prospect faster and shorten the purchasing cycle.

  6. Backlinks: Another important SEO benefit of public relations campaigns to businesses is the acquisition of backlinks through your press coverage. As mentioned above, news outlets have very high authority websites, which makes a backlink from their site very valuable to your own Domain Authority. Generating even one of these backlinks can improve the ranking of your own website on search engines, and generating an ongoing stream of them consistently can help turn your website into an SEO powerhouse that ranks for much more competitive search terms.

  7. Press Coverage is Permanent Exposure: Lastly, there is a key difference between receiving media coverage from a major news outlet and buying advertising on the very same outlet. Advertising is paid placement on a news outlet for a specified period of time. Once the time has ended, you either have to pay more to continue enjoying the same exposure, or you lose the exposure. With press coverage, your exposure on a news outlets website is permanent without the requirement of any additional investment. This means that the return on investment for a public relations campaign gets exponentially higher as time goes on due to the continuing public relations benefits for a business for the same initial investment.

Every day, countless new startups are emerging in today’s market and changing the way that our professional landscape. As an entrepreneur in charge of a new startup, it is important to get off on the right foot with all of your branding, marketing and public relations efforts. Here are five easy tips for first-time entrepreneurs to consider when they are looking to get their startup off the ground.

1. Be Prepared to Handle Bad Press

No one ever wants to handle bad press, but it is important that you are prepared to handle negative press before it ever happens. The more prepared you are, the better off you will be when it comes to handling bad press. You never know when an early mishap will happen as you are growing your company that leads to negative attention or a bad review. You should have a plan in place to handle these types of issues in case they occur.

2. Establish a Clear-Cut Identity Before You Open

Chances are you know the importance of establishing and maintaining a strong brand identity. Make sure that you have a clear-cut brand identity before you ever open, it will help you better communicate to the public and work on maintaining a strong image in the public eye. In order to do this you need to be able to identify what your values are, what your company culture is like, what makes you different from your competitors and what makes you unique.

3. Create Your Company’s Story

Every company needs a story. Creating a strong, identifiable narrative is an important part of good public relations. You need to have a story to share about your company, how it got started and what it is working towards. This is a story that you will need to be able to share with investors, the press and your target market of consumers.

4. Put your CEO out in the Forefront

Your CEO needs to be at the forefront of your business. If you want to get your company off to a strong start public relations wise, you need to make sure that your CEO is visible and out in the public. Your CEO’s face should become synonymous with your company name.

5. Consider Professional Help

While it can seem like a big expense for a company that is just getting off the ground, it is important to consider professional help in your public relations efforts. Hiring a firm can be a great way to help you stay on task and to make sure someone outside of your small and busy staff is working on your PR efforts.

Keep these tips in mind if you are looking to get your new startup off the ground with a strong PR presence. These are easy tips to implement into your PR strategy that will make sure your company has a strong presence from the moment you launch your new brand.

Crafting The Perfect Press Release

The perfect press release can win you additional exposure both online and offline. Contrary to popular belief, the press release is still a useful tool in your marketing arsenal. So how should you go about crafting the perfect press release? We’re going to go through it from top to bottom.

Make The Headline Punchy

The people you want to read your press release don’t have time for flowery language and exaggerated nonsense. They want the facts so they can create a story from it. A persuasive and punchy headline that gets to the point is what journalists and other industry influencers look for.

Your headline should be no more than a few words long. Refer to the title of this guide for a prime example of that.

The First Paragraph Should Tell The Story

Remember when we said that journalists and influencers are in a hurry?

They’re more likely to skim-read a press release than read it in detail. Give them all the information they want from the beginning. The first 100 words should explain the story, with the rest of the press release giving more details. Don’t try to lead people through the release with hooks and teasers. They don’t work in this format.

Keep It Short

Always keep things short. You don’t want to have a press release that goes over 500 words. Most of the time, it’s better to make them even shorter than that. Remember if anyone’s interested in hearing you tell your company’s story they will get in touch with you and you can lay out the details then.

Furthermore, you should make a special effort to minimize jargon. The people you’re trying to attract aren’t industry insiders. They likely won’t understand the technical aspects of your business.

Double/triple Check For Errors

There’s nothing worse than making a basic error. It leaves your company looking unprofessional and unskilled. There are tools available to help with this. We recommend picking up a tool like Grammarly. It will search and highlight any errors within your press release.

That way you’ll be able to catch potentially embarrassing mistakes before they happen.

Don’t Mass Send Your Press Release

Mass sending will lead to your press release going in the trash. Think about who you really want to see your press release. Opt for fewer sends and concentrate on your targets. We recommend picking out your targets to start with. Find your targets and write the release based on what they’re looking for.

The biggest complaint about press releases is they don’t seem to have much of a return. That’s because people aren’t focusing on targeting enough.

Last Word – Getting Better At Press Releases

Use these tips and look back at some of your previous press releases. Do they conform to the guidance given in this guide? If not, it may explain why you didn’t get the performance you were looking for. But that’s okay because you can improve your proficiency in press release writing.

10 Simple PR Tips Every Entrepreneur Should Know

There are a number of challenges that typically come with being an entrepreneur. For many business owners, these challenges include attempting to handle their own public relations matters. For entrepreneurs who are looking to get started on a budget and who can’t afford to pay a PR firm, there are ways they can successfully run their own public relations campaigns. If you are one of these entrepreneurs, in seek of a little extra assistance with your PR efforts, here are ten of the best, and most straightforward tips to consider when attempting to reach the public.

1. SPEAK AT SCHOOLS

Contact your alma matter and speak to someone in alumni relations. All types of institutions from graduate programs to high schools love putting news about graduates in their mailers.

2. CONNECT WITH BLOGGERS

Start reaching out to bloggers. Many PR pros find this is one of the most effected strategies when it comes to getting positive attention on any company. Try to contact at least five blogs a day to see if you can do a guest post or if they would be willing to do a piece on your company.

3. PITCH OFTEN

Start pitching stories on a regular basis, but make sure that you take the time to really carefully craft these stories. Don’t pitch a story that you yourself wouldn’t want to read.

4. HIT THE EVENT CIRCUIT

Never underestimate the power of networking events. Building relationships with others in your industry and in the business world is still one of the best ways to start generating positive PR. It is a classic approach and one that never fails to keep on delivering.

5. ONLY NEWSWORTHY INFORMATION

Don’t waste your time trying to put out pieces that aren’t news worthy. If you are going to take the time to write a press release and distribute that press release to the public, then you need to make sure you understand what news worthy really means.

6. TAKE OVER TWITTER

Utilize Twitter to your advantage. Virtually every journalist has a Twitter account. Use this as a way to form soft introductions. Don’t harass them on Twitter, be authentic and reach out. Start commenting on their work so they start recognizing your name.

7. USE DATA

Create pitches that have hard data. If you want to start pitching stories to the public the best thing you can do is to start collecting hard data. The more facts and figures that you have, the better off you will be. Numbers are always your friend.

8. INDUSTRY PUBLICATIONS

Reach out to industry publications. If you are a specialist in a certain area, make sure to reach out to publications within your field. Let these publications know that you are an expert and available to write feature articles or guest columns. This is a great way to solidify yourself as an expert in your industry and it can eventually help you get your company’s name out on a regional or national level.

9. USE BLOG COMMENTS

Use blog commenting as a way to introduce yourself to other professionals within your industry. A blog comment is a great way to show others that you are interested in what you have to say and that you admire what they are talking about. The right relationships with others in your field can help you both simultaneously promote your business.

10. CHARITABLE CONTESTS
A great way to get some extra coverage for your company is to create a charitable contest related to your business. For example, offering your customers a 20% discount if they bring in canned food. It is a great way to get people in the door, a great way to help your local community and a great way to get press coverage for your work as well.

Advice That Many Small Businesses Should Remember When It Comes To Media Relations

For many small businesses today, a great deal of their focus lies in getting their company noticed and to get their business the attention necessary to start getting some traction in the market. For many small businesses today, this obviously means making the rounds and trying their best to get the attention of journalists and other media contacts to give that company some exposure in the market. However, for more small businesses, they have very little insight into the world of public relations and how journalists view the many companies who are looking to get their attention and some publicity for their company.

For these small businesses, there are a few key pieces of advice that most journalists today will agree can help them get the attention of media outlets. While we have already touched on the importance of targeting the right journalists for the right pitches, and sending the right type of story in the press release, it is also important to remember the best ways to interact with journalists in order to get their attention and to find the best chance for success to getting the coverage you are looking for.

The first and most important thing to remember to treat these journalists with respect and to respect their position within the media world, by providing them with truthful information. Avoid overly exaggerating the story you are looking to sell, as this is disrespectful for the journalists who will be taking your story with your word that its truthful. You will also want to make sure that you are respecting their time and how valuable it is by not beating around the bush when contacting the, get to the point and let them know what it is that you are looking for. Finally respect them by giving the journalist some time to look over your story. Chances are, they have many press releases, pitches and stories to consider, so consistent pressuring may not be in your best benefit.

Remember that even if the journalist doesn’t publish your piece right away or if you think that they have just ignored your pitch for coverage, these journalists often have much more complex plans in place in terms of what they want to publish and when. Just because a journalist has received a story and hasn’t published it, it doesn’t mean that they haven’t tucked it away for publishing at a later date. With that in mind, don’t cast out a particular journalist because you think they don’t care about your pitch, realize that their job involves getting a lot of pitches and that ultimately, they need to do what’s best for them, their publication and their readers.

Elements Of A Successful Public Relations Campaign

Entrepreneurs and marketers will always debate how much of their budget to allocate for advertising versus public relations campaigns. In the past, an aggressive ad-campaign was all you needed to gain market share. That is no longer the case in today’s ultra-saturated consumer environment. Consumers are increasingly hungry for third-party information to make a better-informed purchase. This is especially true for millennial and generation-z consumers, who are known to view paid advertising as less genuine and therefore less reliable.

While younger consumers are the wariest of paid advertising, it’s by no means unique to those generations. Research shows that 70% of consumers want to become familiar with a company through articles as opposed to advertisements. With so much choice and information available these days, researching a company before making a decision is a must for the majority of consumers. If you want to thrive in this saturated environment, you need the credibility of third-party information standing behind your brand. This is where a well-crafted public relations campaign can be so effective at establishing credibility, reaching new audiences, and ultimately moving the needle on your highest priority business goals.

KNOW YOUR NARRATIVE

At the heart of every top-notch public relations campaign is a compelling story. Without an interesting narrative, any public relations effort is dead on arrival. This is often the most frustrating part of a campaign, but every single brand has an amazing story locked away somewhere: you just need to know where to look and how to present the best angle.

However, a story on its own is just words on a page. A public relations campaign needs both an amazing story and people who can spread it far and wide. This is where well-developed relationships with the media are worth their weight in gold. The media runs on a continuous flow of compelling stories, and it’s your job to feed the right story to the right people. This process should be a win for all sides: publications get novel, interesting content, and brands gain exposure and credibility.

BUILDING A PUBLIC RELATIONS CAMPAIGN

People may not want to hear it, but good public relations campaigns take time, often months. If you’re not going to dedicate the necessary time, you’re likely doing more harm than good. To ensure that you’re going about your public relations campaign in the right way, you need to dial in both your goals and your strategy.

When asked, most companies say their goal is to be featured in a certain publication, like the Wall Street Journal or Forbes. This is ultimately short-sighted, as media coverage is a public relations campaign strategy, not an end-goal. A goal should be concrete and measurable, such as an increase in sales by 10% by the end of the fiscal year. You may achieve this by getting placed in a premier publication, but that’s only one step in what should be a broad approach to driving results.

With your desired outcome set, it’s now time to build the strategy that will fuel your public relations campaign. Defining a viable strategy can seem daunting when there are so many paths to choose from, but they all rely on the same core elements: your message, desired audience, and how best to reach that audience.

Once you’ve defined your message, which again must be compelling and not just a sales pitch, it’s time to identify your target audience. For many companies your audience is current and potential customers, but it could also be a certain community, industry peers, investors, or even regulatory bodies. The right audience depends on the goal for your public relations campaign, so always craft your strategy with the end-result in mind.

With your ideal audience defined, identify which publications to target based on the media that your audience consumes. For example, if c-suite executives are your target you might look to outlets like the Wall Street Journal or Bloomberg. Major publications provide major exposure, but don’t shy away from more niche outlets based on size alone. At the end of the day the more (relevant) media you can target the better off your public relations campaign will be, and the closer you’ll be to achieving your goal.

MEDIA COVERAGE: THE ART OF PITCHING

To get your story out in the world requires media coverage, and there are three main ways to achieve this: a media pitch, a press release, and a media advisory. Using these correctly are where the value of an experienced public relations consultant really pays dividends. Press releases are what most people think of when they hear the phrase “public relations campaign”. It’s typically a one or two-page document that gives an in-depth overview of your news story. These are typically hosted on a company’s site or distributed via newswire but don’t expect reporters to be interested. They’re bombarded with hundreds of these each day, and they’re simply too long for today’s quick-paced media.

Where a press release is long and unwieldy, a media advisory is short and to the point. These are typically used to announce an event or to invite reporters to a press conference or briefing. These can be an important aspect of your public relations campaign, but again don’t expect reporters to take your advisory and run with it in their publications.

A media pitch is the main tool in your public relations campaign arsenal. A pitch is a very brief email, generally sent to reporters, editors or producers, that outlines your story and inquires if they want more information, such as an interview (here are our press interview tips). Pitching the media truly is an art, and something that takes a lot of practice to master. It all starts with the first thing the reporter sees: the subject line. These must as short as possible while still being compelling. Think of it almost as the title of your story, e.g. “3 Unexpected Benefits of Removing Sugar from your Diet”. Reporters get hundreds of emails per day, meaning your subject line is the only way to stave off outright rejection. Make sure that it’s interesting, succinct and clear in order to get your message opened.

After a friendly greeting, get right to the hook, or the meat, of your media pitch. In two to four sentences lay out the most important aspects of your message, followed by a few sentences that establish the credibility of the person or organization behind the story. Then wrap it up with a call-to-action, which is a one sentence or less reason for why the reporter should respond to your email. This usually takes the form of inquiring about setting up an interview to go in-depth on the story. The ultimate goal of media pitching in a public relations campaign is to get responses from the media, so make it easy for them to cover your story.

Entire books could be written on the art of pitching, but experience will always be the best teacher. To guide you, we have in fact written a very thorough how-to on best practices for pitching in our free public relations strategy guide here. A successful campaign might send out hundreds, if not thousands of pitches. Just keep in mind that journalists are people and professionals too, and a friendly relationship is worth infinitely more than a single article placement. At the end of the day you want to secure recurring placements in your target publications, so you can’t afford to burn any bridges. This is why a quality public relations campaign takes time, but if you have the patience and savvy to pull it off, the rewards are well worth the effort.