Public relations sounds so easy in theory. Send compelling content to publications and journalists, and watch the leads roll in. However, if you’ve been in the marketing world for over a day, you know how hard it can be to get media attention, especially online.
The digital world is filled with noise. You’re not only competing for target audience attention with businesses in your industry but with businesses around the globe. As cited by BuzzSumo, a 2022 Cision survey of journalists found that nearly eight out of 10 received over 100 pitches weekly. That’s a lot of information to sift through! Fractl notes that 57% of publications receive as many as 500 submissions weekly. Again, that’s a barrage of incoming email messages, DMs, and phone calls to evaluate.
That’s the reality of modern media relations, and it explains why getting traction for your organization can seem tough as nails. Yet, it doesn’t mean you can’t move forward with a few strategies to rise above the chatter and get your brand noticed by media professionals. Taking pragmatic steps can allow you to get more bang for your PR buck.
1. Know the reason behind every PR campaign.
A good way to fail at PR is to start blanketing pitches to media people or to mass email generic press releases. Each of your PR campaigns deserves to be thoughtfully mapped out. This helps you understand (and be able to answer) the “Why?” behind what you’re doing.
A thoughtfully planned roadmap allows you to make sure you’re targeting the right outlets and professionals. It also keeps you on track regarding sending content and following up. Nothing could be more valuable to your PR success than documenting every initiative and sharing the documentation with applicable team members.
2. Think of PR as story-sharing.
Often, press releases have little oomph. Your job is to find the nugget of interest in whatever you’re trying to compel a media publication to reprint. For instance, let’s say your company just won an award. That’s great, but why should a journalist care? Connecting your award to something irresistible increases your odds of getting some hits.
Remember that this isn’t your grandparent’s PR world. Journalists need content that’s bite-sized, relevant, and sticky. They’re actively looking for something that stands out. Ensure you’re truthful and consistent so your narratives have honesty and interest.
3. Mix up your PR content types.
While sending out PR items in text form — media releases, case studies, and reports — is fairly standard, things are changing. Many PR pros are experimenting with other forms of content, such as videos, audio files, and infographics. You’ll need to research your target media outlets to see whether they accept these alternative forms of pitches, of course. If they do, make sure that your content aligns with what they are currently publishing.
For example, if you plan to try a video media pitch, explore your preferred outlets first. Do they even have video content on their sites? If yes, find out what kinds of videos they post most frequently. Task your team with figuring out all these odds and ends before reaching out to a journalist or contact person. That way, you won’t waste anyone’s time.
4. Lean into data and analytics to pinpoint what’s working.
According to a 2021 Business2Community article, nearly one-quarter of all communications department pros struggle with using metrics. Perhaps you feel the same way, particularly when measuring your PR efforts. To be sure, some PR goals can be complex and harder to track with data than others. Nevertheless, most can be attached to KPIs.
Let’s say your latest PR campaign involves getting a press release around your brand’s newest mascot published. You can measure the percentage of outlets that pick up the story, the number of people who use backlinks to visit your page from those mentions, and other pertinent data points. A robust CRM or other system can make this happen automatically, allowing you to create real-time reports to evaluate ur daily progress.
Above all else, building relationships with media publications and experts will naturally take time. But you can start creating stronger connections by leveraging strategies to help your PR approaches become more appealing and rewarding.
Contributed to EO by Mike Szczesny, the owner and vice president of EDCO Awards & Specialties, a dedicated supplier of employee recognition products, unique trophies, branded merchandise, and athletic awards. Szczesny takes pride in EDCO’s ability to help companies go the extra mile in expressing gratitude and appreciation to their employees. He resides in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.