Your great content deserves a publicist.
A public relations strategy built around your content helps both PR and marketing teams meet their goals (which should, in turn, support business goals). It gives your PR colleagues a reason to talk about your brand in the media. It expands your content’s reach to new audiences through earned media coverage. And it increases opportunities to earn backlinks from authoritative sites, which could help your SEO rankings.
A PR strategy for your content should be an easy internal sell – it uses existing resources to obtain free distribution for the content you’re already creating. You can’t get more budget-friendly than that.A #PR strategy for your #ContentMarketing means free distribution for work you’ve already done. You can’t get more budget-friendly than that, says @AnnGynn via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet
I asked three “content publicists” how they spot and pursue opportunities to pitch content to media outlets.
Choose the right media outlets
Vanmark, a manufacturer of produce and potato processing equipment, was making a video with its client Downey Potato Chips when their PR rep – Michelle Garrett of Garrett Public Relations – saw an opportunity.
Michelle wrote a story based on the video for Vanmark’s blog, then pitched it to industry publications she knew accepted content originally published on the provider’s site.
The article, Downey’s Potato Chips Poised for Growth with Upgraded Vanmark Equipment, appeared on the manufacturer’s site and ran in Food Industry Executive, Snack and Bakery, and Potato Pro.
“The publications really liked the story and the visuals. That made it an easy piece for them to publish. There have been no follow-up questions or anything,” Michelle reports.
TIP: Include numbers in your content. Journalists appreciate data showing the solution helped and how more than they do sentences just saying it does.
Michelle, co-host of #PRLunchHour on Twitter Spaces, makes it sound easy. It isn’t. The secret, she says, is to know your audience – in this case, the media outlets whose readers, viewers, or listeners are similar to your desired audience.
In your research, identify both topical media and the parameters around their content. For example, do they publish content from third parties, or does all their content have staff bylines? If it’s the latter, don’t expect them to be interested in accepting the content you provide.
Work with your PR team to educate executives and team members so they understand that not every publication will publish the content you provide.
“We understood this story was not Wall Street Journal material, but that’s OK because the client knows where its prospects and customers spend time,” Michelle explains. “I always try to get clients to focus on that first before we do any media outreach. Sometimes they think it’s the WSJ, but really, it’s industry publications.”When pitching your #Content, focus on media your prospects and customers read, says @PRisUs via @AnnGynn @CMIContent. Click To Tweet
Streamline the PR content process
Roy Sarkar, principal at Roy Writes Content, uses a content-based PR strategy for his client Crank Software. The strategy is based on two primary goals – brand/product awareness and backlinks from sites with high domain authorities.
“I pitch several sites with similar topics, then customize the copy for submission,” Roy says. He’s hit on a way to streamline that process to save time.
First, Roy writes a base article with five to seven sections (delineated by H2 subheads). Then, he customizes the submissions by choosing three sections from the base article to create one appropriate for each outlet.
Following that process, he got a story published on Embedded: How to Build a Better UX Experience for IoT Devices published on Embedded.
TIP: A pitch is a brief overview designed to let the media outlet know what the article will cover and how it would benefit their reader. Don’t craft pitches that are more than a few paragraphs. Even better, make a bulleted list for easy reading.
Like Michelle, Roy says success comes from researching the outlets, finding the right editor or journalist to contact, and explaining why the article is related to the content they already post.
He sometimes includes a link to a story in the publication he’s pitching in the articles he pitches. This approach demonstrates he’s familiar with the outlet and can help its internal-linking strategy.Find the right editor or journalist, then explain how the #Content you’re pitching relates to what they already publish, says @readroy via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet
Repurpose existing content for third-party media
That’s how Quirk’s Media ended up publishing this article on cross-functional collaboration under Voxpopme co-founder Dave Carruthers’ byline.
“We have all these podcast interviews, and we wrote an article based on all the things people have said,” Christoph explains.
Voxpopme pitched several article ideas based on its podcast topics to Quirk’s Media, which selected one. The Voxpopme team then put together the content.
Christoph says he doesn’t see the outreach as pitching. “I try not to be obnoxious and ‘pitch’ content when I have a good story that I think might be of interest,” he says. “When I email people, I just say, ‘Hey, I thought this is interesting. Do you think it is?’”
He sends those emails judiciously so as not to irritate the media outlet and cause them to ignore future content outreach. For example, after his recent pitch to Quirk’s Media, Christoph won’t pitch them again until late this year or even next.Offer #Content to media outlets judiciously so they won’t ignore your future outreach, says @ctrappe via @AnnGynn @CMIContent. Click To Tweet
Get more attention for your content
A successful PR strategy for your content involves several things. Plan ahead – what content is under creation that could work for media, too. What media cover those topics for an audience that you want to reach?
Then, be selective in your content pitches. Pick media outlets that already publish articles or videos from third-party sources. Ensure the content you want the target media outlets to accept is relevant and told in an interesting (and not promotional) way.
Once you get your content published on a third-party site, promote it. But don’t just mention your company. Instead, note your involvement and share a key point or excerpt while tagging the outlet. They’ll likely appreciate the additional promotion.
Finally, keep track of your content PR wins – and the impact on your brand (i.e., traffic from the articles, overall increased views). After all, that’s what any good publicist would do.
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Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute